Ride Along 2 (2 stars)

Ride Along 2

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart return for this perfunctory sequel to the popular action comedy

Despite a distinct laziness in both plot and execution, 2014’s modestly budgeted buddy cop comedy Ride Along wound up taking over $150 million worldwide, making a sequel a foregone conclusion. Fittingly, the follow-up is even less imaginative than the first movie, adhering strongly to the rule of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ – a phrase which could easily have served as the film’s subtitle.

The story makes only minor adjustments to the set-up from the original: this time round, surly Atlanta cop James Payton (Ice Cube) agrees to let fast-talking, accident-prone rookie Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) tag along when he chases up a lead in Miami, hoping that his brother-in-law-to-be will mess up badly enough to get thrown off the force. The investigation soon points to murderous businessman Antonio Pope (Benjamin Bratt) and the pair receive varying degrees of help from computer hacker AJ (Ken Jeong) and local police officer Maya (Olivia Munn).

As before, the film scrapes by on the chemistry between its two bickering leads, with Hart wildly overdoing his hyperactive motor-mouth routine (a little of his shtick goes a very long way) and Cube once again letting his scowl do the acting. On the support side, a gratuitously under-dressed Munn puts in an appealing turn as the no-nonsense Maya, but the hoped-for comic sparks between Hart and Jeong fail to materialise and the latter feels underused as a result.

Unfortunately, Ride Along 2 is never quite as funny as it thinks it is and the closest it comes to an amusing set-piece involves Hart being chased by a largely off-screen alligator. The action sequences are similarly uninspired, though there is a glimmer of originality in a car chase where video game addict Ben sees everything in Grand Theft Auto-style graphics. Even by generic sequel standards, this is painfully complacent stuff, with clearly coasting co-stars and a script that can barely be bothered to stitch its scenes together.

General release from Fri 22 Jan.

Ride Along 2

  • 2 stars
  • 2016
  • US
  • 1h 42min
  • PG
  • Directed by: Tim Story
  • Written by: Greg Coolidge, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
  • Cast: Olivia Munn, Kevin Hart, Ice Cube
  • UK release: 22 January 2016

Surly Atlanta cop James (Cube) takes his bumbling soon-to-be brother-in-law Ben to Miami on the trail of drug dealers. Munn is appealing as a no-nonsense cop but it's all painfully lazy and complacent, and not nearly as funny as it thinks it is.