Blu-ray Review: ‘Ride Along 2’ Brings The Same Laughs With a Bigger Budget
“Ride Along 2” has the Ice Cube and Kevin Hart humor you would expect.
The first “Ride Along” introduced us to Detective James Payton (Ice Cube) and Ben Barber (Kevin Hart), two soon to be brothers-in-law who end up unexpectedly collaborating on a police investigation. “Ride Along 2” picks up where the last film left off with Ben becoming an actual police officer and James unwillingly taking Ben on an investigation in Miami, Florida. Following the typical buddy cop formula, this film definitely has predictability but did “Ride Along 2” execute this formula effectively?
Cinematics (Cinematography, Acting, Story, etc.) – 2
As stated and expected, “Ride Along 2” follows a very simple formula when it comes to plot and character development. While a formulaic plot doesn’t necessarily equate to flaws, the significance lies in the execution and rejuvenation of this formula. While “Ride Along 2” plays well to the buddy cop plot with two polar opposites like Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, the film doesn’t breathe new life into story. It’s the same recycled material we’ve seen in other cookie cutter type films from the plot, the characters, and even the score. It’s almost like you could close your eyes and know the entire film just from listening alone.
There are some positives in regards to the cinematic value of this film. Much like other typecast actors, Kevin Hart and Ice Cube know their film personas and fall into those roles with ease. They have chemistry but not the type of chemistry expected from a police duo. Regardless of that, it still works and they are enjoyable together on screen. Some of the supporting cast however seemed like they were out of the loop. Ken Jeong fit well for the most part (much like Joe Pesci in “Lethal Weapon 4”) but Olivia Munn’s character didn’t mesh well with the team at times. She almost seemed like a third (or fourth) wheel because she would break into two different personalities throughout the film. While she was supposed to compliment Ice Cube’s character traits, she would randomly fall into a comedic persona that seemed to clash with her intended role. Ken Jeong on the other hand was a great fit for a supporting character. Ice Cube and Kevin Hart may have been the stars but Jeong brought supplemental value to the film with his own brand of humor that made the rest of the cast seem even more humorous.
Overall there’s not much to say about this film on a cinematic level. The simplistic nature of the plot left other areas a bit stale when it came to character development, transitions, setting, and subplots. There’s value for this film, just not in the area of cinematics.
Entertainment Value – 3
This style of film plays to a subjective form of entertainment. You are either a fan of Kevin Hart’s comedic style and Ice Cube’s stern persona or you are not. In the beginning of the film I thought the humor was a bit forced and lazy with jokes about Kevin Hart’s lack of masculinity. But as the film progressed and Ken Jeong was introduced the humor seemed to flow more organically. The laugh out loud moments were few and far between regardless of the comedic turning point of the film but regardless I still laughed.
The action sequences also were a source of entertainment but just like the film, they were very generic. There was one part of the film that poked fun at Ben’s video game obsession combining a “Grand Theft Auto” type sequence with an actual car chase. That moment stood out as it was both visually appealing and humorous.
Overall, “Ride Along 2” was just simple entertainment. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t necessarily great either. If they would have spent more time poking fun at themselves like “21 Jump Street” then I think this film would have been more of a success.
Re-Watchability – 2.5
“Ride Along 2” falls into the category of mindless viewing. I could see it being a good source of background noise while committing to other things and looking for something to not be fully engaged in. If it’s on television and there are limited choices, I could see this film being an acceptable pick, but not with the amount of media selections out there for people to watch.
I’ve seen worse buddy cop films but I’ve also seen many other great ones. That’s not to say I couldn’t sit through this film again but I doubt I would seek it out specifically.
Is it odd that the Blu-ray features may be better than the film? The outtakes and deleted scenes had me laughing so hard. The exclusives include videos from Ben’s wedding and a video that takes us deeper into the mind of “Black Hammer.” If you enjoyed the film and are a fan of the cast, then the Blu-ray copy of the film may be a good choice to add to your collection.
"Ride Along 2" brings us many of the laughs from the first film but not as much luster. If you are a big fan of Kevin Hart and/or Ice Cube you will probably enjoy the film but otherwise things seem a bit rushed and sometimes overcrowded with casting.