Ride Along 2: Film Review

It is not necessary for you to have watched Ride Along to be able to follow the second installment of this franchise. In part, because it is meant purely as mindless entertainment and unlike many spy or adventure sequels, not much of the second movie’s story line needs to be decoded from the first one. On the other part, it is because watching the second movie is like watching the first one all over again.
In String Along – I mean … Ride Along 2, Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) has just graduated from a police academy and is eager to begin his career as a detective. He is marrying James Payton’s (Ice Cube) sister, Angela (Tika Sumpter), but James cannot think of a worse candidate to marry his sister, let alone make it as a detective. So, in the first movie, you have James, who does not think that Ben has got what it takes to be his brother in law; in the second movie, James does not think Ben has what it takes to be a detective. And in both movies, you get a police versus criminal situation where a story unfolds through a series of bizarre events proving there is indeed some sort of twisted method to Kevin Hart’s character madness.
To be fair, with Hart being one of the leading characters, you would be a bit of a dimwit if you did not at least expect the movie to be anything but wacky. So do not watch it for the plot; it is purely a collection of crazy stunts and punch lines intended for laughs and silly amazement.
This movie does give off some reflections of other well-known franchises, though, subtracting yet another point from its novelty factor. With an appearance by Tyrese Gibson in the beginning, flashy cars, criminal busts and things that go boom!, it is almost like Fast and Furious meets Rush Hour. With his big mouth and audacious stunts, Kevin Hart is more like a shorter Chris Tucker with punch lines that appeal to the younger millennial generation.
Ken Jeong, another favourite in these wacky comedies, also gets a role but his character, A.J., is more downplayed than usual; a good move on the director’s part, avoiding a clash of characters between two well-known comedians.
Another unsurprising element of the movie (that can be explained away) is Ice Cube’s bad acting. First of all, I have to point out the irony in his role as a detective, since he is known for his “screw the police” attitude. The script writers certainly leech off the irony, with Ice Cube’s trademark scowls and corny hip hop one-liners. But, Ice Cube jokes aside – the characters are interesting and are scripted well together. They will make you laugh. If you just keep in mind that Ride Along 2 is not a masterpiece, but it is not a bad movie either, you will be fine. Do not walk into the cinema expecting to be blown away by an original story because the plotline is very easy to anticipate as it progresses. So if you overanalyse it, you will hit a wall. But it is a breather from the more drama intense films that are out at the moment.
In all honesty, you are definitely guaranteed some quick and easy laughs, but be prepared to forget the movie not long after you have walked out of the cinema.