"22 Jump Street" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
It's very rare when there is a sequel that is as good as the original. For some reason, when the filmmakers try to bring back their characters again for a second movie, they are unable to execute a movie that furthers everything that was good about the original. At the same time, reboots of classic franchises are mainly used as cash grabs anymore, with the studios green-lighting mediocre films to try and bring in a lot of money based off nostalgia value anymore. So, who would've thought Phil Lord's and Chris Millers' "22 Jump Street" would be a good film? Perhaps they just got lucky the first time around? Well, they proved that they have what it takes to make a damn good sequel, releasing a film that is just as fun and hilarious as Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt's (Jonah Hill) first outing.
This sequel is pretty much set up at the end of the first film, with Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) telling the two cops that their next mission is for them to go undercover at the local university. Tasked with finding the suppliers and dealers behind a new drug known as WHY-PHY (Work Hard? Yes. Play Hard? Yes.), they must take on their identities from the high school bust, with each of them planning not to have the same experience as they did in high school.
However, their hopes don't go to plan, with Jenko befriending the members of the college football team, especially one named Zook (Wyatt Russell), leaving Schmidt feeling left out and forgotten. Now at odds with each other once again, they must take matters into their own hands separately to try and find who is dealing this drug before another student dies.
If this sounds familiar to the first movie, it's because it is basically a re-hash of everything that happened previously. All of the same story elements and events are there, and it's even noted by many of the characters how similar this movie is to its predecessor. It is sort of satirical in a way, how they keep mentioning how lazy the writing is, even though the budget has been inflated much more. However, even though this movie is very predictable and perhaps almost exactly the same as the first film, it is without a doubt still a lot of fun.
The thing that is different in this film is the setting and the maturity bump going from high school to college. Granted, the characters present may not be as mature as the ones are in high school (which is pretty funny considering it is most likely true), the filmmaking seems more mature and advanced. This shows how Lord and Miller have evolved as filmmakers and are able to craft higher-quality comedy films that are able to feel like they matured since the release of their first film. Because of this, the humor is perhaps higher-quality and contains something special about it that can easily crack the viewers up throughout the film.
Hill and Tatum are perhaps funnier and better together in this film compared to the first one. It seems like they are more comfortable with each other on screen, and it really shows when comparing this one to the previous film. Granted, they did an excellent job in "21 Jump Street" as well, but this film shows them both really having fun with each other, the characters, and the plot of the film.
Like in the first film, this movie does contain some scenes or plot lines that just seem to go on for too long, even though the direction and story seem more tight and concise this time around. There are numerous times where our characters are repeating the same jokes over and over, which granted is funny the first couple of times, but then you find yourself hoping they move on from it very soon. I didn't feel that much through the first movie, but this one I definitely did. Consider the scene towards the end where Hill's character is fighting one of the antagonists, who is a girl. She tries to kiss him, and both recoil in disgust, questioning what is happening right now. It was funny when it happened, but when the girl kept trying to go back in and they start the whole conversation over again, it got very stale and tiring after a while, especially since the scene went on for a few minutes when they could have incorporated funnier or more action-packed scenes.
Speaking of the action in this movie, there is definitely more here than in "21", and I think it is shot and choreographed pretty well. It kept the viewer on the edge of their seat, and the inclusion of comedic lines and dialogue made it even that much better. You can definitely tell that the higher budget was used towards the action scenes, and I think this was a pretty good element of the film to use it for, and I'm happy we received more action sequences as I felt the first film lacked that aspect of the movie.
It's pretty surprising that this film is so good as it is considering it has two major negative factors against it: it's a sequel and it's a reboot. But, I would even say this may be a tad better than its predecessor, which is even harder to do as a sequel. The end credits of the film show around 30 or 40 sequels to this film, with our characters going to places like Medical School or Scuba Class. We're not going to see all of those, and perhaps we'll see none of those come to fruition. But, I really hope this isn't the last time we see Jenko or Schmidt.