22 Jump Street is the follow up to the surprise hit, 21 Jump Street, a film based on the late 80s/early 90s TV show of the same name, most famous for launching the career of Johnny Depp. We watched 21 Jump Street on DVD, a while after it came out, not really expecting much and were seriously pleasantly surprised. It was fast, funny, cheeky and messy in a good way. I have a soft spot for Channing Tatum, as I think he was under-rated as a performer for quite a long time and it was great to see him do some out and out comedy. He and Jonah Hill (who co-wrote the story) were an effective double act and the result was an unlikely-duo-buddy-cop movie of the best sort.
When a sequel was announced I was a little dubious. Trying to repeat success just because you can is sometimes a bad idea. 21 Jump Street certainly left the door open for further films, but still, I was apprehensive. Then the trailer rolled around and I started to warm up to the idea. Then the buzz built. By the time we watched the movie this weekend, I was positively stoked.
First things first – no, it’s not as good as the first film. This is almost always the case, so we can deal with that. What it is, is a lot of fun and we had a great time watching it. The jokes are fast and furious and the action is fairly continues. Watching this film is like having a flurry of jokes and shots of Channing Tatum jumping off stuff, thrown at your face. This is not necessarily a bad thing – the film has a mostly good pace, though I felt the lull before the big finish could have been significantly shorter. There were a lot of knowing nods to the fact that it was a sequel and many comments about merely repeating ‘exactly the same thing’ as they did on the last assignment. These references got a little old by the end, but it was nice to see how tongue in cheek their approach was. I also liked the recurring joke that everything was bigger and better this time (check out the improved offices) and the sly hint towards a third movie.
Tatum and Hill’s dynamic was as solid as ever, with the double entendres regarding their relationship played to the maximum. I found their struggles to work together while remaining individuals rather endearing and it is their core plot driver throughout. They are now both settled into their respective roles: Hill as the smugly superior feeling but with crushing self-doubt Schmidt and Tatum as the enthusiastically confident but less intellectually gifted and more reckless Jenko. Their banter and balance was excellent and their delivery made up for some of the more under-par lines.
Nothing earth-shattering here, but not pretending to be so, either. A funny, brisk blockbuster of a film, perfect for a Saturday night.