HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Ride Along 2
HTS Overall Score:81
Strangely enough, weak films can get a sequel anymore if they show any hint of a profit. 2014’s “Ride Along” MUST have shown a profit, because I can’t see any logical reason for it to receive the benefit of a sequel if it hadn’t. Buddy cop films used to be a hot commodity 20 years ago. In fact I’m a huge fan of the genre. “48 Hours”, “Lethal Weapon” (all of them), “Bad Boys”, the list goes on. If done right they can be a lot of fun, even if they do revel in a bit of the cliché and “stupid” level of fun. “Ride Along 2” is very similar to “Ride Along”. By that I mean that it is a completely derivative film that tries to capture the fun and charisma and just plain over the top FUN that the genre has to offer and failing pretty miserably. Ice Cube is perfect for the role (don’t shoot me for that statement), but Kevin Hart is a veritable black hole of awfulness that just can’t seem to fit inside the mold. The humor is juvenile, and the action is weak, leaving the scraps of a semi decent premise that just failed to meet the low level aspirations that it set for itself.
The last time we left the crew, Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) was getting ready to marry Detective James Payton’s sister Angela (Tika Sumpter). Ben is your typical (or really atypical if you think about it) wannabe, with a huge desire to be a copy. Sadly he was just destined for being a security guard. This time around he’s just BARELY squeaked his way through the police academy and is dying to prove himself to his Lt. and to James. Just a week before their wedding, Ben is getting on EVERYONE’s nerves, causing Angela to beg her brother to take Ben with him to Miami so she can get some peace and quiet. While James would normally tell her “touch bananas”, but he knows that Ben is jonesing to be a detective and figures out this is the perfect way to shatter his dreams. Take the rookie along for a milk run and rub his face in his own failure.
However, this milk run turns sour real fast when the suspect that they came to Florida to question turns out to be in more trouble than previously thought. A.J. (Ken Jeong), was the tech guru for a Florida crime kingpin named Pope (Benjamin Bratt) who has been moving drugs across the country as well as dipping his fingers into more than a few other pies. The problem is that Pope is pillar in the community and in very tight with the Miami Police department. Together with Detective Maya (Olivia Munn), a veritable female clone of James Payton, the brothers in law have to get down and dirty to capture this drug kingpin AND keep their jobs before the week is out.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=69210[/img]Now, with that being said. It’s pretty obvious that “Ride Along 2” is just coasting along and just regurgitating all the clichés and tropes of the buddy cop genre without any sort of passion or pride in their work. We have the bad guys twirling their mustaches, the rough female cop clone of the main tough guy, assorted nerds and comic relief and the slapstick partner. The problem is that none of this really works and none of it is funny. Ken Jeong is actually surprisingly toned down than his normal over the top self, but that seems to mainly be due to the fact that compared to Kevin Hart he’s almost a straight man. Kevin screams and rages around with an incredible amount of hyperactivity, but nothing he does manages to be endearing. Even Ice Cube is fairly lost here, playing the tough guy act that he does so well with very minimal results.
“Ride Along 2” isn’t a BAAAAAAAAAAD movie per se, and thankfully isn’t any worse than the first “Ride Along” (usually sequels tend to be weaker than their predecessors, especially with comedies and buddy cop films). However it is nowhere near being a good movie either. The actors don’t mesh well, the action is rather mediocre and the comradery that MAKES a buddy cop movie work is sadly absent. The slick and stylish looking film is fairly heartless, but I will admit that I had a little bit of fun with the movie. There’s a scene where Kevin Hart goes into “gamer” mode during a car chase that is REALLY funny, and Benjamin Bratt is the perfect bad guy (just with not much to work with).
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, sexual content, language and some drug material
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=69218[/img]Universal has a habit of giving us fantastic looking day and date titles, the original “Ride Along” being no exception. Following in that vein, “Ride Along 2” sparkles and shines at every turn giving us one top notch 2.40:1 AVC encoded image to enjoy in our homes. Shifting from Atlanta to Miami, the colors shine and dazzle with bright neon colors during the club scenes, and richly saturated primary colors in the heat of the Miami day. When shifting to the inky blackness of a club, or night time dock encounter, there is no dip in detail level as the rich colors stand out nicely against the darkness. Shadow detail is crisp and well documented, allowing us to see everything while maintaining a great sense of depth and darkness. Daylight scenes are exceptional, with fantastic detail on everything from the crazy outfits of Ben to the flashy clothing and swimsuits of the Miami residents. There’s a hint of softness in a couple scenes and I noticed one instance of banding, otherwise a flawless transfer.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=69226[/img]Matching the video blow for blow, Universal’s 5.1 DTS-HD MA is an aggressive and bombastic experience that fits very well with an over the top movie like this. The heavy hip hop beats pulsate and rock the low end throughout the film, while gunshots and car chases are filled with a throbbing sense of aggressive power. The cars sound like they were cooked hot and heavy with a roar and LFE accompaniment that is visceral and very impressive for us bass heads. Dialog is always localized in the center channel and nary can a bad word be said about the balance with the rest of the track. Surrounds are active and filled with the hectic car chases and over tom foolery that the “Ride Along” series is known for, and once again. It’s a near flawless encode.
• Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
• Ride Along With Us - Ben & James host a police department’s recruitment video.
• Behind the Scenes of Ride Along With Us - Go behind the scenes as Ben and James go in front of the camera to film their police department recruitment video.
• Kevin & Cube: Brothers-In-Law - One of the secrets behind this franchise’s success is the chemistry between Kevin and Cube… Filled with plenty of jokes, lots of banter, and lots of loving insults, this piece won’t talk about how much they loved each other… it will show it.
• Inside Black Hammer Vision – Bringing Ben Black Hammer’s love for gaming to life with the exciting Miami car chase scenes.
• Feature Commentary with Director Tim Story
• The Ride Along Roundtable
• The Ride Diaries - Go on the set with Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Will Packer, Tim Story and the whole cast & crew and experience the fun, excitement and action involved in creating some of the film’s most dynamic scenes.
• The New Recruits - For this sequel, Tim Story and Will Packer knew that they had to up the ante and push the characters even further. One of their key tactics was to introduce some new players to the cast - Olivia Munn and Ken Jeong.
• Ride Along With Kevin Hart - Kevin Hart is as wild and fast-talking behind the scenes as he is on camera. In this up-close-and-personal piece, we go on the set and inside the trailer with Kevin as he sets up scenes, plays to camera and jokes with other cast members.
• Cori’s Wedding Commercial - As part of the wedding package, Cori was in charge of filming and editing Ben and Angela’s wedding video. Unfortunately, Cori accidentally recorded over the last half of the wedding with a commercial for her business.
“Ride Along” was no bastion of fantastic of film making, and while “Ride Along 2” doesn’t suffer too much sequelitis, it certainly isn’t any better than its predecessor. The gags are just as stupid, the action just as over the top, and Kevin Hart is still one of the most annoying man children known to man. Ice Cube does the “Ice Cube” schtick that he’s known for, and he’s certainly palatable, but as a buddy cop film “Ride Along 2” manages to just limp along at the same mediocre pace that it did 2 years ago. Audio and video are stunning, and really are the best part of the picture AND we get a ton of extras. Something that even better films by exponential amounts don’t even get, so if you’re a fan of the movie or liked the first one, this Blu-ray has the goods. Rental.
Starring: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Ken Jeong, Olivia Munn
Directed by: Tim Story
Written by: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish DTS 5.1
Runtime: 102 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: April 26th 2016
Buy Ride Along 2 On Blu-ray at Amazon
More about Mike