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‘Ride Along 2’ Features A Limp Trek To Miami (Movie Review)

ride along 2 22014’s Ride Along was a forgettable action-comedy thriving on the chemistry of a clichéd mismatched partnership. It came out in January and while many may have just written it off, the film was a huge success. I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it, but it was fine for a lazy comedy to watch on TV. Now we have Ride Along 2, which is a pretty easy example of diminishing returns in full force. A lack of laughs or much of anything of note has led to a film that is just kinda sits there and does nothing useful for anyone involved.

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The problems start pretty quickly, as Ice Cube and Kevin Hart return as Detective James Payton and Officer Ben Barber, but act as if the first movie never really happened. Basically, the dynamic of having James being the big tough cop who hates Ben stays the same. That’s just lazy on the part of screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, who could have taken the opportunity to flip things around a bit.

Of course, it would be one thing if the film was still funny, regardless of the same idea being repeated in a new location, but the jokes just don’t land. Much of the film relies on how much of Kevin Hart you can take and while I’m generally fine with him, this does feel like the kind of sequel that just allows him to be as loud as possible. Think of it as that time in Rush Hour 2 and 3, when you just had enough of Chris Tucker.

With that said, at least the Rush Hour sequels had good work from Jackie Chan, in case you actually did get sick of Tucker. Ice Cube is not exactly the guy you can rely on for strong support in an action-comedy, no matter how much tough posturing he can do. This is where a new supporting cast could help things out, but they are sadly not pushed to do anything all that challenging.

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The story centers on a case that leads these Atlanta cops to Miami in order to investigate a possibly corrupt businessman (Benjamin Bratt, the only person clearly having fun in this film). This leads to the addition of Olivia Munn and Ken Jeong to the cast. Munn seems to have been designed to be the Miami equivalent of Ice Cube, while Jeong just gets to do his regular shtick as a criminal/witness tagging along.

A better film would have simply placed Jeong as Munn’s annoying partner/underling to begin with, but we instead have to deal with a lot of setup to finally get to the dynamic of tough cops matched with annoying partners. This is why one of the few good scenes in the film features all four actors sitting on a stake out and doing the kind of thing you’d expect – rapid-fire dialogue and cross-cut editing, matched with annoyed looks from the tough cops.

The rest of the film is basically slog through a very standard cop movie plot with plenty of jokes about Hart wearing loud outfits and Ice Cube making incredulous looks and reacting accordingly. A comedy without laughs is boring and even the biggest Hart fan will likely see this akin to something more like Think Like A Man Too, rather than anything else he’s made worthwhile.

Credit to director Tim Story, who has returned to helm the sequel, regardless of his intentions. The case could be made that he’s simply taking the chance to have credit for being a black director that has launched several franchises (Barbershop, Fantastic Four, Think Like A Man) rather than being personally challenged by the undertaking that is a dark and gritty (not really) Ride Along sequel. Regardless, while not a movie in need of true cinematic craftsmanship, there is one inspired sequence that merges Ben’s love for video games with a car chase.

However, whatever points this film may earn as far as a decently executed action sequence or a few chuckles here and there, that does not stop Ride Along 2 from feeling like a miss, even from the standpoint of being a comedy that you shouldn’t expect much from. The film isn’t offensively terrible, but it has almost nothing to offer and being a boring comedy is about as useful as watching a blank screen. Pass on this film and keep riding along to something else.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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