Rarely does a sequel work, it’s always bigger, but not necessarily better, and after the unexpected success that was the Jump Street reboot; 21 Jump Street; the best movie based on an ‘80s TV-show starring Johnny Depp released in 2012, expectations were raised impossibly high, but have the Jump Street crew reached those dizzying heights again? Is 22 Jump Street everything we hoped it would be? You God damn right.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return as undercover police officers Schmidt and Jenko, in the funniest film of the year; 22 Jump Street; but instead of taking their ageing asses back to high school, these two sons-a-bitches are going to college; once more trying to infiltrate the dealers, and find the suppliers, of a brand new street drug; essentially sticking to exactly the same plot as the first movie.
But they can’t be criticised for doing so, especially seen as how Jump Street is the most brilliantly self-aware comedy you’re ever likely to see; effortlessly, and consistently, making jokes about the fact the plot is exactly the same (the Captain himself stresses that they need to do “exactly the same thing as last time to keep everyone happy”), how the studio has thrown so much more money behind the sequel since they “got lucky” last time, and that they’ve got “double the budget this time”; meaning that not only are they forgiven for retreading old ground, but gain so much more goodwill in the process, and even make everyone watching feel clever for deciphering these numerous in-jokes.
In-jokes also come via a rather large number of cultural references; including nods to not only the other works of the main stars, music references, and something as simple (but surprisingly funny) as listing the stereotypical items a college freshman would keep in his dorm-room; and parody elements, which include the lads riffing-off a number of buddy-cop tropes (there’s plenty of Bad Boys inferences, some Lethal Weapon gags, and a few others thrown in for good measure), riffing-off the original Jump Street movie, and even having their own 5-second Benny Hill moment.
But it’s not just cultural clap-trap, clever in-jokes, and 4th-wall-smashing brilliance, there’s also a truckload of original humour in there, some obviously improvised lines, and, above all, some spectacular chemistry between the two leads; Tatum and Hill are hilarious, clearly get on well with one another, and blow the bromance-level sky-high with numerous relationship-based jokes, a hilarious therapy session, and a number of excellently handled emotional moments which, alongside the exceptional comedy, make for a fantastically fun film.
Ice Cube excellently slips back into his role as the angry black Captain Dickson (and in a welcome move, is given much more screen-time this time out), and while newcomers Peter Stormare (the Russian astronaut from Armageddon), Wyatt Russell (Cowboys & Aliens), and Jillian Bell (Bridesmaids), aren’t exactly household names (despite the fact most people will recognise Stormare’s face) they all perform their fairly minor roles well enough. As does the little known Amber Stevens, a talented young actress who provides a love interest for Schmidt, the catalyst for a few wonderfully played out jokes, and deserves to be seen on screen much more.
In the end though, there’s not too much to say about the new Jump Street movie, other than the fact it’s funny as hell, and guaranteed to keep you laughing for the entirety of its two-hour runtime; a brilliant bro-mantic-comedy, it’s an hilarious, laugh-a-minute, movie, with two fantastic leads, a tried and tested formula, and a bucketload of fun. A clever, witty, brilliantly self-aware comedy, 22 Jump Street is everything we wanted it to be, and more… it’s like 21 Jump Street, but one better.
Unsurprisingly, Sony have delivered a stellar video presentation with the Blu-ray release of 22 Jump Street; providing impressive clarity, a wealth of fine detail, and rich textures throughout the consistenly clean, crisp, and visually stunning presentation. Black levels are strong, solid, and stable, colours are faithfully reproduced and while fleshtones can look a touch warm (as can contrast on the whole, especially during the purposefully amped-up spring break scenes) they’re still natural, consistent, and never once hampered by any compression issues or other artifacts, making a strong, and near-perfect, visual presentation overall.
Of similar strength, though a hair less impressive, is the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack provided with the 22 Jump Street Blu-ray; a mix with consistently crisp and well anchored dialogue, solid though not intrusive bass, an effective use of the rear channels filling the soundstage with natural ambient effects, and a number of well placed pans and effects which ensure a solid, though not quite exceptional listen throughout.
As well as the five deleted scenes, a predictably amusing audio commentary with directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller and Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, a featurette on the directors (covering everything from the story process, shooting, and the directors’ working style), and the Line-O-Rama (more amusing goofs from the film), which were all included on the DVD release, there is a veritable treasure trove of extras exclusive to the 22 Jump Street Blu-ray.
Blu-ray buyers will receive an additional 17 deleted scenes, 4 more Line-O-Ramas, a selection of jokes which were cut from the movie, scenes of cast improvisations, and numerous featurettes; including a look at the differences between college and high school, the chemistry of the two lead actors, a look at the new members of the cast, fluff pieces including the “Jenko Split” and Zook & McQuaid’s football recruitment video; and a brilliant, 10 minute long, dramatic cut of the film, removing all of the funny elements (making it almost as hilarious as the theatrical film in the process).
A clear wealth of bonus materials which deliver just about everything you could want and expect from a selection of Blu-ray special features; not only delving deeper into the production details, but thankfully keeping the laughs going much longer than the film’s runtime, and truly enhancing the Jump Street experience, with extras that are well worth checking out, and guaranteed to amuse any 22 Jump Street fan.
The Bottom Line:
So with a film that’s funnier than the first, guaranteed to keep you laughing for the full two-hour runtime, and two leads with undeniable chemistry, making a brilliant bro-mantic-comedy which is self-aware, clever, and above all hilarious, 22 Jump Street is everything you could want from a sequel and more. Plus, as it comes to Blu-ray sporting superb picture and sound quality, as well as a wealth of amusing extras which only enhance the overall experience, the 22 Jump Street Blu-ray couldn’t get much better, and comes highly recommended.