Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

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Wow….oh dear oh dear. I have left this little blog of mine neglected for quite a long while. I’ve promised myself now, that with a change in my job patterns, I will get back into a writing rhythm again and that will start by returning to this site and reviewing movies as much as possible. So let’s roll right along with the recent release of the Kingsman sequel. You can find my thoughts of the 1st one here.

Just over 2 years ago Matthew Vaughn delivered cinema audiences a fast and fun action spy movie that was more a Bond film than the actual Bond films are. To say I was looking forward to this film would play down my anticipation but I didn’t want to fall into that ‘over-hype’ trap so I just let the film arrive without overplaying trailers or talking about it a lot. Even without the over-hype this film deserves no hype, it’s fizzled out in comparison and trying too hard.

Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is now living with the Swedish princess from, yes that scene at the end of the first film. After the Kingsman brand is hacked and attacked, Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) travel to Kentucky to meet the Statesman; an American organisation of spies. The two groups must work together to try and stop the mysterious rise of the Golden Circle led by deranged company leader Poppy (Julianne Moore).

Even with all of the flaws that come with this one, I cannot deny that there is still a bundle of fun to be had with it and as long as you flick that ol’ brain off then you’ll enjoy most of it. The super fast sequences, pacy backing music and silly yet brilliantly gimmicky gadgets all combine to create a crazy time.

I must say that the biggest and most serious crime of this film is not the annoying and frenzied camera work nor the muddling mess of new and old characters but the run-time, coming in at 141 minutes this film with all its whizz and spectacle actually begins to tire and by the end I must admit I was growing bored. Back to the first comment of frenziness, what made Secret Service so delightfully entertaining to watch was the energetic way they presented fight scenes, such as that awesome massacre in the church but here most battles are with more than 2 people or cut against other fights so you end up losing the focused choreography and instead begin getting a headache.

The story isn’t much of a change either, instead of Valentine trying to wipe out a huge percentage of the world with technology we get Poppy trying to wipe out a huge percentage of the world with addiction and the idea of legalisation. It starts off as an interesting premise and Poppy’s whole jungle like 50’s ghost town is a cool location but the plot becomes less creative and more stupid.

Egerton is back on form as the almost cocky yet charming and confident street lad turned suave. Strong gets more time on screen but mostly to sing Country Roads which becomes a quite sad note to be honest. Moore is a wonderful watch as the pretend sweet American housewife type with an insane and evil streak. Channing Tatum rocks up and does little more than his Tatum best then there’s Pedro Pascal who almost runs away with the whole film as the whip-cracking lasso wielding Whiskey. Colin Firth gets a mildly interesting arc to play upon his return which I won’t spoil of course.

This is a disappointing film to tell the truth without the creative flair and brutal nature of the first, it feels more like a kiddified rush with no brains and just lots of spare energy to burn up. It does have some funny moments and a few rewarding set pieces but with this golden circle scratch away the layer and you’re left with a cheap knock-off.

Oh….Elton John steals the show!

5/10

 

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Hail, Caesar! (2016)

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I do enjoy the Coen Brothers work, but I can’t say I’m gushing over this latest picture. It’s fun in places and soars because of a fabulous cast but I felt it was perhaps scattered too much and bereft of a gripping plot.

We find ourselves in the 1950’s and mostly follow Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), a Hollywood honcho who helps stars and productions keep good press. That could become tricky though as feature star Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) gets kidnapped in the midst of filming a religious epic called ‘Hail, Caesar!’. A group calling themselves The Future want money for his release and so Mannix must try to get Whitlock back.

Joel and Ethan Coen direct and write this lark and do so with a clear fondness for the way movies come together. The laughs can be found as actors or directors guffaw over choices, most explicitly in the repetitive yet genius scene between Ralph Fiennes’ directing worry with Alden Ehrenreich’s cowboy icon of Hobie Doyle. The Coen’s flit between different sound stages letting us peek at differing productions which are amusing and interesting but this back and forth never gives the movie a sense of story or tension when there could have been. Without much of a plot this movie does look and sound more like a series of images to be loved by critics or classic film fanatics.

Roger Deakins, who really needs an Oscar by now, is on top form capturing wonder in this filmy feature. The glorious epic feel of the Romans sweeping through the screen or the synchronised swimmers gloriously twirling and floating around bombshell actress DeeAnna Moran played by bombshell actress Scarlett Johansson. It looks all the way through like a glorious picture of old, a love letter to the way movies used to be made.

The film did make me chuckle and grin but I never belted a laugh, and nor did many in the audience either, I feel this movie is more subdued and lacking of an engaging narrative than it should be. The angles it bounces off in become so many that characters are lost to minimal moments making them almost unnecessary. We see ideas skewed in from journalist stories, Capitalist thoughts, kidnap, pregnancy fixing, Communism and movie making that it doesn’t ever mesh, each point just hangs there never defined.

The characters are amusing though, their flourishes and their names being so wonderfully goofy and studio send ups. Thora/Thessaly Thacker, Burt Gurney and the winner – Laurence Laurentz. The dance number is toe-tappingly silly, Channing Tatum’s blonde flick and look backs are hilariously over the top and most character looks fall delightfully under the gormless idiot look that the Coen’s so brilliantly encapsulate in their writing. Only a shame that the characters aren’t backed up by a fun or rewarding plot.

Josh Brolin practically does everything as we see him do all the work, finding himself here there and everywhere trying to solve problems and ultimately bring back Baird. He is a straight man, not really demonstrating much comedy as George Clooney does that, going back to his ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ routine to play buffoonish and moronic. It’s not as good as that film or his performance in ‘Burn After Reading’ either but he is still having a ball. Alden Ehrenreich will be one to watch, he plays the singing Western star with such grounded believability that when he steps out of his comfort zone you feel for him, he ends up being the hero of the piece in my mind. Ralph Fiennes once again proves his unquestionable prowess for comic timing, in his two main scenes his face speaks volumes and his delivery adds even more. Scarlett Johansson pulls the cheesy starlet grin with no depth as the mermaid and then counters with a thick accent and a penchant for problems. Tilda Swinton fans get two for the price of one as she portrays twin journalists with a sense of striking fashion and similarly striking headlines. Frances McDormand is a smoking, scarf wearing editor that is merely a cameo but brings in one of the better moments as we see how well the Coen Bros can do dark material. Channing Tatum tap dances his way through as a sailor and more. Hail, Dumbledore! We even get Michael Gambon as a narrator just to make this whole thing more starry and more filmy filmy.

Flecks of brilliance and movie making behind the scenes comedy but a portion empty and flat for my liking. This Coen outing is boosted by a grand cast and a glowing adoration to movies of the golden era.

6.5/10

Jupiter Ascending (2015)

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From the minds of the Wachowskis comes another magnificent and appetising visual spectacle, but aside from the look the film offers, their story leaves something more satisfying to be desired. Though going into this film on seeing the trailer at least, I knew what to expect and if you want a dazzling entertaining movie with little to no plot sense then see this.

On Earth lives cleaner Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), who is in fact royalty to planets born long before our own planet. Squabbling Abrasax siblings led by Balem (Eddie Redmayne) want Jupiter, to stop her potential of ruling the world and so he can harvest humans to keep youthful. Lycan and splice warrior Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) turns up and uses his kick-ass ways to try and help Jones realise who she is and stop Balem too.

The story itself scripted by the Wachowskis isn’t exactly outstanding or coherent. There’s too much going on, back-stories, lots of characters and pepperings of motives and interests. If they had whittled the overblown plot to the bare essentials of Jupiter coming to realise her worth and helping overthrow the villains with Caine, then the film could have honed in on that more interesting and necessary story. It’s to be expected, I guess from Lana and Andy Wachowski, who have an admirable knack for creating vast worlds and ideas, evident in ‘The Matrix’ trilogy and their telling of ‘Cloud Atlas’ but sometimes less is more and sadly they don’t stick to that here.

Odd features of the plot work in favour of the stunning visuals but once looking past their glamorous appearance you wonder why they’re even there. A house covered in bees is one prime example that feels like a stretched tool to see the royal aura Jupiter possesses. The plot pure and simply is a tale of identity and realising potential in the face of greed and an evil thirst for consumption, but getting to that theme is a battle amongst all the stuff thrown at us.

Visual supervisor Dan Glass heads a hugely creditable team of CGI cronies that help craft a breathtaking series of worlds and locations. Shooting from flowery sceneries to high flying space fights twinkling with stars and filled with glossy ships gives the movie a great shine and in fact it holds the same impressive sci-fi scope of ‘Interstellar’ just without that intellect and reserve. Monstrous lizards, alien races and warping space crafts all add suitable science fiction treats to the eye and it’s an enjoyable romp to watch the effects unfold.

There are some funny moments to be had in the nonchalant way Jupiter comments on seeing things, the clunky dialogue (unintentional I know, but it adds to the fun) and in particular a scene featuring a nervous bureaucratic robot attempting to file Jupiter as queen and land her the deserved entitlement. The quickly edited sequence is stuffed with weird creatures and rules to follow and offices to wait at. The whole thing was actually masterfully carried out and feels like the comedic touch of ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’.

Channing Tatum is a silly and over the top werewolf human hybrid that skates through the sky like an Olympian Star Trek extra. There’s no stretch to any acting ability to play his role and in fact none of the actors need much push to play the characters but at least Tatum sells the goofily drawn protective Caine. Mila Kunis comes back after a personal break and lands herself in a fun role, emotion not really needed as she retorts and makes witty remarks about things. Her impressive deep eyes and likability help you want Jupiter to succeed but the space filled operatic vibe this story goes for doesn’t give her much scope to play with. Eddie Redmayne goes from universe professor to universe grabber as he turns acting onto the panto setting and softly hums his way through the vamperic role. Douglas Booth has more of the film to eat up in his soft faced nice boy act with a dangerous edge of sinister distrust. Sean Bean is Sean Bean though I won’t say if Bean gets his usual screen death.

Switch your brains to standby and marvel at the bold and huge scaled world created but don’t expect anything more than an entertaining messy sci-fi.

6/10

Foxcatcher (2015)

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Now then, aside from the tonally grey look and non stop chilling aspects, I found this film rather disappointing. It’s not a victim of over hype, though I was really looking forward to its release, it just chugs away pretty slowly to an unsatisfying end. The acting is quality, the mood set up is bang on but something didn’t strike with me and I didn’t overly like it.

This, another bio-pic in the run up to tonight’s Golden Globes and the soon to be announced Oscars, sees Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), an Olympic wrestler moving in to Foxcatcher Farm under the growing coach and father mentoring of wealthy philanthropist John du Pont (Steve Carell). There they both work hard to try and gain glory for their country but it’s not enough for du Pont who wants Marks more acclaimed brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo) leaving tensions to grow on du Pont’s estate.

Perhaps in my lack of seeing previous Bennett Miller films, I don’t get the style of the slow paced movie. Though of course I’ve heard masterful things about ‘Capote’ and ‘Moneyball’ and both centre on real life figures and draw out fantastic performances from his stars. It could also be that I’m growing tired of biographical films in the lead up to awards time, though I don’t think that’s correct because if they’re done well then I really invest in them. There’s just a slight niggle throughout watching this movie that it’s boring and I didn’t want to use that word but alas I just did.

The crime of the story is shocking and the petulant childlike behaviour of this money throwing Golden Eagle (du Pont) is chilling to the bone, but knowing where this film is heading to, at least in some direction if you’ve seen the trailer or know of the event leads it to ticking away very slowly for a long time. It sounds bad, but you’re just waiting for it to happen already. The film is over two hours and in my opinion it felt that way and some.

The music tinkles away with dread and the piano score racks up that unpleasant vibe, making the screen you’re sat in feel colder and nightmarish, but the music and the subject matter are just obvious ways to illicit feelings of the directors wish. It’s nothing groundbreaking or unique in bio-pic terms, just done quite generically knowing that simple chills and thrills can do enough for award voters.

I did really like the commitment of the actors, Ruffalo and Tatum training and bulking up to bring presence to the Schultz brothers and then Carell who drops his comedy stereotype like he never had it. The body control he has to make John feel still and predator like is fantastic and his voice is twisted to stuttering levels making you hardly recognise Brick Tamland under that prosthetic nose. Steve Carell deserves his nods, it’s an attention worthy role and he brings about the best qualities of the film as you begin getting lost in this uncomfortable yet somehow inviting gentleman. I don’t think he’ll win but the recognition enough is brilliant and hopefully he’ll tread down the serious route more often. Channing Tatum is of course convincing as wrestler Mark but that’s no stretch for him and most of the time it’s a case of pulling dumb faces to make Mark seem stupid or hulky and nothing else. Mark Ruffalo who I like a lot doesn’t have a defining moment that made me understand his supporting actor nod, Ruffalo is always good as he is in this film but nothing leapt out making me go, “oh, that’s the Golden Globe nod right there.” Sienna Miller is sidelined massively making emotional connection all but lost, they could have utilised more family time bringing more heart to the sport heavy film.

In some similar aspects to ‘Unbroken’ this film feels as if it’s trying a little too much to gain gravitas in the world of nominated movies, it’s got a career defining shine for Steve Carell and the constant chill factor is undeniably well constructed but apart from that, it didn’t grab me in the way it’s loved by others.

5.5/10

The Book of Life (2014)

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An extravaganza of loud colours and fun festivities, this film certainly lives well in showing a story of the dead. Three worlds, three lead characters and a host of many other treats work together with humour, folklore and music to produce a glorious moving canvas for the audience.

Upon arriving at a museum, a group of school kids under detention meet and hear a story from the tour guide Mary Beth (Christina Applegate). The story is found in the Book of Life and the tale she recounts concerns a Mexican town called San Angel and the importance of three people on this dwelling. A feisty and adored Maria (Zoe Saldana) comes back after time away in Europe and lands back in the midst of her squabbling friends and admirers, Manolo (Diego Luna) and Joaquin (Channing Tatum). This causes larger attention from outside presences. Two gods who reside over The Land of the Remembered – La Muerte, and of the Forgotten – Xibalba make a wager on the guy they believe will marry Maria, if Xibalba wins he’ll finally rule the Land of the Remembered, if not then he’ll cease interfering with the mortals.

It’s a fascinating backdrop that has a lot going on but not at the same time. There’s plenty included by screenwriters, Doug Langdale and Jorge Gutierrez to keep adults engaged and keep children wide eyed. The whole film being about the Mexican Day of the Dead festival is an interesting plot and thankfully or hopefully it will shed light on cultural aspects of another country for younger people watching. The ghosts being remembered by tombstones and the realms of different states of being are very poetic and perfect for an animation film such as this.

Speaking of the animation, I have to say it’s gorgeous. I love the different approach to the style of characters, settings and more. Reel FX Creative Studios and the team behind the animated world have created a triumph of something new and exciting. The cardboard faces or wooden puppet hands attached with bars of metal all make it feel like a pop up book coming to splendid life. This truly makes the narrative feel as if we’re being gifted the story along with the kids in the museum.

The more emotional sides of the story are there as well, maybe not done as well as the lighter side of things or as greatly as the sparkling animation but the passing of characters and the quest of Manolo to become the person he wants to be and not what he’s expected to be, are neat fine character touches that do enough to tick the plot over. It’s a rival story that comes good of course but the journey to get to the town being saved is a giddy ride to entertain you past the pretty simple and less than inspiring plot points.

The music is a treat for the ears with pop songs being blended in with more Mexican flavoured tunes. It’s wonderfully done and performed when you hear things like Mumford and Sons or Elvis Presley benefiting the story and being sung with a unique voice. There’s so much heart in the other songs too, for example, ‘I Love You Too Much’ is so beautiful and Manolo’s music loving bullfighter character brings that needed taste of magical sound.

There’s actually a solid amount of comedy involved in this plot too, it works better than the pretty concrete slab of dramatic plot they have cut out. The singing nuns, the many Sanchez’s, the Mariachi band, the medal for medals joke. There’s a lot of humour that both kids and grown ups can and will enjoy. It’s a very snappily moving film that kind of resembles the pacy zip of ‘Cloud with a Chance of Meatballs’ and that’s no bad comparison. The three worlds all have their moments of magic, fun and intrigue and that’s what makes this entire film shoot along very nicely.

Ron Perlman is gruff and mischievous enough to be dark but not overly scary as Xibalba, it’s certainly played in a way story and character wise that reminded me of Hades from Disney ‘Hercules’. Luna is very good as the leading man, he has a great soft approach to the less than traditional heroic strong man and his songs are great. Tatum is of course right for the ballsy large action guy role and his confidence is evident in the swagger of his voice but it’s a role that could have gone to a Mexican unknown, making it seem less Hollywood striving for big name acting talent attention. Saldana seems to possess a no nonsense yet soothing velvety quality in her performance and Maria is a cool character to like.

Very bright and luxurious in design of character and sumptuous rainbow filled splendour of the Day of the Dead, but it does lack quite a bit in riveting storytelling to match the magical nature of the animation. It does more than enough to entice people in with folklore and make young people start early in understanding morality and memory.

7/10

22 Jump Street from Thy Critic Man

The superhero from Thy Critic Man handed me his latest film review to feature as part of my guest write-up page and he has the honour of being the first to hopefully be of many bloggers to send me their reviews/musings/essays/actor bios/rants etc.

The film being 22 Jump Street which I have had the pleasure of seeing twice and believe to be better than the 2012 first offering. His review features here and on my guest page. I too agree with his comments and more Ice Cube is a great thing.

Find more of his excellent writing at his blog – thy critic man

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“Skipping classes!  Kicking Asses!  (No, I did not steal my tagline from the poster).”

FEATURING: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Peter Stormare, Ice Cube, Amber Dawn Stevens, Wyatt Russell, Jillian Bell, Nick Offerman, Rob Riggle, Marc Evan Jackson & The Lucas Brothers

DIRECTING VISION: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller

SCREENWRITER: Michael Bacall, Rodney Rothman & Oren Uziel

The success or failure of a romantic flick is dependent on how strong and believable the chemistry between the two leads are. Chemistry is the key word here!  Any director or studio with the right amount of money can handpick recent Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey and Cate Blanchett and toss them in a romantic movie together! The expectations are sure to be sky-high! This idea sounds stellar on paper right? The truth is that the winning formula may not be found in sheer acting ability. These two souls must give the impression that they were meant for one another and that is the only surefire way to guarantee success!  It goes without saying that solid acting and a commendable screenplay is also required!  Why in the world am I rambling on about romance flicks in a review of 22 Jump Street?

This is because buddy cop or bromance flicks follow identical requirements! Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon? Chemistry! Paul Rudd and Jason Segel in I Love You, Man? Chemistry! Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber? Chemistry!  Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in 21 Jump Street?  Chemistry!  Channing Tatum would never have been a name that could excite me before I witnessed what he was capable of with Jonah Hill at his side! When you think of the funniest actors in Hollywood…he fails to make that list. Hell, if you name fifty of the top current males in Hollywood based on talent alone….chances are that he would fall short. Tatum’s performance in 21 Jump Street expressed both signs of general improvement and precise comic timing through his delivery of dialogue!  The humorous yet very emotional friendship between undercover police officer protagonists Morton Schmidt (Hill) and Greg Jenko (Tatum) is perhaps the most compelling aspect of 22 Jump Street! If someone told me that they were friends from birth…I would not be the slightest bit surprised.  They are a pairing who bounce off one another perfectly and share a wild enthusiastic presence onscreen!

What is the mission this time? A new drug is on the loose and it is up to the trusty tag team who saved the day on 21 Jump Street to go undercover in COLLEGE!  Undercover work whilst having a ton of fun with drugs, girls and sports!  You know the drill by now folks!  Remember how The Hangover II unsuccessfully reused the same formula from the original? Okay, I will take that back considering how much richer it made everyone involved. The Hangover II was extremely successful in the box office. However, critics were far less than impressed and a fair bit of folks who enjoyed the first (myself included) left the theater disappointed! Phil Lord & Christopher Miller do the exact same thing with this sequel and the plot structure seems relatively familiar! Really?  Did the talented men responsible for directing quality films such as The Lego MovieCloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and 21 Jump Street decide, “Hey, f$%# it.  We can be lazy now!”? Fortunately, 22 Jump Street incorporates self-awareness and a distinct sense of cleverness into the familiar territory setting itself apart from the rest of the pack.  This movie ruthlessly bullies the concept of sequels and viciously attacks the fact that it even exists.  It is a walking, talking spoof with characters making direct albeit intelligently written references to what they are ribbing! Example:  Deputy Chief Hardy (Offerman) explaining, “Just do the same thing over again”, to his fellow officers!

These filmmakers are fully aware of what worked with the original and simply provide more of it for our entertainment value.  We liked Captain Dickson?  Okay, lets give them more Ice Cube! Folks did not get enough of Mr. Walters?  That is okay!  Rob Riggle will make a few dick-less cameos!  I must say that Ice Cube is as awesome as….having ice cubes in a drink on an excruciating hot day!  I know!  That one was terrible!  But the point stands….Ice Cube is flat-out hilarious in 22 Jump Street. From his exaggerated anger to his golden facial expressions, Ice Cube has proven that he can be an asset to any comedy film! Channing Tatum embraces his dumb jock role masterfully and is never afraid to poke fun at himself for the sake of a joke! Jonah Hill is Jonah Hill!  Jillian Bell earns herself recognition with her incredibly blunt delivery and the adorable Amber Dawn Stevens radiates charisma as Jonah Hill’s love interest! The Lucas Brothers are guaranteed to be acquiring film roles more frequently after their memorable appearance here!

22 Jump Street is a smart movie wrapped up and delivered in a very big and purposefully “dumb” package. The plot and happenings in this movie are heavily cartoony instead of plausible and the shameless silliness may be considered overboard for some folks.  With that said, the satire always remains witty. Additionally, noticeable changes can be found in the script despite events playing out in near identical fashion to the original.  You may think something is going one way only for the screenplay to cleverly switch it up when you least expect it!  This film hardly feels repetitive and comes fully capable of providing consistent laughter to those who appreciate the humour!  It is also worth noting that this film has the absolute best closing credits scene in film-making history! I refuse to argue this point!

Superpower Film Scale: 4.5/5

1: Villainous Waste

2: Careless Bystander

3: Hero unaware of powers

4: On the verge of greatness

5: Heroic film

Standout acting heroes: Channing Tatum (Shocker eh?) & Ice Cube

22 Jump Street (2014)

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Explosive, funny, strangely sweet and self mocking. ’22 Jump Street’ jumps right in with both feet to create a sequel that is in fact bigger and better than the original. A great achievement and one that ironically goes against its own inner script of sequels being worse off.

This recent trip into Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) bro cop routine sees them heading back undercover, though this time the no nonsense Captain – Dickson (Ice Cube) is at the address of 22 Jump St. and sends them to college to sniff out some new expanding drug circuit. There is more of the same in infiltrating the dealers and finding the suppliers as the main plot though it does step up in scale.

The plot itself is extremely similar to that of the 2012 film and can at sometimes feel slightly repetitive but that’s part of the humour they set up in the meeting with Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) and in general the style of this movie in them clearly laughing at themselves works nicely. The conversation doesn’t explicitly mock sequels but it is clear as they discuss the needless probable failures of secondary missions they’re alluding to follow up movies. The mickey taking of how sequels are bigger budget is dealt with by having Dickson’s office ramped up in Iron Man expense and explosions coming at every angle in chases. The comment as the bad guys smash through things for no reason is just brilliant and hits the mark of  sending up movies that make stuff go boom or crash for little purpose other than to look big.

There is by and large a successful degree of comedy in this movie with funny references to sequels, Ice Cube’s name and career and the strange fight Schmidt has near the end. There’s a scene involving focus and cameras that is ludicrous and goes on it’s way to nearly striking comedy gold, then there’s the discovery and consequence of Schmidt’s sexual conquest makes for some awesomely funny times. Most of the humour does boil down to the doofish goofball nature of the two leading male’s buddy pairing. It’s an excellently played bromance that feels real and the play on relationship becomes apt for the college setting and makes for an odd yet sweet lovely duo. The walk of shame moments and the conversations that sound like break ups and make ups are smart and played expertly by the actors and you can just tell Hill and Tatum are having a ball taking this film to the next level.

The switch up in the relationship to see how each react to the inevitable split is cued perfectly and each play their new individual roles in the college scene well. The constant and amusing barrage of age jokes made against Hill is frankly hilarious and one liners do come thick and fast with Lord and Millers creative speedy directing style. They know how to make a film with legs and their direction creates an energetic comic trip that sometimes blows the first offering straight outta Compton….out of the water, sorry.

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill just work. They click and become the hottest comedy double act with such ease and make this film their own, you can kind of tell when there’s improving going on but that doesn’t detract from the movie in any way. Tatum brings out the guns and plays dumb just as efficiently as last time out though this time he gets to be the much loved guy and Hill does the more clingy loner act which he can play supremely well. Ice Cube needs gigantic credit for his role as he’s frankly amazing and sometimes steals the show from under Tatum and Hill’s noses. The looks and aggressive manner he carries with swagger are top notch and I’m glad he got more to do in this film.

There are some weakness though as there doesn’t seem to be as much of that same frantic style that cuts to something random and the line from the trailer about jumping in your ass, right in the crack wasn’t funny in the promo let alone still left in the film. Also the visit to the jail to see ’21 Jump Street’ characters wasn’t at all funny and only served as a purpose to provide a visual clue for Jenko and Schmidt that they’d missed. It could also be critiqued as trying too hard to realise it’s taking the mick out of sequels and itself but that’s slightly pushing for a further gripe.

Overall the film does hit higher heights than the first and punches through the ceiling again and again, trying and most of the time succeeding in not being dragged down by its own ‘bad sequel’ admission. It plays on self awareness and utilises the buffoonish traits of Tatum and Hill to make something funny and better.

7.5/10

(Oh and stick around through the credits too, brilliant send ups of this 21 Jump Street initiative can be witnessed)