Every once and a while, a movie comes along that defies all expectations and breaks out as a pleasant surprise. The original Ride Along wasn’t one of those movies. It was basically just the poor man’s Rush Hour, which was already the poor man’s Bad Boys, which was already the poor man’s Lethal Weapon. In other words, it was basically just every other buddy cop movie ever made. Nevertheless, it was still a big hit and now we’re stuck with Ride Along 2.
As expected, this utterly pointless sequel is every bit as predictable as its predecessor. The only difference is that now the clichés are twice as painful to sit through. It’d be one thing if Ride Along 2 were self-aware like 22 Jump Street. Yet, the movie seems blissfully unaware that it’s a lazy retread that serves no purpose other than to make money. Either that or the filmmakers just didn’t care.
One person who clearly doesn’t give a crap is Ice Cube, who completely phones his performance in as Detective James Payton. Kevin Hart continues to waste whatever talent he has as Ben Barber, James’ soon-to-be brother-in-law and wannabe partner. Since the cast and crew wanted a trip to Florida, the plot takes the guys to Miami to catch a stick-in-the-mud drug lord (Benjamin Bratt). The two team up with Olivia Munn as an attractive, tough lady cop who has no personality outside of being an attractive, tough lady cop. They also cross paths with a hacker played by Ken Jeong, who was funny in one Hangover movie, had a few good moments on Community, and has been horribly annoying in everything else.
Just to give you an idea of how little effort was put into the screenplay, Ride Along 2 consists of at least three car chases and a bonus on-foot chase. None of them are humorous or inventive, playing more like footage from a video game. Actually, one of the car chases here is in fact animated like a video game. Given how hilarious the Grand Theft Auto franchise can be, this sequence could have amounted to something clever. Even when a golden opportunity stares director Tim Story in the face, though, he fails to take advantage of it.
As for the rest of the film’s hijinks, we get plenty of race jokes, animal attack jokes, gross-out jokes, and uninspired slapstick. The cast has no chemistry, the one-liners never score a laugh, everybody is a cheap stereotype, and the film is essentially a giant comedic dead zone. So why do I get the sinking feeling that Ride Along 2 is going to make a ton of money? Why do I get the sense that some audiences are actually going to defend it as a good movie? Maybe people simply don’t mind seeing the same old thing over and over again. All I can tell them is that there are bigger, better things out there. Please seek them out and prevent Ride Along 3 from getting the green-light.