The past week has been somewhat sombre in the wake of the D-Day remembrances… So naturally, I’ve decided to liven it up with something completely irrelevant and unacademic: a little review of 22 Jump Street – the long awaited sequel to 21 Jump Street. Sequels are never as good as the original, and this is no exception, but it comes pretty close. If you haven’t seen 21 Jump Street – a remake of the 1980s TV show – the plot is relatively simple: two inexperienced cops go undercover in order to hunt down drug dealers in a high school. Things go horribly wrong, much to the delight of the amused audience, but they get lucky and almost accidentally catch the bad guys.
Thus, Schmidt [Jonah Hill] and Jenko [Channing Tatum] return with another undercover mission to expose an elaborate drug ring but this time with an unoriginal (not that this takes away from the brilliance of the film) twist – they’re posing as college students rather than high school students. A student has died and the police want answers regarding a new drug “whyphy” (pronounced wifi). Jenko fits right in due to his athleticism and distinct lack of intelligence whilst Schmidt is left sidelined, forced to console himself with a conveniently attractive young woman. A rift is created between the duo, resulting in them missing out important clues and presumptuously following leads. Jenko even suggests that they “investigate other people” and “sow their cop oats” so that he can continue to enjoy the jock life without Schmidt jeopardising his popularity. The police make an arrest that draws the pair back together as neither of them are convinced that the guilty has been caught. They head to Puerto Mexico for spring break, in which they predict whyphy will be able to spread to colleges across America, for the thrilling conclusion to the film. Of course, all ends well and, as Captain Dickson [Ice Cube] eloquently puts it, they “unf***** up the situation that they f***** up in the first place”.
It’s not as good as the first one, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t thoroughly enjoy it. In essence, they have reproduced everything we loved from the original: stupidity, fight scenes, the strict boss, Channing Tatum, the lack of belief in the two characters and the dynamic between them… even Dave Franco makes an appearance, reprising his much loved role of Eric. It wasn’t even all slapstick comedy – there were several sly comments made throughout the film. I particularly liked how the sheer ridiculousness of the situation was subtly acknowledged. As we’re introduced to 22 Jump Street, the bigger church that happens to be right across the street from 21 Jump Street, both Schmidt and Jenko remark upon its convenience. In addition, Schmidt’s love interest’s roommate asks him to tell her “about the war, any one” making a reference to the fact that he looks considerably older than the typical college student. Unfortunately, I’m unable to truly capture how hilarious the film was due to the volume of expletives used throughout so you’ll have to take my word for it.
If you haven’t seen the first film, I’d highly recommend it. It’s not essential that you see it before watching this one as the introduction to the characters is shrewdly done, though you might enjoy it more if you do. All in all, if you need a good laugh, this film delivers, giving the audience a classic comedy. They came to prove that sequels don’t have to completely suck and that they did.