Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Movie Review #365: "Ride Along 2" (2016)

Movie"Ride Along 2"
Director: Tim Story
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hours, 41 minutes
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Detective James Payton (Ice Cube) and probationary patrol officer Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) team up once again and head to Florida to apprehend a hacker who may have a connection to a local drug dealer. Upon their arrival, they find a much bigger case waiting for them.

The original "Ride Along" is one of the few films we missed seeing in the theater in 2014. The film made lots of money and helped cement Kevin Hart's place as a heavy hitter at the box office. Hart and Ice Cube team up once again in this buddy cop sequel. This time around, Ben Barber, played by Hart, is now an official police officer on a probationary period. As a cop, his aspirations are now to become a full-on detective like his future brother-in-law James, played by Ice Cube. As a favor to his sister Angela, played by Tika Sumpter, who is trying to prepare for her wedding, James allows Ben to come to Miami, Florida with him to pick up a hacker named A.J., played by Ken Jeong, for questioning. This will not only allow James to get Ben out of his sister's hair, but it will also show everyone on the force that Ben doesn't really have what it takes to be a detective. Once the dynamic duo arrives in Miami, all hell breaks loose as car chases, foot chases, stakeouts, and party crashings happen and go awry.

These buddy comedies are extremely reliant on the chemistry between the two lead characters. For us, Kevin Hart and Ice Cube have great chemistry, even though both of the "Ride Along" movies are just good. Ice Cube is the more hard-nosed, ill tempered tough guy, which is pretty much the persona of Ice Cube himself, and Kevin Hart is the more loud obnoxious screw-up, which is Hart's typical type cast. You are going to find a lot of the cliché cop comedy tropes in this film, including the combative captain, the corrupt politician, the wealthy and connected villain, the new hot female cop to compliment one of the protagonists, zany and over-the-top action and explosions, a major setback, and of course, some sort of a resolution. Obviously, as people going to see "Ride Along 2," we aren't really watching or paying attention for complexities, especially with it being a sequel. A well thought out plot? Not on our minds. Sure, it would be a bonus if complexities or engaging plot existed here, but what we look for in a comedy is to laugh and have a good time, and we had a decent amount of fun watching one of our favorite rappers sling blows with a comedian whose sole purpose seems to be to degrade himself and his stature by stepping into ceiling fans and pointing out his race for the joke of it all. In fact, this movie is a bit of a mess all around.

In the end, we did laugh way more than we groaned, which is more than we can say for most comedies. It is more entertaining than not, and we wound up enjoying this sequel slightly more than we did its predecessor. It took us a while to warm up to Kevin Hart when we first started watching his films, but in recent years, we have, dare we say, grown to appreciate most of his comedic efforts.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 14%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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