Jump starts again
May 29 2014
The popular ’80s television show that put Johnny Depp in the spotlight is getting a sequel in 22 Jump Street
The premise of the action-comedy is the same as the good old TV show — young undercover cops infiltrate high schools in a bid to fight crime.
Fresh out of the academy, Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) believe they are leaving their adolescent problems behind and coming of age as they join the police force’s Jump Street unit. This secret unit comprises young cops whose youthful appearances ensure they could “pass for high school students”.
Schmidt and Jenko, again explore the classic nerd and popular guy relationship, but this time round — after making their way through high school twice —Morton Schmidt (Hill) and Greg Jenko (Tatum) have graduated to a local college. Why? In their Captain’s words: “Your a** look like you’re about 50.”
The undercover cops have one motto: work hard, party harder! So they put in their all when on duty — after all, they’re at the college to bust a drug ring. During their down time, the duo is having all the fun they can. Soon, Jenko chances upon a kindred spirit on the football team, and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene.
Guess what happens next? The thick-as-thieves cops begin to question their partnership. Now they have two cases to solve — one, the drug scene at the college; two, their relationship. Can the two overgrown adolescents grow from freshmen into real men? If so, college might be the best thing that ever happened to them.
The new Jump Street films are more CSI and police procedural dramas — the glass walls, the plentiful gizmos and the many computers give that hi-tech feel. The cops, meanwhile, are nowhere as evolved. No wonder there are grenades lobbed down underpants, Ice Cube swearing all the while, couple’s counselling and embarrassing sexual encounters interspersed with parties, beer pong and spring break. Hill dons on a pair of shades, a bandana and tries his best Latino accent to go undercover as a drug dealer trying to buy product.
Hill, who co-wrote the story, has said that his only interest in doing 22 Jump Street was “to make fun of the idea of a sequel. We riff on the idea that people just want to see the same thing they saw the first time”. The sequel also has Hill and Tatum poking fun at their public images. So Oscar-nominee Hill takes his character super-seriously when he’s undercover, while Tatum’s busy doing unnecessary action and stunts.
Why on earth would a studio invest in a bro-oriented movie like this one? One that’s supposedly an adaptation of a TV show that’s part of fond memories? And why then would the plot be turned on its head? Boggles the mind!
Hill, who also served as co-writer and co-producer on 21 Jump Street, said he was reluctant to take on the movie at first because of “the stigma attached to remakes”, but says the outcome was “fulfilling”. He may think so. So may Channing. But that’s not the word to describe the big screen reboot of the TV crime drama series. Try excruciating! Or agonising!
Fans, be warned: This may be the duo’s final bust. “'It was kind of natural that we went to college after going to high school in the first movie,” says Tatum. “'Where do you go next? Med school? Grad school?” If anyone could turn the MCAT into comedy gold, it’s these guys.