Fans were surprised by the original 21 Jump Street. Cynical about a comedy based on a ‘80s drama, the film's laughs and silly moments brought to life in the debut was a hit that makes a sequel worthy. In the follow-up, whereas a repetitious plot may have failed other movie sequels, 22 Jump Street manages to still be interesting and hilarious thanks to the teamwork of leads Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. Added to their solid chemistry, the return of Ice Cube who reprises his role as Captain Dickson makes 22 Jump Street more comedic and moronic than the first.
In this sequel, Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Channing) once again go undercover to find the source of drug distribution, except this time they move from high school to college. The duo’s ‘bromance’ is tested by Jenko using his brawny physicality to find a sense of belonging among football players and idiotic fraternity brothers that understand and vibe with his intellectual slowness. Meanwhile, Schmidt’s social awkwardness, clumsiness, and physically older, out of shape appearance makes him an outcast despite finding budding love with emotionally detached student Maya (Amber Stevens).
Besides focusing on the development of Hill and Channing's complex marriage-like relationship and characters, 22 Jump Street gives more depth to Ice Cube’s role as Captain Dickson. Going beyond him being cast as simply a police captain, we meet his family, and a somewhat more humanistic, overly emotional, angry black man side that we only saw a glimpse of in 21 Jump Street.
Highlights of the sequel feature new characters such as, Kenny and Keith, played by The Lucas Brothers. They bring a hilarious spin on the idea of identical twins. And the audience will be surprised and even shocked by a “Queenly” cameo appearance in a surprising family-like role that actually makes sense in connection to one or two of the casts' previous films.
Despite the constant laugh out loud moments that 22 Jump Street brings, the film’s weakness lies in the end, nearly tricking the audience into believing it’s over, when in fact another 30 minutes exist. This mishap slows the momentum, requiring a jumpstart to recharge and regain the funny again in a way that makes it feel like a rush to bring the film to its climatic action-filled end.
All in all, 22 Jump Street ends with the laughs, a clear indicator that this will not be the last we see of the goofyball adventures of cops who look like kids.
The Shadow League gives 22 Jump Street a B-.