HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Ride Along
HTS Overall Score:84
We all loved the buddy cop movies of the 80’s and 90’s. They were fun, they were dumb, they explosive and usually had great chemistry. I used to watch “48 hours” and the “Lethal Weapon” series into the ground, and even some of the more obscure ones like “The Hard Way” or “Another 48 hours” were a blast as well. It seems that with “Ride Along” they wanted to bring back that goofy buddy comedy routine, where we got the hard case on one side and the smart mouth sidekick civilian on the other. The only problem is, it just doesn’t work. It’s got a decent premise, and actually a decent budget with some decent action scenes, but Kevin Hart and Ice Cube pretty much destroy the movie (that along with a joke of a script).
We’ve got the classic setup here. Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) is a lowly security guard who’s got dreams of finally getting into the police academy. Unfortunately he’s a bit on the nerdy and, well, “Kevin Hart” side of the personality table so he hasn’t had much luck, until recently. With his acceptance into the Atlanta Police Academy, he’s ready to prove to his soon to be Brother in Law Payton James (Ice Cube) that he’s worthy of Angela’s hand in marriage. Payton has no love for Ben and really wants to scare the young punk off, but Ben’s as persistent as they come. So in a stroke of brilliance, Payton takes Ben along for a Ride Along day, in the hopes of scaring him off the job (and maybe to torment the poor guy as well). Taking every annoying and stupid case that he can get his hands on, Payton takes Ben along for one miserable Ride along, setting him up against bikers, punks, even a few friends in disguise, each and every call making Ben more and more depressed. In the classic buddy cop formula way, Ben finds out about Payton’s agenda and decides to push through in order to impress the soon to be brother in law.
Instead of being comfortable with being a comedy the film stretches its legs and tries to be an action movie as well. It seems that Omar, this mysterious Serbian crime Kingpin has been Payton’s Moby Dick, and for the first time ever he’s finally going to run into him. Only problem is, he’s still go Ben hanging on the skirt tails. Now here’s where Ben has his moment to shine. While Payton is the master of the street, Ben is the master of talking and video games. So when the bullets start flying, Ben turns into the Billy bad boy that he wants to be. Or at least tries to be.
The film has its moments. It’s not a HORRIBLE movie, by any means, but those moments are few and far between. What really kills the movie is the script, and Kevin Hart. I hate Kevin Hart, he was decent in “Grudge Match”, but here he’s at his fast talking worst. Never shutting up he’s got a constant diarrhea of the mouth annoying not only Payton, but everyone who’s watching the movie. The jokes are bad, the one liners make Arnold’s one liners look like Shakespeare and Kevin harts wild animation style just gets really jarring after a while. Ice Cube is ok, but you can tell he’s better at dumb action movies, where he’s unintentionally funny rather than actual comedies. It’s sad to say that the side characters were the best characters in the movie. Lawrence Fishbourne slept walked through the movie, albeit he was only in it for a short time, and John Leguizamo and Bryan Callen carried the film. That is, as much as they could.
Overall the film wasn’t a complete failure, the stylish action sequences were very solid, and for about 20 minutes near the end as Kevin Hart impersonated Omar, we actually had a good time. Up until that point the film just ponders along. As a result the film ends up being very choppy. We’d get a couple of good action scenes, where I’d finally start to get entertained and then we’d end up listening to Kevin Hart screech and scream while Ice Cube plays his normal tough guy/thug role that he does so well. The problem is that the buddy cop genre has been done to death, and not only done to death, but done MUCH better ,with actually GOOD comedians in the role of Ben Barber and true Action stars for the cops. The film trots out all the cliché’s like it knows what they are, but truly fails to grasp what made them great back in the day. So while it had some entertaining moments, It really is just a thruway film that isn’t worth much more than a rental.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, sexual content and brief strong language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=15309[/img]Universal is no stranger to putting out great looking day and date releases, and here is no different. While I don’t like giving out 5/5 scores very often, “Ride Along” fits the criteria with ease. The image just sparkles and pops at every scene, whether it be a richly deep and inky club scene, or the bright cityscape of the Atlanta area. Colors are luscious and rich, ranging from bright city park greens, to the neon reds and pinks of a night club. The contrasts are spot on, no blooming whites or issues there, and the skin tones are very natural and pleasing. The dark scenes are simply beautiful, giving a nice deep inky black level that just feels like you’re in the dead of night, but still able to give us exceptional fine detail. Everything, whether it be night shots or day shots is beautifully detailed and lets the viewer see every drop of sweat or misplaced hair on an overcoat as if they were in the room. The disc has been given a lot of room to breathe and a very health bitrate so you can be sure that there are no digital compression issues here to mess up the viewing experience. Simply flawless in every way.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=15310[/img]Almost on par with the video, Universal’s 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is an aggressive action oriented track that impresses from the get go. The moment we start the film we’re privy to an undercover operation that sends ripples of LFE and ambient noise throughout the room, enveloping you in to the action. While we have a lot of dialogue, the film isn’t just content to let the dialogue take all the credit. The surrounds never stop from 00:00:01 to 1:40:00 as the Atlanta city noises comes from all directions. Punches hit you solidly in the gut, and gunshots make their presence known with authority. The dynamic range is very balanced, giving us explosive action scenes and quite moments in the car without ever needing to adjust that knob once. I truly enjoyed this audio track and wish a lot more films took this much care and effort into its creation. Well done Universal.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=15311[/img]• Feature Commentary with Director Tim Story
• It Was a Good Day — On the Set of "Ride Along"
• Gag Reel
• Atlanta — The Character
• Alternate Ending
• Deleted Scenes
• Alternate Take
• Kev and Cube's Wild Ride
• You Gonna Learn Today
• Anatomy of the Big Blast
• An Explosive Ride
“Ride Along” isn’t an offensive movie, but really just grates on ones nerves if they’re a fan of the buddy cop formula. The film struggles so hard to try and emulate the greats, but never really rises above mediocre, due to poor casting and scripting decisions. I wanted to like “Ride Along”, I’m a big fan of stupid movies that are just FUN, but there was very little fun to be found. It had its moments, but not enough to save the film. The real stars of the film were the exemplary audio and video portions that are certain to please even the most nit picking of people. Rental
Starring: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Tika Sumpter
Directed by: Tim Story
Written by: Greg Coolidge, Jason Mantzoukas
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1
Runtime: 99 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: April 15th, 2014
Buy Ride Along Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It/Possible Rental
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