Sequels seem to be the only types of films being released nowadays, especially during the summer months. Nine times out of ten sequels never live up to the original and often try too hard to be bigger and better than their predecessors. 22 Jump Street is the rare sequel that lives up to the original and some may say it is even better than the first.
Channing Tatum (Magic Mike, 21 Jump Street) and Jonah Hill (This is the End, 21 Jump Street) reprise their roles as Jenko and Schmidt as they are given a new case, except this time they are headed to college. It also brings back the directing duo of Phil Lord and Chris Miller who are hot off the success of The Lego Movie.
The film opens with a hilarious “previously on” montage and continues into a ridiculous and over the top chase scene full of crazy stunts and explosions, which are all things audiences have come to expect from blockbuster sequels.
This self-awareness is what puts 22 Jump Street above all of the other sequels we are fed each year. The film is full of self-referential jokes and Channing Tatum even takes a stab at last years flop, White House Down. Before the jokes can become excessive and tiresome, the film jumps into its familiar central plot, which revolves around finding the source of a new drug called “WhyPhy.” The story follows many of the same beats of the first film, intentionally so, and delivers some hilarious jokes and gags along the way.
Like May’s Neighbors, 22 Jump Street juggles humor and heart. The film sometimes plays like a romantic comedy but instead of dealing with the budding relationship of two strangers who fall in love at first sight, it focuses on the bromance between Jenko and Schmidt. There are some genuine moments between Tatum and Hill and their chemistry makes the duo a couple to root for.
Overall 22 Jump Street is a strong follow up to 21 Jump Street, bringing back all of the elements from the original that worked while also poking fun at itself. The film ultimately serves as a satire of the issue of too many bad sequels that have become staples in Hollywood over the past decade. Jump Street dissects the sequel format and uses that for the content of its many jokes and uses that to its advantage.
With a strong script and even stronger performances from the entirety of the original cast as well as from a few newcomers like Peter Storemare and an exceptionally hilarious Jillian Bell, 22 Jump Street is a sequel that lives up to the hype.
Also, make sure to stay for the first half of the credits as they run through the many hilarious Jump Street sequel ideas. This shows Tatum and Hill going undercover in dance school and culinary school, just to name a few without spoiling the rest.