Movie Review: 21 Jump Street

Movie Review: 21 Jump Street

21 Jump Street


Rated R for sexual content, pervasive language,
drug material, teen drinking and some violence.
Genre: Action, Comedy, Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Schmidt and Jenko are more than ready to leave their adolescent problems behind. Joining the police force and then assigned to the secret Jump Street unit, they use their youthful appearances to go undercover at a high school. As the pair trade in their guns and badges for backpacks, they also risk their lives while investigating a violent and dangerous drug ring.

An Adaptation Not Remake

When I first heard about the release of 21 Jump Street I wondered what those involved with this flick were thinking. Are they really that hard up for ideas that writers have to dip back to the 1980’s to find material? I watched the trailer and thought – “Okay, maybe this movie does have potential.” I of course new from the R rating it would not be family-friendly but it did peak my interest some. Then – while in search of a new movie to screen – I decided to check out 21 Jump Street simply because I did not feel like sitting through 2 and a half hours of John Carter.

I was pleasantly surprised by the laughs and acting quality in this movie.

First off, it is worth noting 21 Jump Street is an adaptation of the popular 1980’s TV show. The names have been changed, the year updated to current time and there are some nice throw-back memories to the original tossed in just for good measure. Actually, one of the things that makes this movie fun is the fact that it not only adapts 21 Jump Street to a new time era, but it also takes some funny shots at the old show and even a shot at “running out of material for movies”!

If you grew up with 21 Jump Street on TV the throw-back jokes make this movie worthwhile.

When it comes to acting, I once again have to give kudos to Channing Tatum. Right on the heels of writing about the improved acting talent of Tatum in The Vow, he does not disappoint in 21 Jump Street. He seems to be breaking out of the dancing body builder type cast who’s nothing more than eye-candy. He seems to be coming into his own as an actor I do hope he continues to improve. I was also impressed with Jonah Hill who’s come a long way since his Superbad days. Hill fell into the type-cast character in his early days as well. It almost seemed like he wanted to be a cardboard cutout of John Belushi. But through the years – and this became evident in last years Moneyball movie – Hill too is coming into his own and has a calmer spirit about him when it comes to his acting style.

The over-the-top-bad-acting-award for 21 Jump Street has to go to Ice T and his portrayal of Captain Dickson. Ice T is a mediocre actor even when he’s at the top of his game. But his performance of Dickson is so over-the-top and bad it proves once again he should go back to his day job as a sub-par rapper. He’s not believable in this role and many times it looks like he’s simply trying to hog the screen rather than work with others involved in the shot.

Ice T did not add anything to this movie.

For fans of the 21 Jump Street TV series, be watching for a few super cameo appearances! Not only does Holly Robinson Peete show up as Officer Judy Hoffs, but also be on the lookout for appearances by both Johnny Depp and his original 21 Jump Street partner Peter DeLuise. The appearances are a nice touch and a great throw-back for the early fans of the series.

From a script standpoint, while it’s over the top with language and sexual innuendo, there are some great “laugh-out-loud” moments too. We of course knew 21 Jump Street would be edgy for the simple fact it carries an R rating. But, for an R-rated movie, it wasn’t R for skin-shots. We are also pleased those involved with this movie didn’t try to smooth over the rough edges simply to obtain a better rating. There is no way 21 Jump Street could be turned into a family-friendly movie. This movie is edgy, but funny and definitely aimed at an older crowd.

Enjoy the show!

Dr. Rus

About the Author

Dr. Rus has 30+ years experience in the field of communication. He takes this experience, and his passion to encourage others to positively effect their environment, when providing insight and movie reviews.