21 JUMP STREET was a film that no body asked for, but ended up loving because who knew, it actually turned out to be an excellent comedy. Becoming such a big hit worldwide it was inevitable that a sequel would get made, and we all wanted one too. The fear of a sequel for this type of comedy is that it wont work, it wont be funny and the magic will disappear. Well have no fear then, because 22 JUMP STREET is a sequel that works, and it perhaps may be one of the most self aware films ever made. Think about how GREMLINS II made fun of itself and was very self aware, this does that trick, although yes that is where the similarities between those two films end. Well they are both extremely funny and well worth watching.
22 JUMP STREET picks up where the first one left off, including a ‘Previously On’ sequence just in case you forgot. Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are still cops and are doing an online college course to try and find more drug suppliers. They come across one known as The Ghost (Peter Stormare), who ends up getting away, but this doesn’t stop them from taking on the assignment to actually physically go to college and find the dealer and supplier for a new drug called WHYPHY. This time however it is Jenko that ends up fitting in and Schmidt finds himself the outcast, they get naturally side tracked by the college life and soon find themselves drifting apart. Will these two have their bromance broken? You’ll have to watch the film for that answer but read on for my take on this.
What really worked here was that it was a self aware film, the plot details are spelled out for you using clever metaphors. It knows it is a sequel, it follows the same path as the original but changes things up and especially about half way through things get really different and it is appreciated. None of the magic is gone that made the first one work, the chemistry is still very much there and alive between Tatum and Hill, and there are some returning characters with Captain Dickson (Ice Cube), whose role is a lot bigger this time around. The new additions also work very work, with Wyatt Russell as Zook being the stand out. Like so many other sequels, Schmidt’s love interest from the first is forgotten about, as he finds another woman to connect to with Maya (Amber Stevens).
The comedy mostly hits too, just like the first one did, rarely do any jokes fall flat, and it does keep the laughs coming constantly, while still telling a story and giving our characters obstacles to over come. It also works as a romance, one under the surface as Schmidt and Jenko go through the same ills that couples go through in romantic comedies and Zook even acts as the other man. It strangely works really well, it is a testament to the actors chemistry as well, because if that did not exist this entire film and the previous would never have worked.
The performances are great, clearly everyone is having a great time and embracing their characters. Channing Tatum is a great comedic actor, and he really gets to shine here once again. It does seem to come naturally to him, and it works just so well, the character is written very well and he’s stronger because of that. He also gets to show off his physical skills, with a subplot that is both hilarious and impressive (the stunts are great). Jonah Hill (now a two time Academy Award nominee) is on top form as well, he’s come a long way as an actor and is extremely versatile. His comedy style isn’t too over the top, which works really well for him. Ice Cube screams a lot but he’s enjoying himself, and while yes his character is a stereotype he makes it work fairly well. Wyatt Russell (yes son of Kurt and Goldie) is excellent, he was absolutely perfect as Zook and worked very well with his material. He had a natural chemistry with Tatum, which just added so much more to their scenes together. He has a strong career ahead of him.
This is a great comedy film, a rare comedy sequel that works as well as the first. It is almost on equal ground with its predecessor, and this makes me happy to say. It’s nice to see the same directing team return, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have made two exceptional films, and if there is another I hope they do return also. Michael Bacall was also back on the writing front, this time with two other writers with Oren Uziel and Rodney Rotham, which worked, the script was great. 22 JUMP STREET is a fun film, it delivers on all fronts and even with an almost 2 hour running time, it never gets boring or stale. Be sure to stay for the credits, an absolutely clever gag that will have you laughing.