Nobody gave a shit about the Jump Street reboot when you first came on. Anyone with half a brain, myself included, thought it was destined to fail spectacularly.
But you got lucky.
So now this department has invested a lot of money to make sure Jump Street keeps going. We doubled their budget, as if spending twice the money guaranteed twice the profit.
Comedy is probably the hardest genre to execute consistently -- tonal and pacing missteps can sink you without warning. Sequels too are a dangerous beast to tame -- balancing audience and studio and story expectations are pretty much impossible. And so it goes that the Comedy Sequel may well be one of the hardest types of movies to make well. Funny (aside from being incredibly hard work) is a bit like magic or lightning in a bottle. You know it when you see it. You can feel it when it's working. But there's no way to imperially define it.
Most modern (particularly comedy) TV-show-to-film adaptations are ripe with Look How Dumb The Original Show Was cynicism and they're not particularity good movies. Many fail. Most are forgotten. Then there's '21 Jump Street', which felt like it came out of nowhere. Given the involvement of directors Phil Lord & Christopher Miller -- the filmmakers behind 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs' -- we should have had a little hope. Still, it was a huge surprise to find an impossibly clever flick that blends modern cynicism with earnest characters with action-genre spoofing with overt commentary on Hollywood Studio filmmaking. I absolutely loved it. Audiences embraced it. And the studio convinced key cast and crew members to come back for a second outing.
After a "Previously on 21 Jump Street" prologue, we're reintroduced to the best buddy bumbling cop duo of Schmidt and Jenko (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) as they get in over their heads with some serious baddies at the Metro City port. During a 'Bad Boys' style action sequence, "half the port is destroyed" and the baddies make a clean getaway.
A pretty bad day, brought on by one simple fact. Schmidt and Jenko failed because they weren't doing that same undercover student thing they did the last time. So they're going to back to Jump Street... Except the Koreans bought back their church and the department moved across the street to 22... Jump Street. There, Angry Black Captain Ice Cube awaits with the new mission in his overpriced office. It's the same case. Drugs at a school. Find the dealer. Find the supplier.
Only this time, "you bitches are going to college."
What follows is an endless parade of jokes with, aside from the Do The Same Thing mantra, very few callbacks to the actual first movie, which I think plays well. The world is no longer a fresh surprise to be discovered in a darkened cinema or living room, but holy crap, Lord & Miller have pulled it off again. '22 Jump Street' is one of the best comedy sequels in recent history while not only embracing what worked before (more meta comedy and story structure jokes), but also reversing character arcs. Like all comedies, some jokes play really well the first time, some get better on repeat viewings, and some fall flat. The lasting mileage, if there is any to be found for you personally, always comes from the characters themselves.
The film's screenwriters -- Story by Michael Bacall & Jonah Hill / Screenplay by Michael Bacall and Oren Uziel and Rodney Rothman -- and directors and actors came together with a character-story that doesn't try to one up its predecessor, but gives each lead a new arc to explore. It's simple stuff, but effective, if only because '22 Jump Street' is a love story about two hetero best friends who don't realize it. We actually care if they stay together (albeit while mixing in elements of meta comedy, broad cartoon comedy, filthy profane R-rated comedy, and generation gap references). Tatum and Hill approach these roles with such enthusiasm the whole experience is infectious.
Phil Lord & Christopher Miller are having a bang up year with the back-to-back release of 'The LEGO Movie' and '22 Jump Street', providing a unique comedy tone that blends several disparate comedy elements (in one case, for kids and families and adults, and in another, for a decidedly adult audience). It's a magic trick, a lightning in a bottle, very few artists are capable of pulling off, let alone of pulling it off well. I hope these two gentlemen, and their various collaborators, continue to make films for as long as they're able.
PS...stick around for what might be the best closing credits sequence ever.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'22 Jumps Street' debuts on Blu-ray as part of a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack in a standard two-disc Blu-ray case with a slipcover. The film and exclusive HD bonus content is all housed on one BD50 that should work in Regions A, B, and C. Also, there are instructions for redeeming your Digital HD copy on UltraViolet -- there is no mention of iTunes. Blu-ray trailers include an ad for Digital HD UltraViolet, 'The Interview', 'Sex Tape', 'The Equalizer', 'When the Game Stands Tall', and ''Home Sweet Hell'.
'22 Jump Street' explodes onto Blu-ray with an outstanding AVC MPEG-4 encode framed in the film's original 2.40:1 theatrical aspect ratio.
Ripe with highly resolute details and robust colors, '22 Jump Street' offers up a quality high definition presentation free from any obvious artifacts, errors, or unwanted digital manipulations save for some dirt on the lens during the climax. I'm not familiar with this production's camera package, but it's pretty safe to assume we're dealing with a purely digital process that offers up endless clarity while retaining a nice filmmic quality. Skin tones are even, color are bright and accurate, and black levels are deep without any hints of crush or lost shadow detailed. Comedies tend to feature flat compositions and static camera work, but the 'Jump Street' franchise does a wonderful job of, similar to Edgar Wright's filmography, embracing the longer focal lengths and kinetic movements more common in action movies. The only hangups seem to be some wonky visual effects and some over exposed exterior skies from time to time.
'22 Jump Street' whooshes, swoops, and booms onto Blu-ray with a fun and engaging 5.1 DTS-HD MA (in your choice of French OR English).
Like most comedies, the 'Jump Street' soundtrack prioritizes dialog, never drowning out the many jokes. But unlike most comedies, as we've talked about its action movie roots, 'Jump Street' comes alive with a few aggressive moments, but not enough to make this a demo disc of any kind. For the most part, even in the most "bombastic" of aural sequence, the filmmakers have elected to let the music shine and envelop. This is generally a good thing -- it sounds great -- but not as immersive as we might hope in action sequences. That's okay though.
While '22 Jump Street' isn't demo material per se, the track sounds fantastic on Blu-ray.
Just like 'The LEGO Movie', '22 Jump Street' is jam-packed with bonus materials. In addition to a commentary, there's approximately two hours of deleted scenes, featurettes, and other background shenanigans. Not only do these filmmakers ensure their movies are top notch, but they even make the bonus materials fun.
For all home entertainment releases, including the DVD, you will have access to the Audio Commentary, 5 Deleted & Extended Scenes, The Perfect Couple of Directors featurette, and what they call a Line-O-Rama, which is an extended montage of unused one-liners.
I wouldn't go so far as to say it's better than the first, which was a wonderful surprise, but I'd argue '22 Jump Street' carries the torch well, managing to bring new gags into an established comedy world. The story's the same on purpose, but you'll laugh just as hard as before, sometimes even more so. My hats off to all the creatives involved.
As a Blu-ray, '22 Jump Street' offers pristine video, strong audio, and a terrific number of well-crafted (and also funny) special features. If you're already a fan of the franchise, this title comes Highly Recommended. If you have not seen the first movie, and aren't opposed to sometimes-vulgar R-rated comedies, I would definitely recommend watching both movies back to back with a bunch of friends (comedies play better in groups).