Buddy Cop Movie Doesn’t Go Anywhere….Again.
In an actual “ride along”, a private citizen rides with a police officer to simply observe them going about their daily duties, not actually taking an active role, but an intended passive role. Director Tim Story (Fantastic Four, Ride Along) has created another opportunity for the audience to do just that: be extremely passive observers in another cliched action-buddy-cop-odd-couple-type movie….and nothing else.
Jim Tudor, our co-founder and reviewer of last year’s Ride Along, tagged his review with the line “Buddy Cop Movie Doesn’t go anywhere”. This sequel serves up so much of the same serving as the first film that I felt the need to both pay tribute to his original review and to set the stage for what one can expect in this sequel by using it again. If you’ve seen the trailer for this new film, or any Kevin Hart movie, then you pretty much know what you are getting yourself into. Like Chris Tucker in the Rush Hour series, you’ll either find him funny, or extremely annoying. Even in the film, Ice Cube mutters something to the effect that 9 out of the 10 things that come out of his (Hart’s) mouth is pure non-sense. Ice Cube was of course in character and referring to the character Kevin Hart plays, but it also applies to the experience one has watching this film.
Ride Along 2 picks up right where the first one left off, and once again features Kevin Hart as newly graduated police officer Ben Barber, who is marrying Detective James Peyton’s (Ice Cube) sister Angela (Tika Sumpter). Ben is still the loud, annoying person trying to win the approval of his future brother-in-law as the wedding draws near. When a case goes bad in their town of Atlanta, Det. Peyton finds a way to get the evidence he needs to open it back up. The only hitch is that he will have to go to Miami to pursue it. He intends to go down there by himself, and it may have been a good idea if he had. As you can guess, Ben Barber finds a way to hitch a ride to prove himself to the police Captain and his future brother-in-law, and there you have the plot of the movie.
Once in Miami, the usual hijinks commence. More random shootouts, more gratuitous eye candy by way of the bikini-clad patrons of Miami Beach and other clubs, and more loud, shrill conversations by Kevin Hart for Ice Cube to roll his eyes at, populate this sequel. And with a sequel, you have to raise the stakes. Kevin Hart just raises his voice. Sure, Ken Jeong catches a ride (along) for this sequel playing a computer hacker who has stolen money from a drug kingpin he worked for named Antonio Pope (Benjamin Bratt). And yes, this embezzlement may be related to the case Det. Peyton is investigating. Along the way, they hook up with local homicide detective Maya (Olivia Munn, Deliver Us from Evil), who is a tough-as-nails cop who immediately bonds with Det. Peyton in her annoyance at Ben, and who usually shows up to investigate night-club shootings in her sports bra.
Jeong is funny at times, as he usually is, and provides enough comic relief to distract you from Hart’s over-the-top performance, but even his stick is old hat in some ways after his much funnier turns in Community and The Hangover. Olivia Munn, is serviceable in her role, but this is obviously beneath her, and she has much better prospects of film success with this year’s upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse, or even Zoolander 2 for that matter.
As a sequel, it mostly delivers what the fans of the first film will want, but this does not in any way suggest it is a good film. There is enough of a built in fan base to guess that it will be a modest success, but that doesn’t mean it should be. The best bits are in the trailer, and apart from a funny gag involving Kevin Hart’s online gaming profile, The Black Hammer, getting beat down by a grandmother in a Grand Theft Auto type game, there is nothing really new. Tim Story does keep the story moving, so fortunately you won’t feel that you are being too bogged down by the film, but at times, it still wasn’t brisk enough.
With all the banter between the “brothers-in-law”, Ben’s moniker for he and James Peyton’s “partner name”, Kevin Hart and Ice Cube prove that they have plenty more to say. The question, is do you really want to hear it? Ultimately, I felt that I was on a real ride along….as an extremely passive observer who really didn’t see a whole lot as I watched what was happening in front of me. Like last year, this buddy cop movie doesn’t go anywhere….again.