21 Jump Street
Films that are based on old American television shows are nothing new. The A-Team, Starsky & Hutch and Miami Vice have all sat in the chair and been given the Hollywood make-over; usually consisting of newer cars, attractive co-stars and even more attractive leads. However, none have matched the popularity of their TV counterparts. Next in line is 80s cop show 21 Jump Street that may have a secret weapon, and I am not talking about police batons…
21 Jump Street follows two cops fresh off the assembly line and thirsty for their first arrest. Realising they’re not going to do much good on the frontline, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are sent to 21 Jump Street: a Korean Christian church that is HQ for an undercover drugs operation at the local school, headed by Captain Dickson (Ice Cube). Chosen because of their boyish looks, Schmidt and Jenko are sent back to high school in the hope of discovering the supplier of this new hip drug.
It has been no surprise that Jonah Hill has stuck to his one style of acting for most of his career in Hollywood. Ever since Judd Apatow gave us a new movement in comedy with Superbad, the careers of actors like Michael Cera, for example, have really been singing in the same key. His part in Moneyball was different, but roles like these, I worry, are going to be seldom.
21 Jump Street however, is Jonah Hill in his absolute element. All that we loved from films like Superbad, Get Him to the Greek and the underrated Cyrus are seen here, but escalated to perfection. Tatum just seems to be along for the ride as every scene is full to the brim with jokes and clever one-liners, usually delivered by Hill.
Channing Tatum plays the old jock who doesn’t seem to mind getting by on his looks. He fits in nicely to the role and reacts well to Hill. It wouldn’t be surprising if the role was written specifically for Tatum because there are plenty of lines that refer to his muscular build and good looks. Not scared of looking pretentious, 21 Jump Street gives you everything you would want from a film that was created and produced by Jonah Hill himself – so you could really call this his project.
The cinematography throughout is incredibly creative and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, present a tapestry of techniques and CGI that gives the film that extra bit of juice, setting it apart from TV remakes in the past.
21 Jump Street has laughs in virtually every scene and with two thrilling car chases thrown in, there is not one minute of its 1 hour 50 minutes running time that will bore you. On the issue of the films “secret cameo weapon”, any fan of the TV series would probably guess who it is, but if you don’t know then don’t expect to find out from me!
Watch the trailer for 21 Jump Street here