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21 Jump Street (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 26, 2012 by  



“21 Jump Street” was a gut-busting, piss in your pants type of action comedy film.  I was dreading the film as a die-hard fan of the original TV series but by the end of the film, I enjoyed it so much that I can’t wait for the sequel!   For those who want to laugh and are in the mood for a crazy, hilarious film…”21 Jump Street” is definitely recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2012 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: 21 Jump Street

FILM RELEASE: 2012

DURATION: 109 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French, Spanish, Thai, English – Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin Simplified), Chinese (Mandarin Traditional), Indonesian/Bahasa, Korean, Thai

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R (Crude and Sexual Content, Pervasive Language, Drug Material, Teen Drinking and Some violence)

Release Date: June 26, 2012

Directed by Phil Lord, Chris Miller

Screenplay by Michael Bacall

Story by Michael Bacall and Jonah Hill

Based on the TV series by Patrick Hasburgh, Stephen J. Cannell

Produced by Stephen . Cannell, Neal H. Moritz

Executive Producer: Jonah Hill, Ezra Swerdlow, Channing Tatum

Music by Mark Mothersbaugh

Cinematography by Barry Peterson

Edited by Joel Negron

Casting by Nicole Abellera, Jeanne McCarthy

Production Design by Peter Wenham

Art Direction by Scott Plauche

Set Decoration by Bob Kensinger

Costume Design by Laah Katznelson

Starring:

Jonah Hill as Schmidt

Channing Tatum as Jenko

Brie Larson as Molly Tracey

Dave Franco as Eric Molson

Rob Riggle as Mr. Walters

DeRay Davis as Domingo

Ice Cube as Captain Dickson

Dax Flame as Zack

Chris Parnell as Mr. Gordon

Ellie Kemper as Ms. Griggs

Jake M. Johnson as Principal Dadier

Nick Offerman as Deputy Chief Hardy

Holly Robinson Pete as Officer Judy Hoffs

Johnny Pemberton as Delroy

Stanley Wong as Roman

Justin Hires as Juario

Brett Lapeyrouse as Amir

Lindsey Broad as Lisa

Former high school foes turned rookie cop partners can’t catch a break – until they’re assigned to pose as students and bust a drug ring inside their old alma mater. Living like teenagers again, they slip back into their adolescent selves and risk the case – and their friendship – with hysterically disastrous results! Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum and Ice Cube star in this outrageously hilarious action-comedy!

For many people who grew up in the ’80s, “21 Jump Street” was the ultimate ensemble cop show.

Aimed at a younger generation, the crime drama series was part of the beginning of the FOX network, which fascinated many people for its youthful or politically incorrect television series and in the case of “21 Jump Street”, many were fascinated by its stars.

Created by Patrick Hasburgh and Stephen J. Cannel, “21 Jump Street” would star young talents Johnny Depp, Holly Robinson, Peter DeLuise, Dustin Nguyen, Frederic Forrest, Steven Williams, Richard Grieco and many more. The concept of the series would be about police officers with youthful appearances and thus, would allow them to be undercover cops in high schools and colleges to investigate drug trafficking and abuse.

The series would air in 1987 through 1991 with a total of  103 episodes.  Fast forward to 2008, Columbia Pictures would have the rights to the film adaptation of the series and actors Jonah Hill (“Superbad”, “Moneyball”, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) and Michael Bacall (“Inglourious Basterds”, “Grindhouse”, “Pumpkin”) would be responsible for writing the story.  And in Hill’s words, his goal was to create an “R-rated, insane, “Bad Boys” meets John Hughes type movie”.

Tapped to direct the film were writing duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller (“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”, “Clone High” and co-executive producers of the TV sitcom “How I Met Your Mother”).

The film would be a departure from the original TV series which was created as a drama series with a moral message.  The film adaptation would be more of an action comedy film and instead of featuring a group, it would focus on two police officers played by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum (“The Vow”, “Dear John”, “Step Up”).

And the film which was budgeted at $42 million would become a success for Columbia Pictures/MGM/Original Film as it would earn over $192 million in the box office and also receive positive reviews from film critics.

And now, “21 Jump Street” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in June 2012.

“21 Jump Street” begins in 2005 as it introduces the viewers to Morton Schmidt (as portrayed by Jonah Hill), a shy, smart, Eminem wannabee who wants to ask his female friend out to the prom.  Meanwhile, Greg Jenko (as portrayed by Channing Tatum) is the not-so-smart high school jock who likes to pick on Morton.  And teases him when Morton is shot down by the girl who feels disgusted that Morton asked her out to the prom.

Meanwhile, as Greg is preparing for a wonderful prom and a night of fun, he is given bad news that due to his bad grades, he would not be attending prom.

Fast forward to 2012 and Morton and Greg are in police academy.  And the two become friends as Morton would assist Greg in studying to pass the written tests, while Greg would help Morton with motivating Morton with physical activity exercises.  And with their friendship, both pass the police academy.

And as police officers, both thought their lives would be like the police officers seen on television or movies but instead, both are riding bikes as part of the park patrol.  But one day, the two spot drug deal in progress and both feel if they can bust the drug dealers, they can be promoted and have better police beat.  And eventually, both manage to catch a drug leader Domingo (as portrayed by DeRay Davis, “Semi Pro”, “Life as we Know It”) but with one problem.

The two forgot to read the drug leader his Miranda rights and thus, Domingo is able to walk free from jail.

Upset that both men do not know the Miranda rights, their Captain reassigns them to a revived division known as “21 Jump Street”.

Shocked that their headquarters is at an old Korean church, they and other officers are introduced to Captain Dickson (as portrayed by Ice Cube, “Boyz in the Hood”, “Friday”).  Captain Dickson explains to the officers that their division specializes in infiltrating high schools and they were chosen for their youthful appearances.  As for Morton Schmidt and Greg Jenko, they are assigned to go back to their old high school and find the supplier and distributor of a new synthetic drug that is spreading to campuses (and some students are dying from).

Captain Schmidt gives them orders to also not get expelled and no sexual activity with students, teachers or anyone from the school.  And gives them their identities and classes.

As the two go back to high school and Jenko tries to help Schmidt on how to be cool at high school, both are shocked by how much high school has changed since they last attended.  Being a nerd is cool, gays are more accepted and the groups that existed in high school have all but changed.  A shocking discovery for Jenko but makes Schmidt quite happy, as he feels that he would have been popular.

But on the first day of school, both guys meet Eric (as portrayed by Dave Franco, “Super Bad”, “Fright Night”, “Charlie St. Cloud”) and his group of friends who ask them about their car and the environment.  Meanwhile, Schmidt becomes attracted to Eric’s friend Molly Tracey (as portrayed by Brie Larson, “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”, “United States of Tara”, “13 Going on 30”).  And when both guys are being admonished by the group about the environment, Jenko’s frustration and anger leads to him punching out Eric’s friend who happens to be gay.

The punch leads both Schmidt and Jenko at the principal’s office and both are warned that if they get into any trouble, they will be expelled.  To make things worse, both guys forget their identities and end up getting their identities switched, so Schmidt ends up being a star athlete who cares about drama and Jenko becomes the student who loves chemistry.  While Jenko tries to get used to his new surroundings, Schmidt gets used to meeting new friends that he starts to like and also being coached by Mr. Walters (as portrayed by Rob Riggle, “The Hangover”, “The Other Guys”).

But as the two try to get used to their undercover high school life, both find out that the person who is in charge of distributing the drugs is the popular environmentalist Eric and now both must do all they can to find the supplier.  But it’s not going to be easy as Schmidt begins to like his new student life so much because he is hanging out with the cool group and becoming good friend with Eric and growing closer with Molly.  As for Jenko, he starts to see the other side of things as he now hangs out with the nerds and sees how his friend Schmidt is changing because he is part of the “popular” crowd.

As the two friends and officers begin to have their differences, will the two be able to solve the case of finding the supplier?

VIDEO:

“21 Jump Street” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1).  For video quality, it appears that there was an intentional decision by cinematographer Barry Peterson (“Jumper”, “Zoolander”, “Starsky & Hutch”) to shoot the film with more subdued colors.  So, the creative decision to go that direction leads to a warmer, subdued, dare I say a little softer look at times.  But there are also scenes that look brighter and darker and if anything, it works for the film.  Black levels are nice and deep, details are good but the film is not vibrant as one may hope for it to be.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“21 Jump Street” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and French, Spanish, Thai, English-Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital.  As one would expect from a film with plenty of action, the lossless soundtrack for “21 Jump Street” is fantastic.  From gun shots, explosions, crunching metal to you name it…there is wonderful use of the surround channels and LFE.  Dialogue is crisp and clear and even the music sounds fantastic!  Overall, listeners will enjoy the immersive soundscape of those action sequences during their viewing of the film.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Chinese Mandarin (Traditional and Simplified), Indonesian/Bahasa, Korean and Thai.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“21 Jump Street” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio CommentaryFeaturing audio commentary with directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.
  • Deleted Scenes – (29:32) Featuring 20 deleted scenes.
  • Gag Reel – (4:58) Featuring outtakes from “21 Jump Street”.
  • Cube-O-Rama – (1:53) Featuring Ice Cube scenes and improv not featured in the final cut of the film.
  • Back to School – (7:45) Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Neil Moritz (producer) talk abut going back to high school, its storyline and how the film came to be.
  • Brothers in Arms – (11:30) Producer Neil Moritz, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum talk about their action sequences and casting two opposites.
  • Johnny Depp on Set – (4:42) Directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord along with the cast talk about Johnny Depp’s cameo in the film and their thoughts when they saw him appear on the set.
  • The Rob Riggle Show – (9:24) A featurette on Rob Riggle and how he was cast for the film.
  • Peter Pan on Freeway – (4:12) A featurette of the shooting of the freeway scene.

EXTRAS:

“21 Jump Street” comes with an UltraViolet code to allow for streaming to computers, tablets or smartphones.

Prior to “21 Jump Street” being released to theaters, I was dreading the film.

Why?  Because I was one of those teenagers in the ’80s who loved “21 Jump Street” on television.  I wanted to dress like Officer Tom Hanson (Johnny Depp) and Officer Harry Truman Ioki (Dustin Nguyen) and the show was a big part of my teenage life.  When Depp sported the ’70s vintage watch strap with no watch, I did the same.  When, Nguyen sported a certain hairstyle, I did the same. I would listen to the “21 Jump Street” soundtrack over and over and would have VHS tape of TV recordings of the series.

So, suffice to say, when you hear Jonah Hill will be writing “21 Jump Street”, I kept asking “Why?”.

And now, having watched “21 Jump Street”, I have to say that I really enjoyed this hilarious film.  Yes, it deviates from the TV series that it is more comedy-driven, a lot of crude and sexual content and humor, but it works.  And instead of the ensemble cast, it becomes more of the police buddy movie that has been done before, but with even more crazy comedy and humor that overshadows similar police buddy comedy films such as “Rush Hour”, “Starsky & Hutch” or “The Other Guys”.

And of course, it’s written by Jonah Hill and Michael Bacall, two men who know crude comedy that works for today’s generation.  For example, in one scene, both men were forced to take the synthetic drug and in order to make themselves to vomit it out, both subject themselves to fingering each other’s mouths. Or another scene where the drug reaches its height with the character of Schmidt, and during a track meet run, uses the baton and pretends it’s his own penis.  There are so many crazy, gut-busting scenes that made me laugh out loud and the comedy works.  Especially one hilarious, gross out scene at the end of the film involving actor Rob Riggle, which you don’t see coming.

And “21 Jump Street” is a film that allows Ice Cube to get back to the character with so many F-bombs, it’s so crazy!

But what lends to the film’s efficacy is the unknown.  Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are the unlikely police duo, similar to how Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg were in “The Other Guys” but not as annoying and much more funnier.  “21 Jump Street” taps into the opposites attract and with this unlikely bromance, Hill and Tatum played their characters wonderfully.    And considering the film has made so much money, there is no doubt that we will see a sequel.

As for the old “21 Jump Street” TV series, fans also get to see Johnny Depp, Peter DeLuise and Holly Robinson Peete play their original characters.  While some talents are shown on a TV screen, this small homage to the TV series also made me wonder if the character Greg Jenko (Tatum) had any relation to the short-lived “21 Jump Street” character Captain Richard Jenko from the TV series.

So, while the “21 Jump Street” film adaptation was much different from the TV series, as a fan of the original TV series, I’m glad there were major differences but also managed to interject some of the show into the film, especially showcasing the bromance between original characters Officer Tom Hanson (Depp) and Officer Doug Penhall (DeLuise) and with Schmidt and Jenko.  More or less, the passing of the baton of one era to another.

As for the Blu-ray release, while video quality was good, I wish it was more vibrant but I understand the more dimmer look of the film was possibly a creative decision.  As for the audio, the lossless soundtrack is fantastic.  And there are also many short special features included on the Blu-ray release.

Overall, “21 Jump Street” was a gut-busting, piss in your pants type of action comedy film.  I was dreading the film as a die-hard fan of the original TV series but by the end of the film, I enjoyed it so much that I can’t wait for the sequel!   For those who want to laugh and are in the mood for a crazy, hilarious film…”21 Jump Street” is definitely recommended!

 

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