UK Release Date: 22nd January 2016
Runtime: 102 minutes
Director: Tim Story
Writer: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
Starring: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong, Benjamin Bratt, Tika Sumpter, Bruce McGill
Synopsis: The dysfunctional brother-in-laws from the first film travel to Miami in an attempt to track down the people behind a drug trafficking operation.
It’s been nearly two years since the alarmingly terrible buddy cop comedy Ride Along made its way into UK cinemas. Kevin Hart has still failed to make much of an impression as a cinema funnyman, with a string of miserable movies littering his filmography. Much the same has been true of Ice Cube, outside of the Jump Street franchise, at least. Both are going back to the well again with Ride Along 2, which is unfortunately more of the same.
James (Cube) is a tough cop investigating a drug empire. A crucial undercover mission, though, is thwarted by Ben (Hart), fresh from police academy. James heads to Miami to save the investigation, but his sister Angela (Tika Sumpter) convinces him to take her fiancé Ben along for the ride. There, they butt heads with Florida detective Maya (Olivia Munn), who is already handling the case, and must deal with bumbling informant AJ (Ken Jeong).
It must be said from the start that Ride Along 2 is considerably less irritating than its predecessor. The jokes still don’t land as often as they should and there is still a great deal more cliché than there is humour, but there has certainly been an edge taken off the relentlessly annoying nails-on-a-chalkboard disaster of the first film.
| “Oh my God! He’s a zombie! Headshot, Walking Dead!”
There is a clear and obvious chemistry between Ice Cube and Kevin Hart that powers Ride Along 2. The two performers are so obviously different that they mash together into a decent whole, with Hart’s manic energy mixing nicely with Cube’s trademark grouchy persona. The addition of Olivia Munn as a badass female officer is a welcome change to the male-dominated atmosphere that made the first film so disappointing.
Unfortunately, the plotting is so wafer-thin that the chemistry between the leads has absolutely nowhere to go. The entire story is simply contrived to place Cube and Hart into a series of bizarre situations, often dragging the shrieking and infuriating Ken Jeong along for the ride… along. By the time the pieces of the plot puzzle begin to slot into place, it’s really difficult to care all that much.
The comedy in Ride Along 2 is certainly more successful than that of the first movie, even if the cop movie plotting is severely lacking. There are a handful of chuckles in the script, mainly as a result of Hart and his nervous habit of shooting people out of the blue. The problem comes when the often lengthy gaps between those chuckles are made up of cheap slapstick jokes and tired fish-out-of-water gags.
| “I can’t feel my face.”
Ride Along 2 is simply a non-entity of a movie – not good enough to be exciting or bad enough to justify any real anger. It’s another lazy step in the big screen careers of both Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, but one that will likely score an impressive box office that more or less ensures the series will become a trilogy.
Pop or Poop?
As Hollywood comedies go, Ride Along 2 is about as blandly inoffensive as anyone could have hoped it would be. The jokes occasionally land, the performances are appropriately ridiculous and there’s a certain energy to it. But that’s not nearly enough to sustain a movie.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.