I’ll admit that when 21 Jump Street was released in 2012, I didn’t really have much of an interest in seeing it. Admittedly, at that time I did not follow film as closely as I do now, but since then I have developed an admiration for many of 21 Jump Street‘s crew, namely Jonah Hill, who I discovered primarily from Superbad, and Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, directors of The LEGO Movie. I finally got around to watching 21 Jump Street in late 2014, and I loved it, but I’ll save that review for another time. As I write, I have just finished watching the sequel, 22 Jump Street, and I have to say I adored it.
22 Jump Street picks up where the original left off, following police officers Schmidt and Jenko, played by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum respectively, not long after their assignment in high school. This time around, they are tasked with infiltrating a college, to get to the suppliers of a new drug called WhyFhy. I don’t want to say too much about the film’s plot, but even for a comedy, it was a surprisingly deep and well-thought out story, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
As you may expect, the highlight of 22 Jump Street is the comedy. Right from the get-go, viewers are treated with some brilliant, gross-out gags, and some jokes that are more intelligently written. I laughed a lot more in this film than in the original, mostly due to the fact that Hill and Tatum had settled into their roles, and you can tell that they both felt right at home playing their undercover cop characters.
A major element of this film, particularly in the first act and the end-credits, is the satire of the film industry. Some of the ideas presented here are simply hilarious, but also resonate well in modern cinema, particularly the idea of sequels being cranked out for no reason, which closely follow the same plot of the usually successful sequel. Bearing this in mind, one might think that it would be hard for 22 Jump Street to avoid falling into this pitfall, and itself being a carbon-copy of the original, but luckily it manages to avoid this. Even though the story is mostly the same aside from a few tweaks, a lot of the roles are reversed, and some unique elements are introduced to make this a sequel worth watching.
One of the key factors to 22 Jump Street‘s success is the incredible chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. They work so well together, and you can feel their energy bouncing off one another, giving their performances an extra layer of brilliance. This time around, they know the score, and so their relationship never feels awkward or strained, and this film highlights some of their best performances in recent memory. Channing Tatum was simply brilliant as Jenko, and it made me realise that he is a very good comedic actor, a trait that has developed since the first entry into the series.
However, I did have a few problems with the film. The plot seemed very interesting in the first half, but soon all of the interesting threads of the story, for example Zeke being a supplier, which could’ve brought out an exceptional performance from Channing Tatum, was simply left for dead, which is a shame. The film’s twist seemed very illogical and out-of-character, and it brought me out of the moment for some time, which is unfortunate, because other than a nonsensical plot, I did quite enjoy this film
I think 22 Jump Street is a very good film. It manages to balance laugh-out-loud moments with some tense and emotional scenes, and I don’t think Jonah Hill or Channing Tatum have ever been this good. However, the plot falters regularly, which makes the film a bit less cohesive than I would’ve liked, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless.
I give 22 Jump Street 8 out of 10.
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