Ride Along 2 Movie Review: The odd couple of the policing world are back as Ice Cube and Kevin Hart team up again for the sequel to 2014’s Ride Along. Having graduated from the police academy Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) is now a member of the Atlanta Police Department. Well he’s still in his probationary period, but that still counts. He continues to hero worship Detective James Payton (Ice Cube), who happens to be his fiancé’s brother, and try desperately impress him. After Ben crashes one of James’ investigations, destroying what looks like a decent chunk of downtown, the duo end up with an encrypted thumb drive belonging to a local drug dealer. The unlikely duo are then tasked with venturing out to Miami to find the hacker that encrypted the drive and use it to crack drug kingpin Antonio Pope’s empire.
Like its predecessor, Ride Along 2 is a routine buddy cop comedy. It’s the Odd Couple with badges. It’s simple, it’s routine, and it’s all been done before. But that’s what these PG-13 blockbusters are expected to be. You don’t go in to see this film to be blown away by philosophical narrative, visual abstraction, or surrealist composition. You go in to laugh at Kevin Hart and see just how much he can annoy the bejeesus out of Ice Cube. Because let’s be honest, every time Ice Cube makes his trademarked mad face, it’s amazing. Every. Single. Time.
While the movie is pretty entertaining. It’s not as fun as the original was. The actions sequences work. The scenery works. It’s a Miami movie. White beaches, club scenes, bikinis, etc., etc. It’s all there in a modernized Miami Vice aesthetic. What seems to be missing from Ride Along 2 are the laughs. Don’t get me wrong, the film has its funny moments. But they seem sparsely placed for a movie starring Kevin Hart. In addition to the sparsity of comedic moments, there are also quite a few attempts at humor where either the timing is off or the delivery is off and it just doesn’t work. Maybe it’s just me but I always feel pretty awkward when I’m sitting in a crowded theater and something happens that’s clearly supposed to be funny and you can literally hear the guy 3 rows up reaching into his popcorn bucket. It makes me really glad that the comedian isn’t there to witness the silence. This movie has quite a few of those moments.
Ice Cube’s performance is ok. It almost seems like a year of dealing with Hart’s character has worn his character down and he just seems more depressed and burned out than irritated and annoyed. He’s still great at being a bad ass, but at this point I think we all know he doesn’t really play that character; that’s just Cube. Hart’s usual uber hyper physicality and mile a minute loud mouth routine is more placid than usual. They both just come off a bit flat compared to the characters from the first film. Joining the duo this time around is Miami detective Maya Cruz, played by Olivia Munn. I’ll level with you, I’m not a big fan of Munn’s acting in general and that didn’t change with this role. Granted, her character is a flatly written, 2 dimensional, “hot but mean” detective archetype, but her performance doesn’t help the situation.
Ride Along 2 it’s an ok movie. It’s not as funny as the original. But sequels almost never are, and revisiting the same skeletal structure of the original doesn’t do the film any favors. I’d recommend waiting to check this one out on DVD if you’re interested.
Ride Along 2 Movie Review