Ride Along 2
dir Tim Story
scr Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
prd Ice Cube, Matt Alvarez, Larry Brezner, William Packer, JC Spink
with Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong, Benjamin Bratt, Tika Sumpter, Sherri Shepherd, Bruce McGill, Michael Rose, Arturo del Puerto, Carlos Gomez, Tyrese Gibson
release US 15.Jan.16, UK 22.Jan.16
16/US Universal 1h42
Ride Along 2
On the Beach: Cube and Hart

munn jeong bratt
See also:
Ride Along (2014)
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Ride Along 2 It's difficult to imagine, but this sequel is even lazier than the original, falling back on ill-conceived action and lame slapstick every time the plot gets stuck in a corner. Characters are inconsistent and unlikeable, the violence is casually shrugged off as if it's just part of a video game, and women are only on hand to leer at. Even so, Kevin Hart finds a few inspired moments.

A week before now-rookie Atlanta cop Ben (Hart) marries Angela (Sumpter), he begs to go on a high-stakes trip to Miami with Angela's tough-detective brother James (Cube). Working with feisty local cop Maya (Munn), they hunt down a hacker (Jeong) in danger because he has stolen cash from noted philanthropist Antonio (Bratt), who's actually running a global smuggling operation and bumping off anyone who gets in his way. A series of heists, stakeouts, shootouts, car and boat chases ensue, although nothing goes remotely as planned.

Ben is the kind of stock character (the dork who has flashes of real genius) that the screenwriters could have a lot of fun with. But they can't be bothered. With a gifted chatterbox like Hart, witty dialog goes a long way in making him a guy to cheer for. But no, while Hart does his thing with impeccable timing, dopey charm and some moments of (clearly improvised) hilarity, the script undercuts him at every turn, resorting to cheap gags and eye-rollingly inane action beats.

Cube stands at the side and rolls his eyes at this, scowling to remind the audience that James is mean and scary. He's even less engaged in the contrived romance with poor Munn, who's asked to strut and flex in a series of revealing outfits while the filmmakers try to convince us that she's a strong, independent woman. But the armies of bikini-clad babes in the background betray their real agenda. Yes, virtually everything about this film is vaguely offensive, including Bratt's cliched Latino baddie and Jeong's goofy Asian nerd.

Director Story leaves each action set-piece feeling limp and pointless, missing any chance to punch the verbal or visual comedy. It's produced to a high standard, with big explosions, car crashes and gunplay. But it's assembled with neither originality nor skill. Audience members may crack a smile now and then, but only the most undemanding of them will find a reason to giggle.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 20.Jan.16

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