Long ago on syndicated television we were introduced to the likes of Johnny Depp, Holly Robinson and Richard Grieco. Yes, Richard Grieco. The setting was an abandoned church in the city, and the show was called 21 Jump Street.
Now some 20 years later a movie has been created based of the popular TV show that ran from 1987-1991 and even spawned a spin off called Booker that followed Richard Grieco’s character. Yes, Richard Grieco. Now, normally we here at DTB cover horror, sci-fi, thrillers, and sometimes action films; not usually comedy. It took me a while to think if this was the right thing to do for our website but the more I thought about it after the screening, I thought: what the hell. So here is your Destroy the Brain review of 21 Jump Street.
First off, there is one word to describe the film starring Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, and Ice Cube and directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller: hilarious. Most critics aren’t pleased with the slapstick humor that guys like Will Farrell have been famous for, but I am. Now I’m not saying that there are fart jokes in the film but there are a couple nut crushers. I found myself with tears in my eyes as we follow the journey of Hill and Tatum as they go from Eminem wannabe (Hill) and classic jock (Tatum) in high school to the police academy. Understanding that if they both want to succeed they need to team up since Tatum is the brawn and Hill is the brains. Shortly after a horrible incident trying to make their first bust, the two are reassigned to a program that has been revamped from the past. The program sets young police officers under-cover to schools in the area to infiltrate gangs and drug circles. The program is run by an angry stereotypical black captain played by Ice Cube. Right from the beginning one of the funniest things about the film is that they are making fun of the series and pretty much every other cop drama from the late 80’s.
The assignment for our two heroes is to go undercover at a local high school and find the dealer and supplier of a new wonder drug on the street. There is a scene were Cube shows the two an online video of a kid doing the drug that eventually causes him to overdose and die. One of the smarter aspects of this film is they really take you to this modern age of having everything online, the whole hipster movement, kids trying to get good grades, texting, and kids worrying about the environment. The initial school scene shows Hill and Tatum arriving in school and noticing that kids wore both straps of their backpacks up on their shoulders and they were actually studying before school to get ahead in life. High school had changed a lot since they were of that age. Hill even mentions that if he went to school during this period he would have been popular instead of a nerd. After an identity mix-up, Tatum is hanging with the lab nerds and Hill ends up with the popular kids. Soon they find out the leader of the popular kids, Eric (Dave Franco), is the dealer but not the supplier. The two get completely engulfed in the new high school way of life while further and further getting away from their mission.
Hill falls for a senior named Molly (Brie Larson) and completely loses focus on his mission as he is finally amongst the cool kids at school. Tatum tries to keep him grounded but fails in doing so because he becomes unpopular to the new kids at school. Once they finally get back to where they need to be, they find out they are in way over their head.
Things eventually pan out for the duo but not before cameos by original 21 Jumpers Depp, Robinson and Deluise. The movie is full of laughs especially when Hill and Tatum have to take the drug during school to prove they aren’t narcs. There is plenty of action in the movie including car chases and explosions, but more than anything it’s a great comedy that is not trying too hard to make you laugh; which I really enjoyed. Even if you have never seen the original series (which most of the kids today have not) I would say its for sure worth checking out.