22 Jump Street Review
The MovieAfter the surprising box office success of 21 Jump Street, the movie reboot of the ‘80s TV show featuring cops who go undercover in high school, it was inevitable that a sequel would follow. 22 Jump Street sees Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill reprise their roles as bumbling plods Jenko and Schmidt, only this time they’re headed to college to find the source of a new designer drug (again). With the first Jump Street, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie) put a wonderful twist on the hackneyed jock/nerd dynamic by making Hill’s loner goofball the popular hero and Tatum’s lunk-headed athlete the nerd, and I loved the tongue-in-cheek attitude of the script which lampooned Hollywood’s faltering ideas factory.
But while 21 was pleasantly self aware without overplaying its hand, 22 has sequels firmly in its sights and boy, it doesn’t let you forget it! There's a constant stream of gags about how the audience only wants to see the same stuff, that they’ve got a bigger budget on the ‘second mission’, that 23 Jump Street is already in development and so on. That aspect is fun for the first 15 minutes but soon gets tiresome because this isn’t the first sequel to make fun of the derivative nature of sequels. And the story twist this time is that there is no twist, because Jenko’s the popular one as the star of the university’s football team and Schmidt’s the outcast who ends up with the wine-drinking hipster douchebag crowd.
It’s true that the lead roles have been reversed from the first movie but the filmmakers are defying audience expectations by fulfilling audience expectations this time around, which is about as ironic as you can get; the main duo are now playing the roles that would’ve been expected of them originally, so none of it comes as a surprise. The emotional core of the story revolves around Jenko and Schmidt’s fractured relationship as they drift apart in ‘college’ when they meet new people, but it’s nowhere near as involving as the similar ‘self-discovery’ angle of the first movie. Neither film is supposed to be some heavy dramatic piece, don't get me wrong, yet when everything's laced with this much irony it's harder to take the serious bits seriously and subplots are left to fizzle out rather than being carried through to completion.
Thankfully there’s still plenty of funny to go around, which is the movie's main goal after all. Rob Riggle returns in a small but brilliant cameo as Mr. Walters (sans penis), Ice Cube gets to shout and swear some more as Captain Dickson, and Jillian Bell steals the show as college roommate Mercedes who mercilessly taunts Schmidt with a deadpan barrage of withering jokes about how old he looks (which itself is a gag that was well worn in the first movie, but hey-ho). Hill and Tatum do their bromantic thing again, delivering lots of improvised gags and retaining that winning buddy-buddy chemistry. While 22 Jump Street hits more than it misses, it's got none of the freshness of the first movie and the constant ream of meta in-jokes makes it feel too smug and self-serving. Still, the spoof credits which list several more Jump Street adventures are undeniably funny, try and keep an eye on the taglines; “A Steaming Load of Bolshevik” indeed.
The Blu-ray22 Jump Street hits UK Blu-ray with a region-free single disc release, packaged with a UV digital copy and a snazzy embossed slipcase.
Unusually for Sony the movie wasn’t finished at 4K, it was captured on Alexa and finished on a 2K DI. Regardless of the acquisition, this 1080p Blu-ray is another typically stunning effort from the Big S. Presented in 2.40 widescreen the image is sharp and glossy, with refined detail, rich colour and gorgeous black levels in the darker shots. There’s just a hint of banding in one shot and skin tones sometimes get that sallow greenscreen tinge which seems to be unavoidable with VFX comps, but overall the video quality is superb and it'd be churlish to give it less than a perfect score.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless track is extremely competent, with clear dialogue, pumping music that fills the entire sound stage and some low, low bass notes. It’s not the most articulate mix, with action scenes lacking the all-round presence that one might expect, but it presents what it’s got with gusto. Good stuff.
The extra features consist of a garrulous audio commentary with the two directors and two main stars (it's great listening to them tear into the constant Sony product placement), 6 featurettes (totalling 50 minutes), 22 deleted & extended scenes with optional director's commentary (39 minutes) plus more variations on that theme, with Line-O-Rama (6 mins) and Joke-A-Palooza (9 mins) delivering yet more alternate takes and deleted jokes, many of which are funnier than what ended up in the movie. Then there's a 10-minute Dramatic Interpretation of the movie which is a version without any jokes (it comes across as a ripost to the bloated super extended version of Anchorman 2). The package is finished off with McQuaid's endearingly daft football scouting video (2 mins), some Sony trailers and the Jenko Split, which was this production's answer to Jean-Claude Van Damme's famous Epic Split advert for Volvo.
Overall22 Jump Street is a scattergun comedy sequel which delivers a decent amount of laughs, but it's not half as smart as it thinks it is. The Blu-ray presents the film with excellent A/V quality and a sizeable chunk of enjoyable bonus features.
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