NITRO CIRCUS THE MOVIE 3D – Review by Susan Granger

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The participants in this daredevil group of wannabe Evel Knievel stunt driver buddies are quite familiar to MTV audiences who seem to enjoy their subversive, death-defying antics. But, for others, the adrenaline-fueled jeopardy of these self-indulgent, overgrown children grows tedious very quickly, even when Johnny “Jackass” Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine and Channing Tatum make guest appearances.

Nitro Circus is a self-described “action sport collective,” led by Travis Pastrana, who is usually the first to attempt stunts that involve dirt bikes or BMX bikes. Greg Powell (a.k.a. Special Greg) is Pastrana’s cousin, a former wide receiver on the University of Maryland football team (2003-2006) and the first person to land a “Special Flip” on a BMX bike. Jim DeChamp is a pro mountain bike downhill racer and freestyle rider who has been friends with Pastrana since childhood; during the filming, he suffered a serious back injury from which he has since recovered. Tommy Passermante (a.k.a. Streetbike Tommy) got his nickname from an attempted front-flip on his Suzuki GSX-R motorcycle that overshot the protective foam pit, resulting in his breaking both legs. Erik Roner is a pro extreme skier and base jumper who’s always the first to try any stunt that involves snow. Suffering from spina bifida, Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham is a wheelchair athlete, while the fair sex is represented by curvaceous Canadian Female Motorcross Champion Jolene Van Vugt, who performs one tricycle stunt and is a passenger on another.

Photographed by Donny Anderson and directed by Gregg Godfrey and Jeremy Rawle, this documentary chronicles their staging of a live Nitro Circus stage show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and, when American law enforcement tries to restrict their carefree capers, they escape to Panama City, where they speed a motorcycle across a hotel pool into the ocean and leap from the rooftop of one 400-foot skyscraper to an adjoining apartment building.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D” is an exhausting, repetitively reckless 3. Better to watch it – free – on MTV or elsewhere.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.