Two years on from the release of the first Ride Along, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart are back in the sequel that no one asked for. Ben Barber (Hart) is now a Cop a month removed from the academy and still engaged to James Payton’s sister Angela played by Tika Sumpter. Whilst Payton (Cube) is still the Detective who thinks Barber doesn’t have what it takes to be a Cop. Together Payton and Barber have to go to Miami to hunt down A.J. played by Ken Joang who is wanted in connection with a drug deal gone wrong.
A lot of the problems with Ride Along 2 are similar to the problems of the first film, its just largely forgettable. Hart, since the first Ride Along feels like he is playing the same character in every single film he is in, and he is no different here. He tries too hard to make up for Cube’s lack of personality, which at times borders on irritating.
Whilst Ice Cube isn’t really given much to do as Payton, except stand around and criticize Barber which makes the character very one-dimensional and unlikable.
The lack of chemistry, which was at times there in the original, is more apparent in its sequel; their conversations come across as forced and awkward.
Olivia Munn was shoehorned in as a love interest for Cube’s Payton, again she was underserviced with not much to do except bring sex appeal, her relationship with Cube felt forced.
The direction from Tim Story isn’t that great. At times performances were wooden particularly from Olivia Munn and Ice Cube. The script written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi felt lazy and full of beats you will have seen many times before from other, better buddy-cop films.
Ken Joang is great as A.J. the computer hacker who Barber and Payton have to track down in Miami. He provides some of the best laughs in the whole film. A scene in particular that stands out is with Hart, where A.J. arranges to meet up discreetly at a beach, easily the funniest scene the film has to offer and was largely thanks to Joang’s brilliant comedic timing.
Also Benjamin Bratt also hold’s his own as the film’s main antagonist Antonio Pope. Some of the script’s best dialogue was from him playing a villain that was instantly unlikable.
Whilst Ride Along 2 is not the worst film, it’s very forgettable. Full of cliché’s repeating too many beats from the first film; it feels lazy and phoned in. Hart tries almost too hard at times to be funny and a lot of the time it comes across as irritating, trying to make up for Cube’s laid-back demeanor in most situations. If you liked the first Ride Along, you likely will like this, however as someone who wasn’t a fan of the original, this reviewer can’t recommend it.