21 Jump Street really took a lot of people by surprise, myself included, because I honestly don’t think we expected it to be as good as it was. I actually ended up seeing it twice when it was in theaters, which is something I rarely do nowadays (Marvel films excluded). When my apartment was robbed a year ago, and they took a bunch of my Blu-ray’s including that movie, that’s one of the the only ones I’ve replaced so far. I love it that much.
22 Jump Street picks up right where 21 left off. After a student at a local state college is killed by a new drug called “WHYPHY” (WiFi), Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) head in undercover to track down the dealers and supplier of the drug. But, much like the last time around, this case won’t be as simple as it sounds…
Channing Tatum continues to prove how great he is at comedy, and I love that the dude can pull action-comedy double duty so seamlessly. Jonah Hill amps up his funny here. The guy is always funny, but there’s something about his approach to certain scenes that feels fresh from what we’re used to with him. Of all the new characters that are introduced, I have to say that Mercedes, played by Jillian Bell (Workaholics, Eastbound & Down), was the best. The scenes between her and Jonah Hill’s Schmidt are just brilliant. The real stand-out this time around though, for me at least, is Ice Cube. Returning as the boys’ Captain, Cube gets way more opportunities to show why he’s the only man for this role. Much like with Jillian Bell, his best scenes are when he’s going back and forth with Jonah Hill, which begs the question… would these movies have even worked without Jonah? He’s clearly the reason everyone else is as funny as they are. He’s the salt that brings out the flavor in these flicks.
If I told you that the guys who directed Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and The Lego Movie, and also worked on How I Met Your Mother and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, also are responsible for directing the Jump Street movies, what would you say? Probably something like, “I believe you because that’s a lot of specific detail.” Well, they are! (“I know, I already said I believed you…”) Phil Lord and Chris Miller: Comedy, cartoons, Tv… These dudes can wear a lot of hats. Here, they are able to not just balance the humor and action but actually blend it so perfectly that it’s not a comedy film with action or an action film with comedy, it’s both. The film isn’t wall-to-wall big action sequences or anything, but what’s there is shot and executed really well. They’re also smart enough to not cheapen their shots. What I mean by that, is they don’t use sub-par special effects. All the stunts look great, and you never once feel like they skimped on the SFX budget.
When you read that summary at the beginning of this article, you probably thought, “Great. Sounds EXACTLY like the last movie.” But, be not dismayed my brethren and sisteren (I feel like that’s not a real word… but I’m going with it anyway), for this is NOT a typical sequel. 22 Jump Street is completely self-aware. They play off the similarities to the first movie and even satirically mock the standard tendency for movies to basically recycle the original plot for the sake of making more money off of a sequel. The Hangover 2 seems to be the best example of a comedy that most people feel like was basically a reworking of the original. Even as someone who is still a fan of that film, I can understand the criticisms. 22 Jump Street does not have that problem. And, what’s really genius about this flick is that they end up crafting a really original concept out of the parody.
The movie is just f—king funny. Bottom line. You should definitely go see it in theaters. I promise that you will laugh from the beginning all the way through to the end. It’s that good. The action sequences will get you pumped up, and then they cut the tension by making you laugh really hard. While there have been many (Charlie’s Angels, Dukes of Hazzard, Starsky & Hutch), 21 Jump Street really stood/stands out as a champion example of rebooting an old TV franchise for the big screen, and this sequel continues it’s clever, hilarious and undisputed reign.