Ride Along 2 Tim Story
Published Jan 15, 2016There are movie sequels that are carefully considered, that make a real effort to improve on the original by building on the established world or taking things in an entirely different direction; then there are others, like Ride Along 2, that feel more like a slapdash attempt to quickly capitalize on the success of the original. Working from a derivative script that hits all of the predictable beats of the mismatched buddy-comedy law enforcement genre, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart squander whatever natural chemistry they have by incessantly bickering in every scene in a redundant manner that quickly becomes more tiresome than funny.
When we catch up with the duo this time around, detective James (Cube) is headed from Atlanta to Miami to investigate how a flash drive found on a local dealer relates to computer hacker A.J. (Ken Jeong). Naturally, his brother-in-law to be, Ben (Hart), wants to get in on the action, despite being fresh from police academy and in the process of planning a wedding to James's sister, Angela (Tika Sumpter).
Once in Miami, they meet fellow detective Maya (Olivia Munn) and learn from A.J. that he's been working for Antonio Pope (Benjamin Bratt), a corrupt businessman who's involved in smuggling guns and drugs, and even murdered the port commissioner. Proving the guilt of Pope is easier said than done, though, as he's an influential man who regularly donates money to the police, so the expanding group sets out to obtain the necessary evidence to take him down.
As far as the new recruits go, Jeong fares a little better than Munn mainly because he's given more to do, and injects his usual blast of comic energy into scenes. Munn, however, has the nearly impossible task of trying to fill the role of love interest for Ice Cube while hardly even having so much as a scene in which they talk to each other about anything other than the case. It's as if the makers of the film were acutely aware the audience would recognize why she was there from the outset, so they didn't even bother to go through the motions of manufacturing a romance between the two.
The rest of the movie is pretty much more of the same if you've seen the first one, albeit in a different locale. There are shoot-outs, explosions, countless montages of sunny Miami and an overabundance of Hart saying and doing the wrong things to earn the ire of the perpetually annoyed Ice Cube. The movie's idea of ingenuity is a car chase in which the action morphs into the racing video game Ben's been known to play obsessively.
On a recent episode of Conan, Ice Cube and Hart joined the host in helping one of his staff members learn to drive. In the short bit that promptly went viral, Cube schools Conan on the finer points of drive-bys and pimping, while Hart learns that it's difficult to look cool shouting obscenities out a window that you then have to roll up manually. It's worth referencing because there were more laughs in those 12 minutes than in this entire film. (Universal)