A couple of years ago, Tim Story’s Ride Along came out of nowhere and made a pretty hefty sum of money thanks mostly to Kevin Hart’s rising star at the time. Ride Along was not a good film. It was loud and manic and plotted with the precision of a jackhammer. But its financial success guaranteed a sequel, while its pedigree guaranteed a film destined to suffer from all the worst tendencies of sequels, right down to going to Miami, the movie-sequel capital of the world. And even then, it’s just the same damn movie with some extra money thrown at.
This time around, no-nonsense Atlanta cop James (Ice Cube) and his soon-to-be brother-in-law — and clumsy, loudmouthed goober — Ben (Kevin Hart) head to Miami to take down a drug lord (Benjamin Bratt, who’s still apparently in movies, so good for him). Much like the first film, James and Ben just don’t get along, even though the entirety of Ride Along existed so this odd couple could see eye-to-eye and learn to be friends or whatever. So now the film’s back where it started, though this time the duo has to figure out how to be future family — but in Miami. And with Ken Jeong and Olivia Munn as crack cops teaming up with James and Ben. Nothing like Ken Jeong, Olivia Munn and Benjamin Bratt to get you all excited about a sequel. Of course, the thing still topped the box office, so expect Ride Along 3 with Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Chad Lowe and, like, Dick Van Dyke in 2018.
Regardless, much of the film and your enjoyment is going to land on how you feel about Kevin Hart, since Ice Cube is given little to do beside furrow his brow. I’ve had a strange cinematic relationship with Hart, because every time I start to like him he puts out three movies in a row that give me migraines. Ride Along 2, of course, is one of these films, the type that let’s him be shrill and indulge in hoary physical comedy. The film not only indulges in the cliches of the buddy-cop drama, but falls into its own cliches, ones it created in the first film. And it’s unfortunate, too, because Hart can be likable at times and at this point deserves some better roles to come his way) — it’s just that these movies are climbing to the top of the box office. This one has guns and explosions and car chases. Then again, it’s the January film season, so I’m not sure what I was expecting. Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, sexual content, language and some drug material.