Kevin Hart and Ice Cube partner up once again with director Tim Story for a sequel to one of the surprise hits of 2014 in Ride Along 2. Ben Barber (Hart) is a man on a mission, not only is he working through his probationary period as a police officer, he is also preparing for his wedding and still clamouring for the approval of James (Cube). After a calamitous operation leaves the pair on the bad books of the Lieutenant, James finds a lead which will take him to Miami and hopefully the evidence he needs to put his perp away. Ben, desperate to impress James and prove he can be a detective begs to go, and James reluctantly accepts, if only to show him up. Once they get to Miami it becomes apparent the case is much bigger than they had anticipated, and the ‘brothers in law’ must help one another to solve it.
The buddy action comedy film is a rare breed in modern film, and only a few successfully blend the components together to make a funny, but enthralling film. Ride Along did it’s very best to represent this sub genre and for the most part did alright, unfortunately the sequel leaves a lot to be desired and is light years away from being in the same company as your classic buddy action films like Lethal Weapon and co.
Ride Along 2 has it’s fair share of action but doesn’t excel itself in anyway. We are in an age of film and action where your general car chase and gun fight just don’t cut it any more because we’ve been spoiled by the spectacle set pieces of films such as the Fast and Furious franchise. If you can’t match the budget and style you need to find a new way to make it interesting and exciting. Just look at what James Wan has done in the horror genre, he is taking your same old ghost routines and adding something different, and using a bit of flair, and it’s amazing. Unfortunately Ride Along 2 doesn’t have anything unique in it, or bring something new to the table, it’s adequate film making but not as exciting.
As far as comedy goes, without the incredible package of energy that Kevin Hart has it would be none existent. Films of this ilk aren’t necessarily prominently funny, but this one certainly tries harder than most and it’s just flat. Not a single person laughed in the cinema I was in, and I only chuckled a couple of times. Kevin Hart is a great stand up comedian but his lead film characters in these films are becoming very similar, and before long if he isn’t careful his career could go the same way as Eddie Murphy’s. In fairness Hart is the perfect opposite to Cube’s character but the comedy is all one way with Hart leading the charge, there needed to be more variation in comedy output from both lead characters otherwise it just becomes repetitive. The addition of Ken Jeong and Olivia Munn to the proceedings adds some much needed variety, but it is Benjamin Bratt’s evil Antonio Pope who steals the show with minimal scenes.
Ride Along 2 is very similar in shape and scope to it’s predecessor, it doesn’t change a formula that worked the first time but it also doesn’t try to raise the bar and out do it. As a result you feel like your watching the second half of the same film, it’s not bigger or better it is just the same, and the second time round it isn’t as funny or exciting. In all honesty it doesn’t do anything wrong, it is just perfectly average. With a 12A rating it’s a perfect film for teenagers and young adolescents who will likely get more from it than most, but if your wanting more than your generic offerings then you’ll be disappointed.