“Today is your training day!”– Ice Cube as James Payton
What’s good: Exciting stunts and some of the comedy is funny.
What’s not good: Most of the jokes are only mildly amusing.
What happened: Buddy Cop films like ‘Lethal Weapon’ and ‘Rush Hour’ are so great because they have that perfect mix of great comedy and exciting action that keeps audiences clamoring for more. While some films tried to emulate this formula and failed (see ‘Tango & Cash’), audiences continue to wait for the next big hit to come out. ‘Ride Along’ may not be as amazing as these were, but it certainly is worth checking out.
High School security guard Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) dreams of becoming a real cop someday. Until then, he spends most of his time playing video games online. Nicknaming himself ‘The Black Hammer’, Ben has an amazing memory that allows him to recall small details that most people miss. His gorgeous girlfriend Angela (Tika Sumpter) is truly in love with him and waits for a proposal. All she wants is for Ben to get her brother’s blessing before they can get married. He has no idea that doing so will be much harder than he ever expected.
James (Ice Cube) is a hard man to get along with. This Atlanta PD detective doesn’t trust anyone and holds grudges seemingly forever. He is also extremely protective of his little sister Angela. James has become obsessed with finding a criminal mastermind that no one even believes exists. He knows Ben will never be right for his sister and creates an ingenious plan to break them up. Ben must endure the ride along from hell in order to prove he is worthy of Angela and help James bring down an elusive killer before he gets away.
‘Ride Along’ is an above average comedy that offers a quite a few nice stunts to boot. The opening action sequence when Ice Cube chases bad guys through the streets of downtown Atlanta was a great way to get the movie started. Ice Cube’s straight-faced gruff exterior was the perfect complement to Kevin Hart’s silly humor. Their chemistry seemed perfectly fit in every scene. Love him or not, Kevin Hart was really good in this film. One of his best scenes was when he tried to get James out of trouble near the end. Another was when he and James entered into a strip club to bring down a couple of gun toting villains. He is funny throughout and delivers a couple of classic lines too.
‘Ride Along’ was funny but it still felt like there was something missing. It was very predictable and most of the jokes did not work. Sadly, there are only a few moments where you will laugh out loud. Adding more scenes with funnier dialogue would have made this movie so much better. It also would have been great to explore James’ reason for wanting to hunt down the villain so much. This would have provided the depth this character needed to make audiences become more engrossed in the film.
Bottom Line: If you are a big fan of Kevin Hart’s comedy and Ice Cube’s tough persona then ‘Ride Along’ is perfect for you. Otherwise, you can wait until it becomes a rental.
Rating: PG-13 Run time: 1 hour, 39 minutes
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