A&E // 2007 // 462 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 31st, 2008
Mindfreak! Mindfreak! MINDFREAK!
Look, let's all agree that Criss Angel has the devil in him. Good? Okay, moving on, here's the Third Season of his successful Mindfreak series on A&E.
This season finds Criss Angel, arguably the biggest name in magic, farting around the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, freaking out passersby and pulling off mammoth stunts and intricate demonstrations.
These episodes feature a wide variety of Criss Angel's brand of magic, including...an underwater car escape; a walk on some upside down screwdrivers; a steamroller crushing him into the pavement; a disappearing Lamborghini; a selection of C-list actors; a plummeting cement box that may or may not lead to Criss Angel dying a horrible death in front of hundreds of spectators; a bunch of people teleporting to an elevator; and lots of explosions and diamond necklaces and balloons.
I am consistently impressed by the sheer amount entertainment and effort that goes into this series. Say what you want about Criss Angel the character, but Criss Angel the performer is pretty much unrivaled. The guy knows how to wow spectators and, in those thirty minutes of each show, he throws in enough magic and "demonstrations" to satiate even the most ardent fan of cable-TV magic, if that classification of person even exists.
Seriously, this guy has throw-away gags that could legitimately cap off full-fledged stage performances. And even if we are talking about camera tricks, sleight of hand, pre-selected audience members, or whatever other contrivance the producers have put together to make these illusions a reality, there's enough pure mind-bending stuff to create a generous amount of head-scratching. Like that time he put his frickin' hand through the vending machine plastic shield. Any takers on how he pulled that off? Anyone? Or how about when he dematerialized out of that cement box at the last second? Or when he vanished in front of the speeding roller-coaster and landed in the back car of the ride? There are plenty of illusions that are wild and wacky which makes for a very fun series.
It's the material that buttresses the illusions that tend to be the weakest. The Mindfreak formula is typically this: Angel introduces his big demonstration and his flunkies spend their screen time hyping it up while speaking vague generalities about how awesome their boss is. Criss Angel himself has perfected this speaking style and, while I can appreciate anyone who puts forth a positive outlook on life, his incessant fortune cookie rambling is tiring. Yep, I get it. I can do anything I put my mind to. Now please float in the air again.
These interviews and pre-illusion hype have a forced quality that's left over from the previous seasons. Fine. That's the stylistic decision Criss and his production staff made, but anytime Criss isn't doing his mindblowing illusions, the show feels like its flush with hollow filler.
But I'll take twenty minutes of Criss espousing his worldview over having to endure the likes of Jamie Kennedy, Carrot Top, and Flavor Flav, which apparently constitute "celebrity guests." Maybe I'm jealous of their fortune and success, but I still want to drive my forehead into the passenger-side door of my Altima anytime they're on screen.
Like any season of television, Mindfreak has its share of jalopy episodes. The séance and sucker shows, returning from last season, are pretty much a waste of time. The naked jail escape replaces the eye-popping mysticism with an extended how-to escape sequence and Criss Angel's blurred genitals. But even in the weaker installments, you can find some dope stuff. Bottom line: Criss Angel knows how to entertain and he has the skills to pull off some crazy stunts.
Criss Angel: Mindfreak: The Complete Season Three's twenty episodes are spread over three discs, retaining their original full-frame aspect ratio and 2.0 stereo audio treatments. Both are perfectly adequate. Extras include two featurettes -- a behind-the-scenes documentary and a look at the celebrity guests; 24 minutes worth of deleted scenes; and a text-only biography.
As corny as he can be sometimes, the guy never ceases to entertain me. I'll be there for the fourth dose of Mindfreak, no doubt. Although, I would have enjoyed a few more of those "how-to" magic lessons.
Not guilty. Now get me out of these @#$%&*$%# handcuffs.
Review content copyright © 2008 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 462 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Making-of Documentary
* Celebrity Guests
* Deleted Scenes
* DVD Verdict Review - Season One
* DVD Verdict Review - Season Two
* DVD Verdict Review - Halloween Special