21 Jump Street was a procedural crime drama starring Johnny Depp in 1987. The show was fairly popular and lasted several seasons, but in retrospect, its known for making Johnny Depp a household name. In 2012 the show was adapted into a buddy cop comedy starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. It sounded like a recipe for disaster, but the movie was a pleasant surprise and a huge commercial hit. The team has reunited for a sequel and despite not delivering the caliber of laughs as the first film it’s a worthy sequel that doesn’t suffer in quality the way many do.
The movies plot centers around a new drug called “WHYPHY” that has caused the death of a student at a university. It’s up to Schmidt & Jenko to “infiltrate the dealer and find the supplier” as Ice Cube would say. Yes the premise is a rehash of the fist film, but everyone is very aware of that here. Probably one of the most interesting things about the movie is just how meta it gets with its humor. Jokes are made about the concept of sequels and how they typically never work and its funny for the most part.
Although this story is about stopping the spread of a new drug it’s really the relationship between Schmidt & Jenko that takes center stage. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum deliver very solid performances again with Tatum continuing to show his comedic chops. Johan is good as usual showing his improv skills in some very funny scenes. Ice Cube has much more to do in this movie and he does a fine job as well. The cast is rounded out with Peter Stormare, Amber Steven, Wyatt Russel and Jillian Bell, who kills nearly every scene she’s in. Because the story is all about the buddy cop bromance these supporting characters aren’t given enough to do. Amber Steven’s character could’ve been really interesting, but we weren’t given enough time with her. We do get a few pleasant surprises like the aforementioned Bell and The Lucas Brothers.
The college setting in the movie is fun, but it wasn’t as well executed as the high school environment in 21. Many of the college tropes we know are explored here, but the commentary isn’t as smart or funny as the new age high school setting in the last film. Many of the laughs in this movie happen despite the dullness of the college environment. The movie seemed to run long, and it had a bit of a false ending midway though. The final act wasn’t as funny or satisfying as I hoped, and it doesn’t feel as fresh as the original, but that comes with the territory sequels exist in. The element of surprise in gone for this movie and with such high expectation I was a bit disappointed, but satisfied. Some of the jokes they try to retell aren’t as funny and the cameos in the movie feel unnecessary and boring in some instances, but the twist halfway through the movie is perfect and the end credits are inventive and hilarious. If you enjoyed the first one you’ll be happy with this sequel.