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Monday, January 25, 2016

Ride Along 2 Review

In "Ride Along 2," Rookie cop Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) wants to impress his future brother-in-law Detective James Payton (Ice Cube) as well as his fiancée Angela (Tika Sumpter). This was the plot of the first "Ride Along" movie, where Ben unexpectedly proved himself. But James dismisses all that as "beginner's luck", so we're all being taken for a "Ride" again.

A high-profile execution leads Ben and James from Atlanta to Miami and to suspected drug lord Antonio Pope (Benjamin Bratt). Along the way they gain the help of Miami detective Maya Cruz (Olivia Munn) and computer hacker A.J. (Ken Jeong).

"Ride Along 2" puts more mileage on the buddy-cop genre, though falls short of the "Lethal Weapon", "Bad Boys", or "Rush Hour" franchises.

With its abundant use of T&A establishing shots and background, it's visually more similar to "Fast & Furious". The main female characters are also little more than eye candy. Instead of a police uniform, Maya wears tight pants and tank tops. She arrives at a crime scene straight from Pilates class, dressed in tights and a sports bra. Angela, who isn't a cop, does wear a police outfit in one scene, albeit a naughty one. The only female character with some good lines is the wedding planner Cori (Sherri Shepherd).

"Ride Along 2" may actually have more in common with video games than movies, not only in its consequence-free, slapstick extremism, but most obviously when one car-chase is rendered as a "Grand Theft Auto" sequence.

Kevin Hart and Ice Cube have an easy chemistry, without which this movie would quickly run out of gas, though it's familiar enough to feel like they're on cruise control. Ken Leong provides little speed bumps of comic relief from the backseat. Benjamin Bratt is an entertaining scenery-chewer as the stereotypically long-winded villain. Tika Sumpter and Olivia Munn succeed in being hot, which is all the script seems to ask of them.

Directed by Tim Story, "Ride Along 2" is the sequel that takes you where you want to go, as long as it's no place special.

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