Can you believe it? I have never seen the 80’s television show 21 Jump Street in my 37+ years of living on this land and water filled planet. I’m a virgin! That’s horrible! I should be dragged down the streets by my ugly hair or publicly pelted and stoned in the middle of town square for admitting that, right? Well whatever capital punishment you decide for me, rest assured I will do my very best to bring justice to this Blu-ray review of the 2012 action comedy of the same name. Ready or not, here I go…
As I mentioned above, 21 Jump Street is an action comedy film based on the 1987 television series of the same name starring a then very young Johnny Depp. The film was directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller and stars the dynamic duo of G.I. Joe’s Channing Tatum and Superbad’s Jonah Hill. There are actually several years of interesting history to recount as it relates to the development of this project, but perhaps the most interesting thing I have read was that Jonah Hill at one point wanted Rob Zombie to direct this. Now spin me around, pin a tail on my a$$ and call me crazy, but how cool would that have been?!
The story follows two former high school losers, Morton Schmidt (Hill) and Greg Jenko (Tatum), who unexpectedly meet again at police academy. They quickly realize each other’s strengths and weaknesses and effectively utilize their talents/differences to help each other throughout the rigorous academy and as a result they both victoriously graduate. Better yet, they also end up assigned together on prestigious bicycle park patrol. Hilarious! Yep, they are not the bad-a$$ mother f#$%ers they thought they were going to be, but lucky for us, their luck is about to change…for the worse.
After failing to properly recite and read the Miranda rights during their first official drug bust in the park, our boys are demoted to taking an undercover gig down on Jump Street posing as high school students who just so happen to also be brothers. Their directives, given by none other than NWA’s Ice Cube himself, are quite simple. They are to infiltrate and find the supplier of a new deadly synthetic drug known on the streets as HFS (Holy F$%#ing Sh1t). The drug is running rabid amongst the young generation. Oh. Did I mention they are temporarily living with Schmidt’s parents? Wait until you get a look at the real life Jonah Hill pictures adorning the walls. LMAO.
I think the interesting thing to take note of here is the fact that the dynamic duo now undergo a complete role reversal in the respect that Schmidt is actually hanging with the cool kids and Jenko is falling for the nerdy science crowd and seemingly loving every minute of it. Of course there is a reason for all of this, but I’m not going to spoil a damn thing for anyone. This flick is one of those rare moments in time where a past TV reincarnation is successful on the big screen and I don’t want to question it for one minute. I’m generally very hard on grading comedies making damn well sure that there is repeat/replay value, but get this folks…I watched this one three times now and I’m still busting at the seams during certain key sequences and scenes. Therefore, I truly believe it’s quite worthy of my 4 point score here. However, I would love to hear what you think about it below.
21 Jump Street is a film that quite frankly took me by surprise. Never did I think I would be willingly writing about it for a Blu-ray review. When it came in the mail the other day, I was giddy as a school kid. Now that’s magic, baby! There’s no doubt about it. The comedy within is both rude and crude, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Whatever involvement Hill had in retooling the screenplay is pure genius in my opinion. I feel like I can recognize every line of dialog he had involvement in. If you liked Superbad, you’re going to love this reincarnation. My only thought now is what if Rob Zombie would have directed? That would have been incredibly interesting in my opinion.
I could go on and on with the recap of the plot, synopsis and my overall feelings, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen it. This is probably the most well done adaptation on the big screen of a former TV hit I have ever seen. I cringe when I think of what could have been…a PG-13 cut. Now that would have been blasphemy. So I’ll just count my blessings here and rest assured, this disc will be getting many more spins in my Blu-ray player this year. 21 Jump Street has it all: comedy, gut wrenching antics, car chases, plenty of action and even a couple of surprise cameos that I think that fans of the 80’s show are truly going to love. But for now, let’s see how the 4-star film fairs in the Blu-ray disc vitals department you are all eagerly here to read about. Vamos!
Here’s the weird thing. For a 2012 film and subsequent Blu-ray release in the same year the AVC MPEG-4 video transfer is surprisingly lackluster. It comes packaged and framed in a 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio presentation and there’s really not too much to brag about here. There isn’t much of that Blu-ray wow factor going on if you know what I mean. It reminds me of the name of a hamburger at Michael Symon’s B-Spot restaurant called Plain Jane. It is what it is. There’s no razor sharpness. There’s no vibrancy. And most importantly, there’s no three-dimensional pop. It’s just consistent status quo. There are no serious issues to speak of that would result in a much lower score, but dammit…I wanted more from this Blu-ray presentation. Moving on.
Rest assured that I watched this film twice on the Blu-ray format and both times I was thoroughly impressed with this disc’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless surround track. That says a lot when it comes to a comedy. Usually comedic films aren’t this engaging and explosive, but let’s not forget…this is an action comedy! Sony hit it on the head here. The dialog levels are all loud and clear throughout and the music/effects buzz, blast and ring all around you. It’s quite an immersive experience for a film rooted in comedic nature. You don’t come across these gems too much in the Blu-ray comedy universe. Two thumbs up!
21 Jump Street on Blu-ray includes a nice collection of HD goodies, including the ever so important commentary track, a plethora of deleted scenes, several featurettes, some previews and that horrible technology called UV Digital Copy, but hey…you’re buying the Blu-ray for it’s 1080p presentation not the streaming copy. Right? I hope so! With that all being cleared up, let’s cut the chitchat and dive right into the extras below.
- Audio Commentary – Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are joined by Actors Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in an engaging audio commentary that fans of the film will most likely enjoy. Nothing too technical is discussed here.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 29:32) – There are a slew of deleted scenes to be found here. For your reading pleasure, here’s a list of them all: Not So Slim Shady, Meet Captain Dickson, Teenaging the F*ck Up, More Rules of Jump Street, Meet the Schmidts — Extended, Lunch Plans, Principal’s Office — Extended, Marigold and Levy Commercial with Mr. Gordon, Law & Order with Mr. Gordon, Ms. Griggs’ Lesson on Bonds, Jenko Joins the Band, Late Night Chat, My Character & Your Character, The Nerds Discover Alcohol, More Partyin’, Awesome Dr. Pepper Joke, Braggable Stuff, Eric’s Last Chance for Happiness, The Bad Guys Go to Jail, and Jump Street Flashback.
- Gag Reel (HD, 4:58) – No explanation is necessary here.
- Cube-O-Rama (HD, 1:53) – This is basically nothing more than a montage of Ice Cube scenes for fans only in my opinion.
- Back to School (HD, 7:43) – A short supplement that features cast and crew discussing the changing face of high school and how the modern high school landscape shapes the film. Also discussed is the plot and the work of the cast, intermixed with some random humorous insights.
- Brothers in Arms (HD, 6:24) – This one involves the dynamic duo, as I call them, of Tatum and Hill. A closer look…one could say.
- Johnny Depp on Set (HD, 4:42) – The title of this one doesn’t give anything away about any cameos I mentioned above, does it?
- The Rob Riggle Show (HD, 9:24) – Cast and crew celebrate the actor.
- Peter Pan on the Freeway (HD, 4:12) – Take a closer look at the freeway chase here.
- Previews (HD) – The following previews can be found on this Blu-ray disc for your viewing pleasure: Safety Not Guaranteed, Lockout, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, That’s My Boy, Underworld: Awakening, and The Raid: Redemption.
- UV Digital Copy – One word…Boo!
So there you have it. There’s nothing to fear here other than not making the time to catch this rude and crude comedy gem where the producers not only pay homage to the 80’s show of the same name, but also completely make it their own. Want a fun good time with a flick? Then look no further. You don’t even need to be a fan or a one-time/casual viewer of the original show to appreciate this one in my opinion. With acceptable video, exceptional audio and a very nice supplemental package, this is a comedy to own on the Blu-ray format whether you are a Johnny Depp fan or not. 21 Jump Street debuts on Blu-ray this Tuesday, June 26th, but you can pre-order your copy now! Just do it! Lebron did.