Typically, sequels are never as good as their predecessors and nobody is more aware of this than the writers of 22 Jump Street. When 21 Jump Street came out over two years ago I wrote about how pleasantly surprised I was by it. The first instalment succeeded in making an American comedy with truly great comic writing and performances. 21 Jump Street is the best of its kind, making a mockery out of pitiful franchises such as The Hangover series and raising the bar for the American comedy genre. Two years later, and the sequel has managed to live up to the first, with its equal levels of hilarity and heightened amounts of self awareness. From the opening minutes of the film, the characters are constantly reminding us of what we have grown to expect from sequels; bigger budgets, repeated jokes, a weaker plot and the destruction of the original ideas and character traits. Following their successful drug bust at a high school, chalk and cheese police partners, Schmidt and Jenko, are being send back under-cover – and this time, they’re off to college. Being told that they need to “do exactly what they did last time” in order to succeed, the cops must try to find the supplier of a new popular drug whilst also trying to come to terms with their personal differences.
I’m not always as convinced by Jonah Hill as others are but he really is fantastic as the over-sensitive brains of the operation. Channing Tatum has demonstrated his knack for comedy in recent years and continues to entertain as this partnership’s muscle man. Both actors are individually funny but together they are hilarious. The laughs are not only large but they come pretty frequently. From slapstick to genre-homage, to more subtle verbal humour, 22 Jump Street knows how to amuse its audience through a number of different situations and characters. Ice Cube is fiery and funny and the rest of the supporting cast are also well picked and deliver well. 22 Jump Street doesn’t only know what its audience want and expect from a comedy but it knows how to satisfy the action movie fans as well. The action is energetic and fast paced whilst remaining comical throughout. Action and comedy merge perfectly here to create a film rich in affection for the genre as well as mockery of it. The film’s plot is purposefully similar to the first film’s but it is just as enjoyable and entertaining. The narrative is well developed and paced, making 22 Jump Street a fun and intense joy to sit and smile through.
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