Stars: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Ken Jeong, Olivia Munn, Benjamin Bratt, Tika Sumpter, Bruce McGill, Sherri Shepherd, Arturo del Puerto, Carlos Gómez | Written by Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi | Directed by Tim Story
Once again directed by Tim Story, who previously worked with Ice Cube on Barbershop and the first film in this series, Ride Along 2 is yet another Ice Cube starring, stereotypical buddy-comedy and like all good buddy comedies it lives and dies by its cast. Last time the chemistry between Kevin Hart and Ice Cube felt stilted and forced, leaving this reviewer a little cold – will it be any different this time round?
Ride Along 2 picks up the story about a year after our heroes’ last adventure. Not content to work as a beat cop, Ben (Hart), a recent academy graduate, now aspires to be a detective like his soon-to-be brother-in-law. However, James (Cube) still doesn’t think that he has what it takes for the job. With the wedding approaching, the accident-prone rookie talks his way into joining his mentor on what should be a routine trip to Miami as part of an investigation… but things don’t go quite according to plan, throwing not only the case into disarray but also Ben’s forthcoming wedding to James’ sister!
Given that both Ben and James are now cops, rather than civilian and brother-in-law-to-be cop, Ride Along 2 takes more of a page from the Bad Boys handbook – not only taking to the streets of Miami but also upping the ante on the action this time around. In fact unlike the previous film, which was a your typical buddy-comedy with some action set-pieces, this sequel is very more of the all-out action-comedy variety; and feels very much like Ice Cube’s All About the Benjamins – the film I hoped the original movie would be (thought that film may still be the pinnacle of Cube’s cop/comedy movies IMO).
By now Ice Cube can do “angry cop” in his sleep, after all he’s played the same role in at least four movies before this one; but this time round he has a cast that a) he has chemistry with, and b) actually bring something to the film rather than leave everything on Ice Cube’s shoulders. Thankfully Hart and Cube have built much more of a camraderie between movies and it clearly shows on screen, adding that little extra depth to the duos relationship and the film itself. The addition of both Olivia Munn as Miami detective and Cube’s “love interest” and Ken Jeong as a nerdy hacker-come-ladies man are also welcome additions, allowing the film to focus on their characters on occasion – which is most welcome when Hart’s bombastic acting gets a little too much.
Ultimately Ride Along 2 is that rarest of sequels – one that is better than the original. The increase in action, the addtion of more characters to the core ensemble and some, frankly, funnier jokes and set-pieces actually raises this one way above the first. Way, way above.
If you liked Ride Along you’ll love this sequel. If you didn’t (like me), still give this one a go – it is acutally worthy filler until we hopefully a get Bad Boys 3!
Ride Along 2 is available on Digital HD from 16th May and on Blu-ray and DVD from 30th May.