The movie “22 Jump Street” is the highly anticipated sequel to “21 Jump Street.” The second installment sees the return of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as Morton Schmidt and Greg Jenko, two undercover cops. After completing an assignment for which both partners posed as high school students, they are assigned to a mission that involves going undercover as college students. This time, the partners get more than they bargained for and stumble across a dangerous criminal.
After a successful take down of a drug dealer in “21 Jump Street,” Morton Schmidt and Greg Jenko are back on the streets fighting crime. However, since their last mission was a success, it does not take long before they get another undercover assignment. This time, both men are headed to college to pose as students. Schmidt and Jenko are told to track down the drug supplier responsible for spreading a new and deadly drug, WHYPHY, around the college campus.
Jenko quickly makes friends on campus with two jocks who are prime suspects. Not fitting in with that group, Schmidt focuses on an artist named Maya who turns out to be the daughter of Captain Dickinson, the man who put Schmidt and Jenko on their current assignment. When Maya learns Schmidt is a cop, she quits speaking to him, leaving him alone and frustrated that Jenko is all but ignoring him.
Although Schmidt and Jenko are separated, the partners ultimately arrest an unlikely drug supplier on campus and close the case. Jenko makes the surprising decision to stay in college and quit his job. Schmidt returns to work, but he continues to research the spread of the drug WHYPHY. Schmidt eventually learns the drug is still being circulated to students, meaning they did not arrest the drug supplier, just a drug dealer.
After Schmidt learns the identity of the supplier, he teams up with Jenko to take him down. The partners find themselves in Puerto Rico during spring break, where the supplier intends to spread the drug to more college students.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum once again team up to create unforgettable characters. The chemistry between the two actors is just as great the second time around, despite the fact that the characters spend a significant amount of time apart from each other in the film. Since there are some personal struggles that the characters face, Hill and Tatum both have to delve into the dramatic side of acting for their roles more so than in the first film. Hill and Tatum do an equally great job at the more serious aspects of their roles. In addition, the comedic timing of both actors is just as good as what fans have come to expect.
In “21 Jump Street,” both characters struggled through personal challenges. Schmidt has to get over his fear of shooting a suspect, and Jenko is forced to face his fear of reading suspects the Miranda rights. In the sequel, the focus is more on the partnership and how the men both evolve as cops. The fact that Schmidt and Jenko spend so much time apart makes the sequel unique from the first film. In this way, the sequel is not a reproduction of the successful first installment but a continuation of the story of Schmidt and Jenko.
While the main characters do not spend much time with one another, a variety of supporting characters fill in to keep things interesting. While Schmidt spends his time with Maya, Jenko becomes close with Zook and Rooster, brothers in the fraternity he joins. The new friendships cause conflicts and also some entertaining situations. Despite the more dramatic moments when the partnership is tested, there is no shortage of funny moments. The duo go on several short missions that have hilarious results.
Aside from the dramatic and comedic elements, the plot is very well constructed. The initial suspect turns out not to be the person responsible for the distribution of drugs, and the person who gets arrested for dealing drugs on campus is a person neither character suspects. The fact that the drug supplier continues to distribute drugs sets up the opening for the partners re-teaming to find the real criminal. In Puerto Rico, there is a final plot twist where an unsuspecting character double-crosses Schmidt and Jenko. The constant surprises, revelations and plot twists make the film far from predictable.
The ending of the film leaves an opening for another sequel – this time an undercover assignment in medical school – which is no doubt great news for fans of the film franchise. There are also a few moments during the closing credits that show what the characters have been up to since their time as college students.