After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) when they go deep undercover at a local college. But when Jenko meets a kindred spirit on the football team, and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, they begin to question their partnership. Now they don’t have to just crack the case – they have to figure out if they can have a mature relationship. If these two overgrown adolescents can grow from freshmen into real men, college might be the best thing that ever happened to them.
22 Jump Street takes up after the events of the first movie and our inept heroes, Jenko and Schmidt (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) are once again sent undercover, this time to College, to… well… do exactly what they did in the first movie. How will the pair adapt to college life? Will their partnership survive the trials put upon it when the two realise just how different they are? More importantly, will it be as funny as the surprise hit, 21 Jump Street?
21 Jump Street was a breath of fresh air, a reboot that was not only willing to revel at the seemingly uncreative decision to reboot an old TV series, but also, mercilessly poke fun at that fact as often as possible. This is was helped along by the fact that the film had sharp and witty dialogue and great chemistry between the leads. All of these elements put a lot of pressure on the sequel, but when the formula of the first movie worked so well, they pretty much just decided to do it again, only this time by doing everything bigger (because let’s face it, that’s how sequels usually work).
This could have gone disastrously wrong, as it’s a pretty self indulgent idea. Thankfully, they take the same attitude to the film being a sequel as they did with the first one being a reboot. And by that I mean, they revel in the fact that somehow the first movie was good, but they’ll never be able to replicate it’s success (because let’s face it, that’s how sequels usually work). You’d be surprised just how many jokes you can get from this simple premise, and happily surprised that they’re pretty much all as sharp and witty as the jokes in the original. And though this means that if you liked the original, you’ll like this, the directors ,Phil Lord and Chris Miller (who are on a roll this year considering they also directed The Lego Movie), and writers, Michael Bacall, Rodney Rothman and Oren Uziel aren’t just resting on their laurels (and hoping the goodwill left over from the original will keep audiences happy), as there are are more than enough gags in between these familiar moments to keep you laughing throughout the film’s runtime.
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are once again a delight to watch as their on-screen chemistry is amazing and the two have fantastic comic timing. There are a few changes this time around, like Jenko being the popular one this time out, and these scenes are great to watch (as Tatum was born to play the lovable and goofy Jenko). This also means that Schmidt is on the outside this time and this is actually one of the new dynamics that works best in the sequel. Whereas Jenko was confused and hurt that his friend would desert him in the original, Schmidt is like a scorned spouse when Jenko ‘leaves him’ and they really milk the bromance for everything it is worth (both in terms of emotion and comedy).
Whilst this is clearly Tatum and Hill’s movie, there are some great turns in the supporting cast. Rob Riggle returns as Mr Walters in a scene stealing cameo so good, you’ll kind of wish he was in the movie more. Ice Cube is given more to do this time around (I can’t say why, but trust me, it’s hilarious) and relishes every minute of being the stereotypical angry Captain. Wyatt Russell is great as Jenko’s new found soul mate, Zook (they make a connection through football, working out and both being adorably dim) and Amber Stevens’ Maya shows Schmidt the fun side to college. Jillian Bell is fantastic as Maya’s sarcastic and opinionated room-mate, and gets some great lines as she and Schmidt try to outsnark each other. The only real downside in the casting is Peter Stormare. Not that he’s bad, but you’ll just wish he’d gotten to show off his comic ability a little more.
No action comedy would be complete without the action and you probably won’t be surprised to hear that they got this right too. With the mission statement of this movie being making everything bigger and better, the ante on the action scenes gets upped as well. This leads to a few lorry/car/buggy chases, a few gunfights, some fist fights (one being hilariously uncomfortable) and this time, there’s even a helicopter sequence thrown in for good measure. Not only are these all quite exciting to watch in their own right, but the film’s trademark banter is on display during these scenes too (a great one involves the duo trying to cause as little damage as possibly so the film… I mean Police department, doesn’t go over budget).
Taking the same irreverent humour that the first one used so well and putting the idea of sequels in the firing line works far better than it should, and this is complimented by the fact that the dialogue is just as funny as it was in the original. Tatum and Hill seem to be having the time of their lives in the film and it really comes across on-screen as their chemistry is even better this time round. 22 Jump Street is a rare sequel that somehow retains everything you loved about the first film, keeps it feeling fresh and then ups the ante on pretty much everything (comedy, action, bromance). I’d highly recommend that fans of the original see this as soon as possible… mainly so no-one spoils the fantastic gag that runs during the credits.