Title: Ride Along 2
Release Date: January 15, 2016
Studio: Universal Pictures, Cube Vision, Will Packer Productions
Director: Tim Story
Release Format: Theatrical
Kevin Hart and Ice Cube are back for round two of their ‘cop buddy’ comedy, and if you haven’t seen the first Ride Along, watching this sequel will give you the gist of what happened. While most comedic movies follow along the same lines, Ride Along and Ride Along 2 are virtually identical, making this sequel very easy to predict. That being said, there are parts of the movie that are enjoyable, and the Kevin Hart/Ice Cube chemistry still produces great laughs.
Ride Along 2 takes place a while after the first movie. Ben Barber (Hart) is getting ready to marry Angela (Tika Sumpter). Ben has graduated from the police academy but is still looking for a chance to prove himself to his brother-in-law James (Cube) and the rest of the force. James heads to Miami to follow a lead on a major drug-dealer and reluctantly takes Ben along with him. With the help of a deviant hacker named A.J. (Ken Jeong) and Miami detective Maya (Olivia Munn), the brothers-in-law set out to crack their biggest case yet.
The plot itself isn’t that interesting. If you have seen the first Ride Along, you can see how the second film is going to play out. The moments that start to redeem this film are in the back-and-forth bits between Hart and Cube (and even occasionally Jeong). Each of their characters complements each other in the best ways, one as the goofy but surprising gamer and the other as the tough loner cop.
As for the rest of the characters, the new supporting cast for Ride Along 2 performs decently. Jeong is obviously the most notable addition, as he brings along his own brand of comedy to contrast with Hart’s style. Munn as Ice Cube’s love interest was far too predictable and actually bored me because I knew how her role would play out from the moment I saw her in the film. In fact, I hardly even paid attention to her character. Sumpton seemed to have more of a role in the first film and fades into the background in this sequel, especially in the presence of the Hart/Ice Cube brand of comedy. I found this ironic since Ben Barber’s ultimate goal in this movie was to get married to Angela, but yet she is set up as such a minor character. However, it remains consistent with the way her character was used in the first film. As for the villain for Ride Along 2, Antonio Pope (played by Benjamin Bratt) is a stereotypical rich tycoon. He offers some interesting moments in his amount of screen time but seems a bit overshadowed by Laurence Fishburne’s villain from the first film. Overall, most of the characters in Ride Along 2 exist purely to facilitate the main-screen duo of Hart and Ice Cube.
Most of the shots in this film are pretty standard, except in the opening sequence. As consistent with the first film, Ride Along 2 opens in the middle of the action, with lots of slowed-down moments and blurred vibrant colors. This is arguably one of the most interesting scenes in the whole film, if only because it looks so different. However, it is also one of the most jarring scenes. This is the only time in Ride Along 2 that the cinematography looks so vibrant and interesting, and having the beginning of the movie look that way almost makes it seem out of place. In fact, this sequence reminded me distinctly of something out of the Fast and Furious franchise. Regardless, it is still an interesting scene and gives Ride Along 2 an exciting start.
As with the first Ride Along, this movie is a unique combination of comedy and action. In many ways, it is reflective of the two main actors’ styles. Most of the scenes focus on car chases and gun fights, with a little down time in between to move the plot along. Director Tim Story is probably best known for his work on Fantastic Four and its sequel, 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer. However, Ride Along and Ride Along 2 show little signs of similarity, as Story has expanded into directing other movie genres over his career. The story keeps the camera shots are pretty clean and fluid for the most part, with a few scenes incorporating a shaky camera for dramatic effect. Thankfully, since Ride Along 2 is focused on comedy more than anything else, most of the camera techniques are pretty tame. Hart and Ice Cube clearly remain the focus of the piece, and the camera dwells on them the most. All in all, this film doesn’t take any real risks, sticking to the formula from the first Ride Along.
Overall Ride Along 2 is a pretty average comedy. While it is essentially the same as the first film, a few moments make it redeemable. It’s easy to appreciate the strength of Kevin Hart and Ice Cube’s chemistry onscreen, and they really do make a convincing team. However, I am not sure I would pay any amount of money to see it again. Other than the two main actors, nothing really compels me to love this film.
- Acting: Kevin Hart and Ice Cube have a unique onscreen chemistry, which redeems this film. Ken Jeong is another standout, as his presence provides a contrast to Hart’s style of comedy. The rest of the cast give decent performances, but they are overshadowed by the two main actors.
- Cinematography: Most of the camerawork is fairly standard and fluid. The beginning scene stands out as a different style from the rest of the film, with vibrant colors and a focus on drawing out the action.
- Story: The story in Ride Along 2 is almost unimportant except in setting up the scenes for hilarity. It is virtually identical to the first film and easy to predict.
- Characters: Again, it is clear who the important characters are, as the viewer spends all their time focused on the dynamic between Hart and Ice Cube. The rest of the characters are there merely as support, except for A.J. on occasion. Even Hart and Ice Cube overshadow their characters at times.
- Kevin Hart/Ice Cube Dynamic
- Genuinely Funny Moments
- Fluid Cinematography
- Supporting Cast Left Behind
- Plot Is Predictable
- Follows Same Lines As First Movie