21 Jump Street was an unexpected critical hit in 2012. Sure the comedy pairing of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum was a relatively save bet financially, despite being a re-boot of a TV show which people had a vague nostalgia for. What was the surprise was how subversively funny it ended up being. ’21 Jump Street’ relished in the ridiculousness of the story and frequently broke the fourth wall with knowing nods.
For ’22 Jump Street’ directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have continued in a similar vain. Poking fun at genre clichés and frequently reminding the audience that they are indeed watching a cinematic sequel. Fortunately Lord and Miller are probably two of the finest comedy minds working in American cinema at the moment having already delivered ‘The Lego Movie’ one of the highlights of the year.
Usually when sequels do the whole “more of the same” technique it ends up being a pale imitation of the successful original. Here it’s often repeated the guys are basically on the same case as they were “last time”. Constant references are made to the fact that this is exactly like last time so basically if you saw the first one, plot-wise this is much the same.
The difference now though is that the duo are in college and the roles become reversed as this time Channing Tatum’s Jenko hits his stride and Jonah Hill’s Schmidt becomes the laughing stock he always feared he would. There’s much joy to be had as the film plays around with college melodrama tropes whilst packaging it in a Bad Boys 2 sheen – there are a lot of panning and revolving camera shots are work. What helps is that the team behind ’22 Jump Street’ obviously enjoy their action-packed buddy cop movies because this holds up just as well as an one of them whilst constantly poking fun at it.
Ice Cube’s Captain Dickson is given a bit more to do this time around, actually getting involved in one of the sub-plots and Queen Latifah makes a fleeting cameo. The always welcome Peter Stormare is sadly a bit underused as a non-to-threatening villain, but really this isn’t a high-stakes film so the fact that the bad guy is paid lip service more than actual screen time is a minor concern.
Hill and Tatum still make for an entertaining double act. Tatum in particular still stands out as a great deliverer of one-liners and muttered obscenities. If you found yourself surprisingly pleased by the first film there’s much to enjoy here again. The style of humour remains the same but the jokes are just as fresh and it certainly passes the six laugh test – the end credits are well worth sticking through for the final word on sequel related jokes.
’22 Jump Street’ is now available on Sony Blu-Ray and DVD.