RIDE ALONG 2 – The Review
If you enjoyed RIDE ALONG, you’ll like RIDE ALONG 2 – it’s as simple as that. Fast-talking stand-up Kevin Hart and gruff straight man Ice Cube bicker like an old couple all the way to the bank as they play off each other’s delivery styles to lively effect, but this weak follow-up to the 2014 hit is basically a series of disposable action sequences loosely connected by the presence of its two stars. What you saw in the predecessor and see in RIDE ALONG 2’s trailers is what you get: plenty of routine action, lots of Kevin Hart sass, and not much else.
RIDE ALONG 2 is pretty much on par with the original in terms of plot. Atlanta cops James Payton (Ice Cube) and his future brother-in-law Ben barber (Hart) travel to Miami, where they team up with a computer hacker (Ken Jeong) and a sexy-but-tough detective (Olivia Munn) to take down corrupt politicians and a drug kingpin (Benjamin Bratt).
Like our two loose cannons with badges, the movie misses its target far more often than it hits it but RIDE ALONG 2 is careful not to stray too far from safe ground. Hart and Cube have an easy rapport, and luckily the filmmakers have found a decent foil for both of them in the spunky persona of Ken Jeong who gives a terrific comic performance that really gooses the proceedings, but even he can’t get Rush Hour 2 out of the sequelitis quagmire. While the usual arc of the straight man in these buddy cop comedies is to eventually lighten up, Ice Cube just seems annoyed from beginning to end. Olivia Munn is easy on the eyes and I liked that she arrives at crime scenes in her sports bra, while Benjamin Bratt displays about as much menace as a Scooby Doo villain.
I enjoyed an early scene where Hart is playing ‘Grand Theft Auto’ and gets whacked by an old white lady and later on when he envisions he’s in the game during a car chase complete with GTA interface. It’s the only ambitious gag and it’s well done. My problem with the film is that the banter between Hart and Cube lacks spirit and even the action scenes feel stale and lethargic. It’s basically a series of shootouts, nightclub bromancing, loud music, and car chases that climaxes at one of those big ship container yards with loads of gunplay and exploding barrels. Motor-mouthed Hart works hard to keep the energy levels high and there are intermittent guffaws, but no matter how many times he shouts “We’re the Brothers-in-Law!” charm is in short supply as the script focuses too much on the recycled action-movie plot instead of on verbal interplay between the two leads.
RIDE ALONG 2 isn’t very good but it’s also no chore to watch. Director Tim Story keeps things moving at too brisk a clip to be truly boring and the Miami locations provide for plenty of fine, bikini-bottomed eye candy including an eye-popping sequence set at ‘Beach Kitten Inc.’, a high-end swimsuit shop. You may not get your money’s worth with RIDE ALONG 2, but you can’t say you don’t get what you asked for.
2 of 5 Stars