22 Jump Street follows the same action/comedy formula with tons of gun-play and puerile humour. Fans of the TV show, upon which this series is based, may wonder why its concept was so radically altered. Where Hollywood is concerned, such things are trivial with this sequel proving that raking in dollars is far more vital than conjuring quality.
Famed for their exploits in a previous mission, officers Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) are sent back to Jump Street. Reporting to their boss Captain Dickson (Ice Cube), they are given their latest assignment. Going undercover to bust a drug ring, they think it will be a breeze. Their wayward ways become rudely shaken when they combat an army eager to protect their turf.
Whilst occasionally having some fun and showing genuine wit, 22 Jump Street takes the easy way out. Instead of providing character development and working hard at creating laughs, the producers opt for minimal characterisation and crudity. Comedies used to be far more sophisticated with the potential to make this as timeless as many others lost. Tatum and Hill display some good chemistry although their banter mirroring those from the Lethal Weapon series becomes tiresome.
To their credit directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller put some edge to the material. Their skewering of typical sequel conventions works and they handle the action sequences well. It’s a shame the humour is mostly mishandled with the original TV show’s ethos discarded for the sake of cheap gags. 22 Jump Street has few new elements to differentiate itself from its forebear.
Sequels should at least match or better the original outing. 22 Jump Street fails to do this. Whilst its humour may have fans, it barely registers on the memory with its projected third offering something only its money-making producers would welcome.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 3