Film Face-off: '21 Jump Street' vs. '22 Jump Street'

Film Face-off: '21 Jump Street' vs. '22 Jump Street'

Jun 16, 2014

It sounded like a terrible idea. Take an '80s TV show that was responsible for making Johnny Depp a heartthrob, and turn it into an action comedy. While Jonah Hill had proven himself funny in Superbad, Cyrus and the underrated Funny People, he was bringing Channing Tatum along for the ride, and none of us knew what to make of it... until we saw the film.

The movie made $138 million and scored an 85 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. So, Hollywood did a lot of soul searching and shocked everyone by deciding to make a sequel. Thankfully, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (the team responsible for The Lego Movie) also returned, so let's see if the boys can leave high school behind for some undercover college work in this week's Film Face-off with 21 Jump Street vs. 22 Jump Street.

 

 

Jonah Hill/Channing Tatum

21 Jump Street

Jonah Hill is Schmidt. He was a nerd in high school, even trying to dress up like the real Slim Shady. Now, he's a book smart cop who doesn't have many physical skills. Channing Tatum is Jenko. He was the prom king, and now he's a cop with many physical skills, but he isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. They become great friends, and team up to go undercover in high school.

22 Jump Street

Once again, Hill is Schmidt and Tatum reprises his role as Jenko. They begin 22 Jump Street as best friends, and eventually go back undercover, this time at college. Schmidt has trouble fitting in, but Jenko now feels like the BMOC (Big Man on Campus), even joining the football team. Their partnership is tested when Jenko finds a soul mate in Zook (Wyatt Russell).

Winner: 21 Jump Street. This is a close battle because Hill and Tatum are absolutely hilarious in both films. The concept that a nerd could go back to high school and be popular is what helps sneak this victory out for 21 Jump Street. Most people have had the passing thought of what they would have done differently. Getting to see Schmidt thrive is fantastic. Getting to see Jenko struggle and then succeed is a really nice addition. We actually feel sorry for the big, dumb, perfectly chiseled Jenko at times during the first film. They don't go that route in the sequel. Jenko and Rook are like two peas in a pod, finishing each other's sentences, etc. They turn up the sensitivity of Schmidt, which at times wears out its welcome. Then again, as I write that I'm chuckling from Schmidt's walk of shames. Again, this is a close one.

 

The Villains

21 Jump Street

Dave Franco is high school drug dealer Eric Molson. Eventually, we learn that he's working for Mr. Walters (Rob Riggle).

22 Jump Street

The Ghost (Peter Stormare) is a big-time drug dealer. The new drug of choice on campus is Why-Phy. Finding the campus dealer is a problem.

Winner: 22 Jump Street. Franco is good, especially when playing off of Hill. Then again, his work in Neighbors is much better. Riggle has his moments, like when Schmidt and Jenko are on drugs, but he's always on the verge of being too aggressive with his comedy. Shouting doesn't necessarily make you funny. With that said, while I was watching 22 Jump Street, it felt like Riggle and Franco would win "The Villains" category. The Ghost didn't entertain me until the third act, and then he has some funny moments longing for the days of heroin and cocaine. The person who turns out to be the campus dealer kills me in the third act. There is a fight between the campus dealer and Schmidt that tip toes around the comedic limits and not only was I laughing during the fight, I was laughing a minute later while remembering the fight. Did you notice how I didn't spoil who the campus dealer turns out to be? You're welcome.

 

The Others

21 Jump Street

Brie Larson is Molly Tracey, Schmidt's "friend." Ice Cube and Nick Offerman are cops.

22 Jump Street

Amber Stevens is Maya. Jillian Bell is Mercedes. Ice Cube and Offerman are back, and there are also twins!

Winner: 22 Jump Street. The Lucas Brothers are played by Keith and Kenny Yang, and because they were so funny I feel compelled to look them up after writing this article. If this were just a competition between the female leads of Larson and Stevens, 21 would have barely won this category. Jump Street does awkward high school romance a little bit better than awkward college romance, though the inclusion of Maya's roommate Mercedes does lead to some amusing moments.

The problem is Maya is just forgotten during part of the film, and it seems that the relationship suddenly advances more than we thought. Offerman does the exact same thing he did so well in 21 Jump Street. He explains the film's concept in movie terms which is an absolute delight. The guy who pushes things over the edge for 22 is Ice Cube. I know, I'm as surprised as you are. Not only do they make fun of his name, they allow his character to get really, really mad at Schmidt. If only Ice Cube could have Lord and Miller overseeing his acting in all of his films.

 

The Action/Comedy

21 Jump Street

There are a few car chases. Schmidt and Jenko are sad at the lack of explosions during one of those chases. Schmidt lets his gun loose after arresting a guy, and then they both release doves with dramatic effect at prom.

22 Jump Street

There are two main chases in the film at the beginning and the end. The guys are well aware of trying to keep the budget low during the final chase. Jenko does parkour well, and Schmidt is cautiously slow during most of the film.

Winner: 21 Jump Street. This is another close one, plus 22 has a Benny Hill joke in it (pay attention to the name of a school building). Normally that would be enough for the win. With both films the Jump Street team realize we won't be satisfied with just watching a chase scene. We need our funny throughout the film, and they deliver. Watching Hill barely participate in the action only lends itself to helping the final action scene with 22. Watching Jenko spin a college girl around as a weapon against twins is cool, but what happens right after the fight makes it memorable. The reason 21 gets the win here is the guys take turns trying to jump a car, and Schmidt asks the question, "When did I get stabbed?"

 

The Funniest Moment

21 Jump Street

Schmidt and Jenko take drugs, but then they run to a bathroom stall to try and get them out of their system before the drugs take effect.

22 Jump Street

After the mission, Schmidt and Jenko sit down with Captain Dickson to discuss their upcoming mission while the credits roll.

Winner: 22 Jump Street. Who doesn't like guys being awkward around each other? 21 finds a new level of that with the guys sticking their fingers down each other's throats. It's really good. 22 features the best closing credits to a film of all time. The best. Prove me wrong after you see the film by adding a comment below. 

 

OVERALL WINNER: 22 Jumps Street beats 21 Jump Street, 3-2.

The same, only bigger and better. That's the idea with most sequels, but how many actually achieve such lofty goals? Well, whichever ones are on your list, add 22 Jump Street to it. I give 21 an 8/10, 22 gets a 9/10. Besides a great duo of Hill and Tatum, the film loves to tell you its aware of itself. That doesn't always lead to brilliance. Lord and Miller seem to tap right into the heart of things--such as the concept of a sequel--but bring brand new jokes out of it..

 

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