22 Jump Street - Blu-ray Review

'Whilst Lord and Miller's sense of humour makes the self-referential gags work, there will be occasions where you'll wish 22 Jump Street would just stop beating you around the head with the same joke and try something else'.

Whilst Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's second entry into their Jump Street franchise can't be considered worse than the first, nor does it ever do anything to raise its game. Although it admittedly manages to buck the general trend of sequels not being as good as the original, the way in which 22 Jump Street arrives at that achievement is somewhat shameless, being as it is in a great many ways pretty much the same film as 21 Jump Street.

In all honesty, the co-directors never make any attempt to hide the fact that 22 Jump Street is following almost exactly the same formula as the previous film. Deputy Chief Hardy's (Nick Offerman) introductory spiel is essentially a string of references to the fact that this film is basically a rehash of the last one but with a bigger budget. "Do the same thing as last time, everyone's happy", he informs Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) - a fact which is almost certainly true for many fans of 21 Jump Street. Whilst Lord and Miller's sense of humour makes these self-referential gags work a fair amount of the time, there will be occasions where you'll wish 22 Jump Street would just stop beating you around the head with the same joke and try something else.

Picking up where they left off, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill have undeniable chemistry together, providing many of the film's funniest moments. Whilst this may now be old hat for Hill - the kind of humour he's made his name on since his breakout role in Superbad almost eight years ago - Tatum once again emerges as the more impressive of the two. Although the actor is well known for romantic dramas and romcoms, as well as more recently attempting to establish himself as an action star in the likes of White House Down, Jenko now feels like both Tatum's most comfortable and most successful role, allowing him to flex his muscles whilst also demonstrating his knack for comedy and creating likeable, believable characters.

The key issue with 22 Jump Street's strict adherence to formula is that, whilst it delivers enough of Lord and Miller's now trademark style of comedy, it never does anything that attempts to fix or improve any of the weaknesses found in 21 Jump Street before it. Many of the characters outside of the central pair feel thinly drawn or are given too little time to make an impact, perhaps even more so than in the first film. The plot also once again takes a firm backseat to the humour, with the story here feeling too simple and strung together in far too careless a manner to truly satisfy.

If the closing credits of this second instalment in the franchise (one of the strongest and funniest sequences of the whole film) are to be believed, the Jump Street series is set to become at least a trilogy. Should that come to pass, it would be nice to see the proposed third film build on the pleasing if unremarkable work of the first two, instead of presenting yet another retread of the same idea.

By Ben Broadribb. Ben is a regular contributor to Film Intel, having previously written at Some Like It Hot Fuzz. He is normally seen in the wild wearing t-shirts containing obscure film references. He is a geek, often unashamedly so. He's also on and Twitter.

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