Starring Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube
Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, story by Michael Bacall and Jonah Hill
IMDB Rating: 7.2
The much anticipated sequel to the surprise comedy of 2012, 22 Jump Street unashamedly copy and pastes the original film into a new landscape. It knows what it’s doing, but that doesn’t mean they should fully get away with it.
Deputy Chief Hardy: Do the same thing as last time. Everyone’s happy.
After the success of their undercover mission in high school, Schmidt and Jenko (Hill/Tatum) are put into college, once again to find the supplier of a new synthetic drug floating around called ‘Whyphy’. Like last time, the two end up being split into different social groups, putting a strain on their relationship with each other. And that’s all there is to it really.
I think this is a film where you have to of seen the first one to understand the majority of this (even though there is a ‘previously in 21 Jump street’ montage at the start), due to the amount of times it refers back to itself. At the beginning it’s funny because it knows that the second one is never as good and that it is basically ripping of 21 Jump Street. However, when you’re halfway through the film and it’s still poking fun at itself it does make you realise how cheap this sequel is. It couldn’t have taken Bacall and Hill much more than a day to work out the story. This is, like 21, a film more about two friends living through school more than the police work, and it is obvious that they have a good grasp on what college life is (at least I think they do) which was a big appeal for both films due to it targeting that precise age range. Even though I dislike the story because of how similar it is to the first, you cannot deny that there is some really funny moments in this film. A particular highlight for me, and perhaps the only true bit of originality in the film, is the relationship between Schmidt and Maya (Amber Stevens) – who happens to be Captain Dickson’s (Ice Cube) daughter. If there was one thing I wanted more of in the first film it is Ice Cube, and there is definitely more of him here! All in all I think the jokes are just as on point as in the first one, they’re just too similar to have the same impact as they did in the first.
Acting performances are okay in this film, if not incredible. There’s not much scope for emotion because all emotion is done with a hint of comedy, so it’s not meant to be completely real anyway. If I had to pick who was better out of the lead duo I would say Hill, I think he is a bit better at being funny than Tatum and you get the sense that he knows exactly what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. Ice Cube again brings his trademark temper from the first film and as mentioned earlier gets the airtime he deserves in 22 Jump Street – he’s always good for a laugh! A surprisingly good performance came from Jillian Bell, who plays Maya’s roommate Mercedes. While I’m not sure how many of the jokes came from her, she performed them with such control that she was one of the funniest people in the film.
The directing hasn’t really changed from the first, as you would expect. If anything I think they’ve taken some of the dynamic action shots out and tried to make it all feel a bit more real and a bit less Action Man than 21 Jump Street.
I must say I loved 21 Jump Street, and there was moments of this film that were hilarious. While it did capture some of the magic of the first, it was always going to be hard to emulate the overall success of 21, and it’s safe to say that it isn’t as good as the first. It’s newer, which some people might conceive as better, but it’s not. I think an upside is that this film hasn’t exactly tarnished the reputation of the ‘franchise’ – probably due to all the poking it did. Jump Street, overall, is still a huge success for everyone involved.