If you’re a Kevin Hart fan, then you know what you’re in for when you sit down to one of his films. There are always some hilarious moments, including a bit of slapstick, some decent cameos and even some witty one-liners. From his performances in his stand up as well his characters on the big and small screens, Hart has mastered the art of capturing his audience’s attention. And when I sat down to watch Hart and his co-star Ice Cube in the first “Ride Along” film, which debuted last year, I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed it. I laughed more than I thought I would, and Hart and Ice Cube’s chemistry hit that perfect sweet spot that’s needed for any decent buddy film.
Still, when the sequel to the cop comedy was announced, I found myself rolling my eyes. This was not a storyline that needed an additional moment, and certainly not another full-length film. It turns out, I was right to be apprehensive.
Despite the vibrant Miami background, flashy cars, and new cast members, “Ride Along 2” failed, as most sequels do, to live up to the corny light-heartedness of the original.
In “Ride Along 2”, recent police academy graduate Ben (Hart) eagerly follows his soon to be brother-in-law James (Cube) to Miami in order to follow up on a lead in a big drug case. Just a week before his wedding to James’ sister Angela (played by Tika Sumpter), Ben is determined to prove that he has what it takes to become a detective.
As expected, nothing about the duo’s investigation runs smoothly. As they follow-up on leads, they come across a computer hacker named A.J. (played by Ken Jeong) who is in over his head with Benjamin Bratt’s Antonito Pope, who seems to have found his lane as villainous King Pin. “Newsroom” alum Olivia Wilde rounds out the cast here. Still the presence of these newcomers does little to freshen up the humor in this action comedy. And sadly, some of the more hilarious moments in “Ride Along 2” have already been revealed in the film’s trailer – namely the fan scene.
Another problem with the film is the fact that so many plot points were lost or seem to be dropped halfway through the story. For example, we nearly forget about Ben’s impending marriage to Angela. Meanwhile, other storylines are simply too predictable to even keep the audience interested. There is no shock and awe here; the audience knows every twist and turn before the beginning credits stop rolling.
This is not to say that there aren’t a couple of charming moments in the film. Ben’s love of video games is taken to a whole new level in the sequel, while his ability to get himself and James into mishaps are continually capitalized upon. While Hart can sometimes overdo his comedy shtick, Ice Cube in contrast often feels terribly robotic against him. And a potential romance in the film is as believable as Hart’s Nigerian accent.
Whatever you may think about Kevin Hart personally, his worth ethic at this point in his career, is nearly unparalleled. However, I simply wish his efforts had been focused on an entirely new project instead of another “Ride Along” movie.
While the comedy is amusing enough for a pass as entertainment, “Ride Along 2” shouldn’t really have been giving the opportunity for a start.