Ride Along 2 (2016)

ridealong2_2016_poster
Ride Along 2 (2016)
  • Time: 101 min
  • Genre: Action | Comedy
  • Director: Tim Story
  • Cast: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Olivia Munn, Tika Sumpter

Storyline:

The Ride Along 2 sequel picks up about a year after our heroes’ last adventure. Plans for a quick trip to Miami go bad. With the wedding upcoming, James reluctantly takes Ben with him to Miami to follow up on a lead connected to a drug-ring case he’s been trying to crack. In Miami, they meet Maya, a no-b.s homicide who lets them know, Miami is her turf. They also encounter AJ a shady, cocky computer hacker who reveals evidence that implicates a well- respected local businessman, the wealthy Antonio Pope, who harbors a vicious streak and rules South Florida’s drug trade. If Ben and James can convince the authorities that Pope is a brutal crime boss they’ll stop his spree. If they fail, well there may not be a wedding after all.

3 reviews

  • For the original Ride Along (2014), it was by no means a buddy cop movie that broke any rules or boundaries. It was mostly a standard affair of the usual buddy cop genre clichés that occasionally threw something new into the mix. One of the biggest differences for this feature among other cop comedies was the pair of main leads. Putting tough guy Ice Cube and comic short stack Kevin Hart together wasn’t a bad idea at all. Even with the number of problems the picture had, Cube and Hart were able to make the watch a tolerable experience. Of course because this was probably one of the big reasons as to why that movie did well, Universal Studios green lit this sequel. And like other sequels that come after their originals, their lack of attention begins to show. There’s nothing wrong with hiring the majority of the same crew to film a sequel but they have to know how to develop the story and not just run on auto-pilot; rehashing everything from the first entry. Sadly this is practically what occurs here.

    Directed by Tim Story and written by duo Phil Hay / Matt Manfredi again, you would think there’d be some kind of change in where the narrative went. Not really. One of the biggest topics that is consistently brought up during this movie is the matter of “focus”. The script to this sequel struggles to have that focus. Even with everything James (Ice Cube) and Ben (Kevin Hart) went through in Ride Along (2014), Ben is still not an official detective. After making their latest bust, James discovers that the drugs coming into where he lives is being delivered from Miami. With Ben’s wedding is a few days away, James takes Ben on another “ride along” in hopes of having his sister realize she loves a fool. The premise is more or less the same concept except this time, the surrounding circumstances are altered slightly. Going back to what was mentioned earlier, the writers and director just seemed to be on auto-pilot for this project. Hardly any of it feels different from before.

    Ice Cube and Kevin Hart still have a bit of chemistry together on screen but it now really depends on whether the viewer is interested in seeing familiar slapstick. Hart is loud and Cube fumes out the ears or stares in confusion. There are a couple of good quips each lead has but the comedy is more hit and miss now. There’s also a new addition of supporting characters, which belong to Olivia Munn as Maya, a Miami cop and Ken Jeong as A.J., the main suspect who has a connection to the crimes. Although Munn doesn’t have very much dialog that develops her character, she too gets a few good scenes in. Ken Jeong is alright in his role but he can get a bit annoying for those who already aren’t fond of Kevin Hart’s character. Jeong’s role just adds to it. Playing the villain, Antonio Pope, is Benjamin Bratt, who downright nails the “bad guy” voice and look but fails to have any development written for him. This makes him even less of a threat than Laurence Fishburne from Ride Along (2014).

    There are few other faces to be seen as well. Tika Sumpter playing Angela (Ben’s soon-to-be wife) returns since she’s more or less a plot device than anything else. Carlos Gomez (from Desperado (1995)) plays the Miami captain of the force and it certainly was a surprise to see him. It’s been a while. Lastly, Michael Rose plays a henchman of Pope. The only reason why I mention Rose is because for a while he looked like Robert John Burke. It’s kind of an eerie resemblance. The action sequences are adequately staged and some parts of those are different when it came to using vehicles and such. The special effects were okay too except for one scene, which dealt with Ben relating an action sequence to a video game. This time, instead of Ben just stating to pretend it’s a video game, the scene literally turns into one and its transition is jarring. It’s somewhat inventive but at the same time, the visual downgrade makes it look like the crew was just trying to save money.

    The cinematography has changed hands for this feature. Originally for Ride Along (2014), the director of photography was Larry Blandford who had some very uninteresting shots. In Ride Along (2014), much of the situations involved were inside buildings with dull colors. Here, Mitchell Amundsen takes over and it looks a ton better. The setting is in Miami, so there better be some wide scope shots of scenery. Even for the inside of buildings, the structural designs were much more elaborate giving viewers at least something to look at. Amundsen also worked on Transformers (2007) and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009). Lastly, the film score was once again produced by Tim Story collaborator Christopher Lennertz. Strangely enough Lennertz does not reuse his main theme from the original movie but at least keeps the same tone of his cues. A franchise like this should have a main theme to fall back on though. That would’ve made it somewhat more memorable.

    Ride Along (2014) wasn’t a great buddy cop movie but it did feel different. This sequel just re-does almost everything except the mission is different. Ice Cube and Kevin Hart still have likable chemistry and the cinematography has improved but much of the antics and formula are very much the same; making this feel too similar for its own good.

    Points Earned –> 5:10

  • Whenever I tell someone that I have the privilege of reviewing films for a living I always get the same response, “you’re lucky.” Every jobs comes with their perks and getting to see films is something I am truly grateful that I am able to do for work but every job also comes with its fair share of cons. So what are the cons of being a movie critic? Its called January films and Ride Along 2 is the perfect representation of what is a wrong with January films.

    Kevin Hart and Ice Cube lead the returning lineup of Ride Along 2, the sequel to the blockbuster action-comedy that gave us the year’s most popular comedy duo. They are joined in the film by Ride Along co-stars Bruce McGill and Tika Sumpter, as well as those new to the series, including Ken Jeong, Benjamin Bratt and Olivia Munn.

    The smartest thing a hopeful comedy sequel could do to be just as successful as its first film is not to change what made the film so successful in the first place. Ride Along 2 is aware of this and does not mess with the formula of the first film as we have Ice Cube’s James Payton and Kevin Hart’s Ben Barber as two mismatched cops attempting to solve a case without killing each other first. In Ride Along, Kevin Hart was only dating Cube’s sister and now in the sequel the two are about to tie the knot, making James and Ben BROTHERS IN LAW (or brothers-in-law).

    Despite the film’s flaws, Ride Along ended up finding success within the box office as the film more than quadruple its budget. So with the sequel following the same tight formula as its predecessor it should be inevitable that the sequel finds the same success, right? Sadly and painfully, the answer is no.

    This is obvious by the opening scene of the film as James and his new partner Mayfield, played by Tyrese, are in the middle of an undercover mission which involves tons of muscles cars. Like the over-the-top comedian Kevin Hart could be at times, he decides to pull up to the scene in a low rider to the “save” the day. Now here is the “joke” of the scene, Kevin Hart is too SHORT to properly function the BIG car that he makes a fool of himself and everything goes to hell. Too short, too big, mayhem.. ha?

    Now imagine scenes similar to the sorts that end up with Hart doing the following ridiculous things: eating hairy nachos that were found in the trash, having his shoe bitten off by an alligator, getting his head caught in the ceiling fan and being dragged by a speedboat on his wedding day.

    At least the film is only 100-minutes, right?

    Don’t get me wrong, some (I loosely using the word here) of the jokes do hit and majority of the hard-hitting jokes were probably saved for the unrated edition of the film. Don’t get me started on Olivia Munn’s character as the writers simply did not know what to do with this character. The chemistry between Munn and Cube is awful and I never knew female Miami cops pull up to crime scenes in sports bras. Ridiculous.

    Somewhere out there is an actor that could be Kevin Hart’s Jackie Chan (Rush Hour) or Judge Reinhold (Beverly Hill Cops) and we don’t need a third Ride Along to know that Ice Cube is not that actor.

  • Quickie Review:

    Ben finally is getting married to his love, but still didn’t earn full acceptance and respect from his soon-to-be brother-in-law James. To prove that he deserves to be a detective, Ben heads to Miami with James to solve a major drug trafficking case. Ride Along 2, is exactly what you expect from the first movie. It has entertaining chuckles but as a whole fails to be anything more than a generic buddy cop comedy. If you enjoyed the first film, then go right ahead and watch this sequel. Otherwise it’s an alright movie for a lazy Sunday channel surf.

    Full Review:

    Kevin Hart is no doubt one of the most popular stand-up comedians out there right now. I really do enjoy his work and Ice Cube’s small role in the Jump Street franchise is perhaps one of my favourites. So combining the two should be easy right? Well the first Ride Along was lukewarm, and the sequel is no better.

    I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some laugh out loud moments. This mainly boiled down to Kevin Hart, and few great instances of comedic timing. Hart is at times known for some overacting in his previous films to land a joke. While that does happen at times, it is noticeably toned down. Now whether you’d like that or not is your preference, but in my opinion it helped. It varied the intensity to his jokes so it did not feel constantly over the top.

    Unfortunately there is not much else to rave about. Ice Cube remains angry the entire movie, insulting Hart’s character on multiple occasions. I understand that’s his character, and does lead to some chuckles. Still at one point it gets old fast. On top of that I couldn’t even tell you what the heck happened in the movie. There is some case they are solving but links to clues are random and don’t make sense. I think I wouldn’t even bring this up if the movie was more funny. Apart from the big jokes, most of which we see in the trailer, this is pretty paint by the numbers comedy.

    The only people I’d recommend this movie to is Kevin Hart fans. Even then I’d ask them to lower their expectations. There are worse comedies out there for sure, but being mediocre is nothing to boast about.

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