Judge David Johnson enjoys the home version of Rotating Surfboard of Death.
Our reviews of MXC: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge: Season Two (published May 16th, 2007) and MXC: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge: Volume Three (published November 28th, 2007) are also available.
"Geet it on!"
Spike TV's flagship Japanese-game-show-dubbed-over-with-endless-streams-of-sophomoric-sexual-eupehmisms hits DVD in a quad-disc, 26-episode-strong jumbo pack.
Facts of the Case
At the end of the '80s, the Japanese citizenry was treated to the wonderment of Takeshi's Castle, a ridiculous game show/obstacle course pitting hapless participants against a series of near-impossible games that often lead to lots of falling heads. Once Spike TV got a hold of the footage, they reconstituted it into MXC, starring hosts Kenny Blankenship and Vic Romano who offer innuendo-laden commentary over the strings of near-fatalities.
I have to say, I love myself some MXC. It's about the most sophomoric show ever conceived and I'd say about 25% of the jokes are funny and some of the games are total wastes of time but I don't care—parking myself on the couch to soak in the glory of some poor fool obliterating oneself on Log Drop is a tidy dose of bliss. While we were dating, my wife and I forged a tradition of ordering takeout on Friday night and watching an MXC double-header. And amazingly, five years later, we've kept the romance alive.
These episodes don't deviate from the formula; each show has two groups of people (e.g., NASCAR, wrestlers, Hollywood druggies, country music stars, desperate housewives, the lumber industry, white collar and blue collar careers, pro athletes, supermodels, the mafia, video gamers, artists, insurance agents, and so on and so forth) that duke it out in the competition but really exist as gimmicks for the writers to craft a ceaseless array of puns and double entendres. Like I said, the jokes aren't that great—though everyone is trying really hard—but you have to have something to play over the games. What saves the banter from being intolerable is the playfulness of the joking—it's stupid and juvenile, yeah, but not malicious. The only time things get really dumb is when the "competitors" were specific types like Howard Stern's Wack Pack (lame) or the blatant marketing of TNA Wrestling (shocker! They beat the WWE folks!) The skits that are used as filler fail to impress, too. The actual, unaltered footage with the original audio likely would have been funnier.
In the end, it's all about the games, and for the most part there are some great ones here: Log Drop of course, Dope on a Rope, Pole Riders, Rotating Surfobard of Death, Wall Bangers, Boulder Dash, Brass Balls, Dash to Death and my favorite Sinkers and Floaters. Some episodes sport some lacking events, like a weird laser tag game and most of the group competitions. Thankfully they're outnumbered by the trauma-causing favorites.
The shows are spread over four discs (housed in a monstrously thick plastic case) and arrive in their original full frame aspect ratio, backed by a 2.0 stereo track. Extras: two original Takeshi's Castle episodes, which are actually pretty entertaining in their unabashed weirdness.
Big-ass stupid fun doesn't get much more stupider…or funner.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
• Two Original Episodes of Takeshi's Castle
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