Not too many sequels surpass their original. Either the story isn’t good enough, the cast can’t recapture what they did in the first film or they make the same exact movie again and lose their audience.
The Godfather Part II, Back to the Future II, and the films in the Rocky franchise all were great sequels because they stayed true to the original but brought in new stories. They improved the foundation laid by the first movie.
The newest film to add to these successful sequels is 22 Jump Street. Officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are back, but this time, instead of playing high school students, they are enrolled at a local college.
What makes this film different from other sequels that have been released lately is that the screenwriters acknowledge the fact that it is a sequel by having characters mention that they have done “all of this before” and talk a lot about how they dealt with the last situation.
In 21 Jump Street, Jenko and Schmidt made it obvious that they didn’t know what they were doing when it came to undercover cop work. In this movie, the fact that they have been in almost the exact same situation makes it easier for them to solve the crime.
In addition, all the things that were not allowed in the first movie now are no problem for the guys. In college, anything goes.
With the success of their first assignment, the department has been given “carte blanche,” or Cate Blanchett, as Jenko calls it, with the budget, and they take advantage of it and their new found freedom.
Schmidt has a new, interesting love interest, which makes things a little (OK, a lot) awkward around the Vietnamese church/police station, while Jenko, who had trouble fitting in during their high school assignment, finds out that he not only is a great cop but that he is in fact suited for the college life.
This movie has more action sequences than the first and has several stories that come together at the end. The running gag about the movie being a sequel not only is mentioned by the two main stars but also by most of the supporting cast. They add to the gag by making remarks about how pointless and expensive all the destruction is during the action scenes.
During a visit to prison, we also get to find out what happened to the villains from the last movie.
One of my favorite parts is after the movie is over. During the credits, the audience gets to see what the partners would look like in different schools in what may be ideas for future movies.
If you want to see a movie that doesn’t take itself seriously at all and has a lot of action, drive over to 22 Jump Street and say, “Something cool.”