21 Jump Street is an unexpectedly weird and wild ride down the nostalgic turnpike. Full of expected vulgarity, explosive action beats, and sudden turns full of sweetness and character only to slam into a wall of genuine weirdness, it’s a movie that is hard to describe and that, my friends, is a good thing. Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (the team responsible for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), one thing is for certain, 21 Jump Street doesn’t disappoint fans of the TV show and entertains those who have never ever heard of Peter John DeLuise…
Two rivals in high school (who barely got out with their self-respect in tact), the popular pretty-faced Greg Jenko (Tatum Channing) and the chunky Eminem wannabe Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill), wind up on the same police unit many years later. Unfortunately, their enthusiasm on the force outshines their mental muscle and their success and the odd couple of cops are assigned to a resurrected program from the 1980’s: 21 Jump Street.
Led by the foul-mouthed and perpetual angry Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) and watched over by Korean Jesus, undercover officers in 21 Jump Street are expected to work the streets, the schools, and the slums in search of the source and supplier of a new super drug that caused the death of a teenager. With fun cameos from original gang over at Jump Street Cathedral - Holly Robinson Peete, Peter DeLuise, and Johnny Depp - and a badass tale of bromance and beer from nail-sharp screenwriter Michael Bacall, the unpredictable antics in 21 Jump Street should prove to be a smash hit with teens, tweakers, and the twenty-plusers.
Channing and Hill are great in that they deliver the sardonic and self-effacing humor with such balls-to-the-wall gusto. With much ado to comedic discipline, the two actors play on the undercover brothers gig rather well. To say this is Channing’s best performance of his career is no understatement. It really is. You expect one thing from him and, surprisingly, get a side never seen.
Hill, also a co-writer, runs with the chance to be the introvert turned theatre pro as Schmidt and makes his turn as Peter Pan look as uncomfortable in green tights as imagined while he romances the ladies, taking full advantage of the opportunities he never had in high school.
There are some touching moments and some great role-reversal segments that makes today’s teenagers look like saints when compared to the bully-rampant atsmosphere that plagued the 80s and 90s school hallways. Of course, even the saints have their fair share of sinners and with a quick witt, Bacall is able to dispel them for what they are.
Inspired and (often) deranged comedy sometimes gives way to lagging moments, but mostly the anarchy of the picture pays off. On a freeway chase sequence, there’s a running gag of over-the-top explosions which finally pays off nicely with a puff of gasoline and feathers. Later, the film surrenders to what it was parodying with a nice over-the-top helping of bullets and fireball explosions. Suddenly, it’s 1987 all over again. Nice.
When Depp and DeLuise make their appearance, the audience applause is as over-the-top as the picture itself. What happens next is the real stunner. For that, you’ll have to pay to see.
21 Jump Street wants to be ironic and large parts of it are. Sometimes it’s more one-noted than you want it to be and then it kicks in again with momentum - even if most of the jokes are built on a hyper sense of self – but, due to an upbeat and quirky pair of directors behind the camera, the film is much better than anyone ever expected a remake of Fox's first serious drama to be.
MPAA Rating: R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, teen drinking and some violence.
Director: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Writer: Michael Bacall
Cast: Jonah Hill; Channing Tatum; Dave Franco; Rob Riggle; Brie Larson; Ice Cube
Tagline: They're too old for this shift.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I think I crapped my pants."
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Official Site: www.21jumpstreet-movie.com
Release Date: March 16, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: No details yet available.
Synopsis: In the action-comedy 21 Jump Street, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are more than ready to leave their adolescent problems behind. Joining the police force and the secret Jump Street unit, they use their youthful appearances to go undercover in a local high school. As they trade in their guns and badges for backpacks, Schmidt and Jenko risk their lives to investigate a violent and dangerous drug ring. But they find that high school is nothing like they left it just a few years earlier – and neither expects that they will have to confront the terror and anxiety of being a teenager again and all the issues they thought they had left behind.
Available on Blu-ray - June 26, 2012
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Indonesian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Thai
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Thai: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); UV digital copy
This region free release from Sony is another wonderful example of the quality they bring out in their releases. The flawless 1080p presentation is awash with texture, striking colors, and a crisp visual display that surrenders only slightly to the use of obvious CG throughout the movie. Textures in fabrics are noticeable and so are the pores in facial features, but clarity is given to CG effects from time to time for a loss in picture capacity, Not enough to be that much of a distraction, but noticeable due to Sony’s striking transfer. As I said, colors are bold. Daylight scenes are alighted with a nice use of primary colors and other bright hues. With no aliasing, banding, or other artifacting problems of any sort noticed throughout the feature, Sony has another winner on their hands. This dialogue heavy comedy comes alive with a sprite DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that relies heavily on the front and center channels. A fully engaged surround quality also brings a nice warmth to the on-screen happenings.
- Supplied by directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller and stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum the commentary isn’t the sure-fire charmer that it attempts to be. While there are moments of tidbits, the commentators are too busy making fun of each other or laughing at themselves to make it wholly informal. In fact, it gets to be a chore with the amount of inside jokes bandied back and forth between the commentators.
Man, is this puppy ever primed for comic enjoyment. With 20 deleted scenes that are actually worth watching, you know you’ve got some delicious meat on the bone. All of these are solid and make for an interesting addition to the feature. Now, if only someday we could see these incorporated back into the feature. The gag reel is also a keeper; full of good moments as the actors flub their lines. Next up is a feature that focuses on Ice Cube’s impromptu with his lines. There are two promotional – and fairly tame – behind-the-scenes featurettes. You know how those go; the cast slapping each other on the back. The featurette that focuses on Depp on the set actually gets the momentum going again before we plunge into Rob Riggle territory with his own version of Line-O-Rama. There’s a good look at the car chase scene on the freeway. You know, the one with Hill dressed as Peter Pan. Classic.
- Deleted Scenes (30 min)
- Gag Reel (5 min)
- Cube-O-Rama (2 min)
- Back to School (8 min)
- Brothers in Arms (6 min)
- Johnny Depp on Set (4 min)
- The Rob Riggle Show (9 min)
- Peter Pan on the Freeway (4 min)