Blu-ray Review: 22 Jump Street

One of my sometimes rather time consuming quirks when it comes to watching sequels is that I like to catch up on all the previous installments of the franchise beforehand. Having not seen 21 Jump Street since watching it back in 2012 when it was first released, I thought it best to check it out before watching 22 Jump Street, even though some may think it’s silly to do so for a comedy, as how vital could the continuing plot really be?

Well it turns out in this case it was the right choice, as not only does 21 Jump Street hold up incredibly well years later (it’s easily one of the best comedies of the past decade or so) but with Michael Bacall and Jonah Hill returning to craft the story for the sequel (with Bacall, Oren Uziel and Rodney Rothman writing the screenplay), the comedic callbacks to the first film throughout the sequel are in abundance. That’s not to say 22 Jump Street wouldn’t be damn funny if you didn’t just watch the first movie; however, I’d recommend doing so just for the added bonus laughter it brings – and there’s lots of it.

Much like the first, 22 Jump Street breaks the fourth wall from time to time without making it blatantly obvious. Take the plot for example: once again Schmidt and Jenko have to go undercover to stop a new drug that’s getting popular before it spreads to other schools. Yep, it’s the exact same plot from the first movie, except they’re in college. The exact same plot. And do you want to know the best part? They acknowledge it multiple times throughout! That’s part of the joke – that the film is a sequel, and sequels usually try to do the same thing, only bigger.

To avoid revealing any spoilers, that’s really all you need to know about the story, except for the fact that it’s not a carbon copy movie. While the plot is the same, the fact that the movie is aware of this makes it different, so it’s not totally obvious how things will play out. And even where it is clear what’s happening, it’s still sidesplittingly hilarious to watch Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill work together on screen once again.

The key to a successful buddy comedy – even above the comedy itself – is the chemistry of the buddies involved. You can have a hilarious script, but if the two lead characters don’t mesh, then the delivery will be off and a lot of jokes will fall flat. Hill and Tatum have chemistry than an AP Chemistry class. Regardless of how subtle the joke is, or even if it’s just simple banter back and forth between the pair, it all works. It works so well that you’ll likely miss some of the jokes because you’re laughing so hard at others.

Also returning are Ice Cube and Nick Offerman, as Captain Dickson and Deputy Chief Hardy respectively. Like the first film, Offerman is only around briefly, but his scene is gold once again as he calls out sequels in general, much like he did reboots in the first. Ice Cube is around a bit more this time, and while he could’ve been reused in the same way that most of the jokes were, he’s actually given some great stuff to work with that really elevates the story and comedy. And of course, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are back, which really serves the movie well, as it’s their unique vision and sense of humour that really helps these films deliver the goods.

The credits are filled with even more jokes, as the series starts throwing out titles for 23 Jump Street: Medical School, 24 Jump Street: Foreign Exchange Students, all the way to 2121 Jump Street – a futuristic space romp and the franchises 12th or so installment. But with the huge success that this series has had so far, don’t be surprised when a 23 Jump Street is actually announced, and with how smart the writing of the first two has been, I’d expect it will take things in an entirely new direction, all while delivering more of the same.

After revisiting 21 Jump Street and laughing just as hard as I did the first time out, I have no doubt that 22 Jump Street will hold up just as strongly. In fact, it’s so funny that it should come with a warning that you may laugh your dick off.

Sony did a great job on the video transfer of the film! The colours are vibrant and sharp, and everything just looks beautiful. There are quite a few scenes that take place at night, yet there are no washed out blacks or poorly converted tones. All in all this is one great looking film. On the audio front it sounds beautiful! The soundtrack fits the film perfectly, and really elevates most scenes where it’s highlighted. The sound mix overall is top notch and those with nice sound systems will reap the benefits here.

Special Features:

Audio Commentary – Up first there’s a fantastic audio commentary involving Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, as well as Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. This is what most fans of films wish their commentaries were like, where everyone shows up and has a good time. Okay, more dramatic films may want some more in-depth knowledge into the filmmaking process; however, having the stars alongside the directors is always a treat, and here the four just have a blast for the entirety of the commentary. Sit back and enjoy!

Deleted/Extended Scenes – There are lots of deleted and extended scenes to check out if that’s your thing. I’ve never really been a fan of them, as I find they were cut for a reason, and usually in comedies they’re such brief snippets out of the flow of the film that the jokes usually work even less than they did before they were cut.

The Perfect Couple of Directors – This featurette comes in at just under 10 minutes in length and talks about returning directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and how they’ve worked together for over 15 years on projects. They talk about coming back for the sequel, as well as various things that happened on set. It’s a very fun watch, as are most of these featurettes!

Everything is Better in College – This featurette comes in at just under eight minutes in length, and talks about the transition from high school to college, and how that opened up so many more doors for jokes and story in the sequel.

Janning and Chonah – This featurette is roughly eight minutes in length and talks about the chemistry between Tatum and Hill. It’s hilarious to watch them interact here, and it’s clear that the two get along incredibly well, as it translates perfectly onto the screen in a way that usually can’t be faked.

New Recruits – This featurette comes in at just under 10 minutes in length and talks about the new cast members brought on for the sequel, and how their comedic timing and deliveries helped get them the jobs.

Don’t Cut Yet – This featurette is just under nine minutes in length and looks at how much improve takes place on set. Let’s just say that I’d be shocked if most of the cast and crew don’t wrap these Jump Street flicks with abs of steel, as the laughter has got to be off the charts while filming.

Joke-A-Palooza – This six minute piece are just alternate takes on various jokes in the movie. It’s a fun, quick watch!

Line-O-Ramas – This is an extension of the previous extra, as it’s more back and forth between characters, and alternate takes of various scenes. It’s another quick watch, so it’s worth checking out for the laughs it delivers.

The Dramatic Interpretation of 22 Jump Street There’s an explanation at the start of this extra that says how comedic films don’t often translate well overseas, so alternate cuts are sometimes asked to be made to make them into a crime drama or whathaveyou. The result of this is a 9 minute and 30 second version of 22 Jump Street that you can watch in its entirety. All jokes have been removed, and yet, it’s still hilarious to watch – after you’ve seen the film, of course!

Zook & McQuaid Scout Reel – Here’s the reel that the pair made for their football recruitment video in the movie. While it’s not bad, it’s definitely funnier in theory.

Jenko Split – Some may remember the Jean-Claude Van Damme splits commercial that went viral earlier this year. Well, here is Channing Tatum’s 22 Jump Street spoof of that, which is quite funny whether you’ve seen the Van Damme version or not (if not, you should look it up, as it’s crazy impressive and makes this even funnier.)

Sony Pictures Presents 22 Jump Street. Directed by: Phil Lord & Chris Miller. Written by: Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel and Rodney Rothman. Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Peter Stormare, Wyatt Russel, Amber Stevens, Ice Cube, Jillian Bell, Nick Offerman, The Lucas Brothers. Running time: 112 Minutes. Rating: 14A. Released on Blu-ray: Nov. 18, 2014.

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