So often nowadays do directors create a hit film, only to kill it a few years later with a sequel which is not only completely rubbish, but also ruins the original. Examples of this may be films such as the Paranormal Activity franchise which is now into its fifth film, (released in October 2014) which are mere copies of one another. Can directors now break the curse of awful sequels or is it fair to say that they are simply not worth watching?
Following the worldwide success of 21 Jump Street, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have once again partnered to produce their most recent film, 22 Jump Street. Undoubtedly the release of a sequel has brought about much controversy and doubt as to whether or not the film is just another money-making scheme, so many fans have remained sceptical. As the original film became such a hit, topping the North American Box Office on its release, it is only natural that there are high expectations for the sequel; yet the movie has already become a commercial success, grossing over twenty-five million dollars and critical acclaim on its opening day.
Although the two films in the franchise have become very popular across the globe, is 22 Jump Street actually as good as it is made out to be, or is it just another sequel which fails to reach the quality of the first?
21 Jump Street, inspired by the 1987 television series by the same name, brought a very unique idea to life with two young cops, Schmidt and Jenko, going undercover to track down a synthetic drug. What made this film so entertaining was the originality of the story and the unpredictability which came from it. The partnership between leading actors Hill and Tatum also sparked a lot of good criticism as their roles were naturally funny, them being the complete opposite of one other, but with a very close chemistry between them. The different scenes also rested in perfect balance between comedy and action which made for a very entertaining and funny experience.
Can this be said for 22 Jump Street?
Perhaps not. 22 Jump Street itself closely follows the plot of the original film with the two main characters now at college, searching for a new drug, ‘WhyPhy’. Although in a different setting and a new environment the story is by no means as strong or entertaining as its predecessor. It feels much like a copy and paste job with a few tweaks here and there to make it seem original; some of the side stories are left frustratingly unfinished or rushed at the end. The film also relied too heavily on humour which came so naturally within the first film, as if the directors have tried too hard to be funny, resorting quite often to crude humour for laughs and even making frequent jokes about how sequels to films are often quite rubbish. Seemingly the directors have made an attempt to create a sequel which is as or even more funny than the original which has ultimately resulted in a much weaker plot; as a result, the film will also lack on its re-watch value. The original film stood out to all audiences for its outstanding plot and natural humour yet as its sequel relies quite heavily on comedy and jokes as opposed to the story, much of the surprise element will be lost the second time around so perhaps may not be as popular on the shelf. There is also, much unlike the original, quite an inbalance between the scenes, starting off as 21 Jump Street did with an investigation, but then veering off towards the end in a haze of action scenes, ending the roles of the other side characters and the main plot, giving it a somewhat unfinished feel.
Does this mean the film isn’t worth watching anymore?
Despite the fact that the film itself may not live up to its predecessor, 22 Jump Street is still a very entertaining film on its own. For any fans of 21 Jump Street, this movie still remains an outstanding comedy full of light hearted fun for both teenage and more mature audiences. The story is, like the original, a very unique idea and, although a mere repeat, still has a fresh feeling to it. The film focuses quite closely on the characters of Schmidt and Jenko which although perhaps takes away from the story, adds to the enjoyment of the film and our view of the characters.
The film also contains many spectacular action scenes, the opening scene especially, which remains one of the best and funniest openings to a film I have seen. The credit sequence is also perhaps the only one in which the entirety of the viewers have remained in their seats until the end! Even though trailing off towards the end, the majority of the film was still entertaining and retained that sense of anticipation and mystery that 21 Jump Street did so well. Although not reaching the level that the original film hit, it is still a very enjoyable experience and serves as a more than adequate sequel.
22 Jump Street is Out Now in Cinemas Everywhere