Directed by: Tim Story
Premise: A sequel to the 2014 film. A probationary police officer (Kevin Hart) tags along with his detective and brother-in-law-to-be (Ice Cube) to investigate drug trafficking in Miami.
What Works: Ride Along 2 introduces a new detective character played by Olivia Munn. Although she isn’t given much to do, Munn is a welcome addition to the movie. She’s able to be funny but also tough and Munn and Ice Cube have a likable on screen rapport. The movie also includes Ken Jeong as a computer hacker. Jeong is notable in Ride Along 2 in that he is more restrained here than his typically shrill performances in other movies and television shows.
What Doesn’t: The original Ride Along did not suggest a sequel nor was it good enough to merit one. But Ride Along was a hit and so a sequel has been made to cash in on the success of its predecessor. The trouble is that the moviemakers don’t come up with anything new for their characters to do and the film is largely an inferior imitation of the original picture. The few things that the original Ride Along did well are minimized in the sequel. The Ride Along series is an odd couple comedy in which a tough streetwise detective is paired with a wide eyed and scrawny rookie. The best aspects of the original movie were the ways Ice Cube’s character demeaned and tortured his junior partner. A lot of that is limply repeated here but instead of gags and funny situations the best that the moviemakers come up with is for Ice Cube to physically abuse Kevin Hart. Watching Ice Cube and Olivia Munn beat on Hart is satisfying for anyone who finds the comedian’s beta male shtick obnoxious, but there’s just not much more to the movie than that. The other bright spot of the original Ride Along was the relationship between Kevin Hart and his fiancé played by Tika Sumpter. She’s almost completely exiled from the sequel; Ice Cube and Hart go to Miami while Sumpter’s character is left behind to plan the wedding. The marital subplot could actually work for the film. The couple are supposed to wed within days of the Miami investigation and the film could play on the tension between police duties and home life or somehow incorporate the wedding into the rest of the story. But the filmmakers don’t put the wedding subplot to any use; it’s just there to give Sumpter an excuse to stay out of the main story. The rest of Ride Along 2 is scavenged from the original film. Once again the characters are pitted against a criminal kingpin and like the first movie their investigation culminates in a warehouse shootout. Ride Along 2 also repeats virtually every gag from the 2014 movie. The first Ride Along wasn’t very funny but the sequel is much worse. The only joke here is that Kevin Hart’s character is short and clumsy and Ice Cube’s character is mean. There’s no set up and no pay off. It’s just Kevin Hart acting shrill and Ice Cube beating him for it. The movie also fails in its storytelling. Comedies tend to get a lot of rope in regard to plot and credibility. But even comedies have to make sense. In this case, Ride Along aspires to movies like Beverly Hills Cop and 48 Hrs. and like those pictures, the filmmakers of Ride Along wants the investigation and violence to be taken seriously. The filmmakers never create a credible police story in Ride Along 2. None of the police work makes sense. Ice Cube and Kevin Hart’s characters are Atlanta cops and so they have no jurisdiction in Miami; even similar movies like Beverly Hills Cop acknowledged that problem and dealt with it. The investigation doesn’t lead logically from one plot point to the next. The story is just filler. A thin plot might even be acceptable if it were a framework for good comedy but this movie fails at both its detective work and its humor.
Bottom Line: Ride Along 2 is the kind of movie that only exists to capitalize on a successful title and it’s clear that everyone involved in this picture put no more effort into it than that.
Episode: #580 (January 31, 2016)