Tim Story brought together Kevin Hart and Ice Cube for the first time in 2014’s comedy hit Ride Along. The chemistry was there but something was still missing and I could never quite put my finger on it. Even though it did well in the box office, there was definitely room for improvement. Sequels often tend to take a step backwards, especially in the comedy genre, but Ride Along 2 hopes to buck that trend. So are we looking at another lazy money grab or is this actually a movie that audiences will legitimately enjoy. The answers are just a short read away.
When we last saw Ben (Kevin Hart), he had just become an actual bona fide police officer…much to the dismay of James (Ice Cube). Now, not only does James have to put up with Ben on a professional level, Ben will soon be family by way of marrying James’ sister, Angela (Tika Sumpter). The wedding is quickly approaching but an opportunity presents itself for Ben to tag along with James as he heads to Miami to follow up on a lead in a case he’s working. His case intersects with a local case in Miami that a local detective (Olivia Munn) is working down there. All signs point to something much bigger at play with Ben and James finding themselves smack dab in the middle of it. Of course nothing goes as planned as they attempt to get to the bottom of what’s going on.
In addition to introducing Olivia Munn into the fold, two other actors play pivotal roles in Ride Along 2. First is antagonist of the sequel, Antonio Pope, played by Benjamin Bratt. His character is that of a smooth philanthropist in the public’s eyes but behind closed doors he is a heartless criminal mastermind. The other actor that gets a decent portion of screen time is Ken Jeong who plays A.J., a hacker that works for Antonio. Jeong’s constant antics are a very welcome sight. His character isn’t overly silly but he provides a much needed spark to the film’s chemistry. This is probably his best work since playing Mr. Chow in the Hangover franchise. A.J. is all over the place with his energy and you never know what to expect with this guy. As for Kevin Hart and Ice Cube it’s more of the same, like the EXACT same. Still though, they are both entertaining in their own ways.
The plot to Ride Along 2 isn’t as thin and listless as some of the action comedies out there. For that, I give Tim Story kudos. There are some really inventive and fun approaches taken to give what we see on screen that extra little umph which goes a long way in the enjoyment factor of things. Buddy cop comedies are a dime a dozen these days so something needs to be done to stand out. The length of the film didn’t feel too long and that’s another plus it has going for it. I still can’t help but wonder “what if” when it comes to the PG-13 ratings. I totally understand the reasoning behind it and do not fault the decision to do so in any way. Having said that, it sure would be nice to see an unrated Blu-ray release down the road. These particular actors would thrive heavily with the rating restraints loosened up a bit. I’m sure of it.
The bottom line here is that there’s nothing in Ride Along 2 that you haven’t seen before. I won’t go as far as classifying it as a been there, done that type of thing. Everyone involved stays in their lanes and gives the audiences exactly what they’d expect and I can’t fault them for that. I found myself laughing more times than not, and I was genuinely interested in seeing what was coming next. For me, that’s the definition of entertainment which is what we’re all after in the first place. Check out Ride Along 2 in theaters now.