When the first 21 Jump Street film hit theaters in 2012 everyone figured it was going to be yet another pointless remake of a TV show that was going to be painful to get through. To everyone’s surprise Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum brought their A-game and delivered a perfect homage to the series while doing something original with it and knocked it out of the park, complete with some surprise cameos. With its success it came as no surprise that a sequel was going to be made, but with a campy name like 22 Jump Street possibly be any good or will it just feel like the usual forced cash grab?
22 Jump Street follows the duo as they are sent deep undercover at a local college, but when Jenko meets a kindred spirit on the football team, and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, they begin to question their partnership. Now they don't have to just crack the case they have to figure out if they can have a mature relationship. From the moment this film kicks off you can tell they have stepped things up and we are in for some fun. They use the story itself numerous times to not only mock the first film, but also the whole decision to make this film. While this kind of humor usually falls flat, they throw it in there so blatantly that it works and is damn funny. They even point out the flaws with most sequels repeating themselves while still steering into a new direction to give the fans something new. Channing and Hill have great chemistry and clearly are having a lot of fun making this film, but the real stand outs this time around come from both Ice Cube and Jillian Bell. Cube is given a lot more to do this time around and when he is on the screen he steals the show. There is a sequence where he completely loses it and it is one of the funniest moments in the film. Bell steps in for only a brief time, but everything she is on screen the hilarious dialogue is flying around nonstop.
Much like the first film the film focuses more on their partnership and their lives in the school, but there is plenty of action here to keep the buddy cop genre intact. It is all well done and fun to watch letting the bullets and jokes fly as though they were battling each other. They clearly took their new big budget and put it to some good use but made sure to not lose the essence of what made the first film great. This time around they don’t give all the action to just Hill and Tatum, but let Cube in on the action stepping everything up on all levels. As if the meat of the film itself wasn’t already great they capped it off with a hilarious montage throughout the credits that further pokes fun at the entire idea of the series. Besides the already mentioned cast other favorites return as well some fun newcomers including The Lucas Brothers, Peter Stormare, Amber Stevens and Wyatt Russell son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn who looks just like his dad from his younger days.
This is one of those rare sequels that not only lives up to the original it surpasses it on almost every level. There is no reason this series should work, but thankfully it does and looks to keep getting better and better. Not sure if there is a plan to make another, but the tag on the trailer serves as a perfect cap to the series and as much as it would be awesome to see these guys back in action it would be better to let this one cap the series and end on top. If you refused to give the original a chance, but for some reason still want to check this one out have no fear they even sport a ‘previously on…’ opening reminiscent of the TV series to get you caught up.