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22 Jump Street
"Well, I'd hoped to never see you again..."
I would imagine that the consensus of those who watched the big screen version of 21 Jump Street were proven wrong, hard done by our own skepticism that such a thing could be done and done pretty well, to the tune of more than $200 million worldwide box office. So naturally, the powers that be asked, even pleaded with the filmmakers on a follow-up installment, to which everyone seemed to reluctantly agree. The brilliant part is that everyone involved showed their reluctance and made it funny as a result.
The gang comes back for another installment undercover, only this time, they go to college! Jenko (Channing Tatum, The Vow) fits in a little easier this time because his athleticism makes him a shoo-in for the football team. Schmidt (Jonah Hill, Moneyball) has a slightly tougher time, but eventually starts seeing Maya (Amber Stevens, Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift), who he later finds out is the Captain's (Ice Cube, Boyz N the Hood) daughter. But Jenko and Schmidt need to infiltrate the dealers and find the supplier of a new drug ring that is getting people killed.
After watching 22 Jump Street, there is a part of me that honestly believes that it is a better film than its predecessor, if nothing else because the leap of some sort of credibility is was greater than that of the first. Michael Bacall returned to write the screenplay and Phil Lord and Christopher Miller directed, and one of the first things they apparently went with was doing 110 minutes of winking and nodding to the original and to the premise of a sequel. And the funny part is that it kind of works that way. 30 year old Channing Tatum playing college football? Well, not that far from real-world college football, just shrug your shoulders and move on I guess is the impression the film sort of conveys.
If there is a tendency that 22 Jump Street jumps to a little too much to its fault, it's that the film is so confident that people go along for the ride in this film that it advertises that and this catering comes off as cheap. Maybe it begs the question that the film is doing EXACTLY this thing intentionally to prove the point, which underscores the muted brilliance of the film. But to stop your ear from bleeding in pondering this I will digress.
The cast turn in fun work in this film because of their approach to it, whether it is Nick Offerman returning at the beginning or Rob Riggle as the villain from the first film who is now in prison helping the cops in the second. And if nothing else, the filmmakers should be commended for letting Ice Cube be…Ice Cube, and rolling as hard as possible with that he does the best work in these two movies alone more than he has for anything before or since. And additional kudos for having the foresight to cast Jillian Bell (Bridesmaids) as one of the villains. I encourage seeking out the alternate lines section of the disc to see some damn stellar outtakes.
That 22 Jump Street tackled the story in front of it by eschewing the pointlessness of extending mythology of their comic characters and choosing to look at the silliness of rehashing the same premise with as much irony as possible was weirdly refreshing. That they tackle this with the reckless abandon they did makes it damned enjoyable to experience. Another wrinkle is that you will want to watch 21 Jump Street again or even for the first time after seeing this. I mean holy crap, how brilliant is that?
The Blu-ray Disc:
Sony makes all of their Blu-ray releases look pretty, and 22 Jump Street is no exception. The film shows off a surprisingly wide color palette, you can even see tiny reflections in the golden guns the cops carry! Skin and fabrics have a lot of texture and detail to them, scenes in darker lit moments are deep and consistent in the black levels and there is little in the way of prolonged or noticeable DNR or image haloing. It is a stellar disc.The Sound:
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless surround which is also not very surprising and very excellent to listen to. The low-end fidelity is almost on a Hot Fuzz level in terms of comic involvement. And the songs through the film start early and often with everyone's favorite, "Turn Down For What." Dialogue is consistent and well-balanced as well as the soundstage is broad and dynamic, and you get placed in the middle of the third act fire fights. Excellent work again from Sony.Extras:
Lord, Miller, Hill and Tatum return for a commentary for this film that includes a mix of watching the film and joking about it, along with including a ton of jokes and cracking each other up. The intention of turning Bell into the Winkelvoss twins in this film which, man I don't even want to know how that would work. But it is an enjoyable (albeit not completely informative) track to listen to. There is a standard definition disc and an Ultraviolet code for your usage also.
But wait, there's more! Six featurettes (50:35) examine the return of the stars and supporting players, the directors, and thoughts on one another, along with the new cast members. They talk about the challenge in making a good sequel and comparing things from the first film to the second. The last five minutes or so are devoted to some improvising with Riggle, Hill and Tatum which is simply hilarious and worth checking out. 22 deleted and extended scenes (39:52) with optional directory commentary are next, some are good, including what looked like a Manny Pacquiao, but I was mistaken. There is a little more time given to the Captain's relationship with Maya, but mostly the scenes are forgettable. Net is the alternate gag ‘Joke-A-Pallooza' (5:59) and an alternate ‘Line-O-Rama,' (9:37), both of which show off Bell's comic skills. "The Dramatic Interpretation of 22 Jump Street" (9:59) cuts out all the jokes and makes a deadpan story, one that is a little long and disappointing to be honest. "Zook and McQuaid Scout Reel" (2:17) is a highlight reel of Jenko's football skills, and "Jenko Split" (:45) has Tatum spoofing the Jean Claude Van Damme Volvo commercial everyone may remember.Final Thoughts:
22 Jump Street does not just wink and nod at you when you are viewing it. You get in on the joke deeply to the put that you cannot help but immerse yourself in the other Jump Street material and shake your fist that Sony would decide to even broach such a thing. And stick around for the end credits if you have not gotten the point of things. Technically the disc is a beauty, and the bonus materials are solid. It is very much worth exploring, regardless if you have not seen the first one.