So I watched Ride Along 2…
It feels so strange going into a sequel, a sequel for a comedy at that, and walking in with zero apprehension or fear. I had a really good feeling about this. I just knew that Ice Cube, Kevin Hart and Tim Story wouldn’t disappoint. The trailers had me in stitches and if this movie was half as much fun as the one before it, I knew that I was in for a fun ride.
Okay, basic plot: Newly graduated police academy cadet, Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) is still trying to gain the respect of his girlfriend’s brother, James (Ice Cube). Ben is eager to prove himself a competent police officer but keeps making rookie mistakes, much to James’ annoyance. When James has to travel to Miami to follow up a lead in a case, Ben begs him to let him tag along. The two travel to Miami and soon become embroiled in a homicide case that involves high ranking politicians and respected businessman Antonio Pope (Benjamin Pratt).
I absolutely loved watching this movie. It’s the same fun and great entertainment that made the original a hit. Once again, Kevin Hart and Ice Cube have the perfect love-hate relationship and their two opposing styles lead to the same gutbusting comedy from the first film. Hart really kicks it into overdrive with his performance in this film and he had me close to tears with almost everything he said. He brings a wonderfully energetic spirit to the film and his energy is infectious. Ice Cube, once again, puts in a great deadpan performance off of which Hart’s zany energy can bounce. I love this combination and honestly it’s one of the best comedic pairings that I’ve seen, at least in recent history.
This film suffers from something I like to ‘Setpiece Sickness’. Setpiece sickness is when the people behind a movie (usually a sequel) plan the story and come up with a list of breathtaking, memorable setpieces that they want in the film. They then stretch the story to accommodate these setpieces instead of augmenting the setpieces to fit the story. This leads to a movie with extravagant flashes of brilliance but poorly-constructed links between these flashes and the story. Ride Along 2 has some fun action sequences and grand jokes but the moments between them often feel underdeveloped and lacking real excitement. As a result, there are dull moments and stretches of the film where the story drags and you’re waiting for the next big joke to arrive. This doesn’t happen too often but it happens often enough for you notice.
This film really is everything a sequel should be – bigger and better. This film has a lot more action than its predecessor and it’s quite well done. I did feel that the comedy took a backseat to the action at times but enjoyed that because it represented a change in the style of the film. There’s also a host of new characters with actors such as Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong, Sherri Shepherd and Benjamin Pratt having various roles. Now the great thing about the first Ride Along was that it focused solely on James and Ben, so their characters were fully fleshed out. The problem with the introduction of these additional characters is that their characters don’t have time to be as developed as they could be. This leads to characters just being walking stereotypes and nothing more; which is a shame because some of them could have been really interesting. That being said, all the actors in this film put in a solid shift and are really funny.
Overall, Ride Along 2 is a success! It’s hilarious; I was close to rolling around on the floor several times. I think the additions and change in style keep director, Tim Story from delivering the same focused narrative as he did in the first film but he still produces an incredibly entertaining – albeit unoriginal – comedy. This film is worth watching 8/10