Ride Along 2 Blu-ray Review
The last time $135 million worth of audiences saw James Payton and Ben Barber, the former had given the latter his blessing in marrying his sister. Barber was also not far off from graduating the police academy.
This time around, Ben (Kevin Hart, GET HARD) is one week out of the academy, meaning James (Ice Cube, recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of N.W.A.) is going to keep him in the surveillance van rather than take him to the actual scene. This seems fair enough since he’s a rookie, but Ben can’t help but interfere, showing up in about the most obnoxious way possible. Through convenient circumstances involving James’ injured partner (although Ben would say he’s not his real partner) and Ben’s fiancée (Tika Sumpter, the HBO movie BESSIE), James brings his future brother-in-law to work on a case in Miami.
In Miami, the partners are investigating the activities of Antonio Pope (Benjamin Bratt, who has spent the last few years providing voices for movies like DESPICABLE ME 2 and the STV JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AND MONSTERS), who is highly regarded in the city since he’s projected himself as a prominent philanthropist. In actuality, Pope is a drug lord bent on, um, giving James and Ben a new antagonist to deal with…
RIDE ALONG 2 is the sequel to, well, RIDE ALONG. This attempt is again directed by Tim Story (THINK LIKE A MAN/TOO) and written by half of the team that wrote the first RIDE ALONG. The question is, Is RIDE ALONG 2 as good as its predecessor? It’s safe to say that those who were amused by the first will certainly enjoy the sequel. Really, there isn’t a whole lot that’s different two years later.
Those behind RIDE ALONG 2 can easily trick the intended audience (those that enjoyed the first) into thinking that something new is happening—there are the additions of Ken Jeong (as a hacker who acts like he has seen too many Ken Jeong movies) and Olivia Munn (as a local detective), as well as the location change from Atlanta to the Magic City. But it’s more of the same—the same banter, the same hyper behavior (on the part of Hart, of course), the same sorta-kinda tough-guy behavior that’s a far cry from the attitude of BOYZ N THE HOOD (on the part of Cube, of course) and the same buddy cop comedy tropes. Still, this will all be fine for the target crowd, who won’t care that nearly nothing has been expanded upon.
Aside from this, the largest issue is the same one that the first RIDE ALONG had: the PG-13 rating. Both Hart, who is one of the most charismatic actor-comedians working today, and Cube work better when they’re allowed to contribute to an R rating (even the soundtrack, namely the 50 Cent song, is censored here). By limiting them, it restricts any potential the movie(s) could have had and informs the audience that they won’t be getting what they could.
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Details are strong, colors are healthy (and sometimes loud) and the overall image is slick.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish DTS Digital Surround 5.1; French DTS Digital Surround 5.1. Subtitles in English, Spanish and French. Dialogue is clear and the sound effects (from gunshots to explosions) during the more action-oriented scenes come through with full effect.
Feature commentary with director Tim Story: Story offers a decent track, but it could have benefited greatly with the help of Kevin Hart and Ice Cube.
Ride Along with Us (1:48): The characters of James Payton and Ben Barber try to promote the Atlanta Police Department. A companion piece, Behind the Scenes of Ride Along with Us (1:24), offers outtakes.
The RIDE ALONG Roundtable (15:52): Story, Ice Cube, Kevin Hart and producer Will Packer sit down to discuss working on this sequel.
The Ride Diaries (20:28) collects seven featurettes which detail various parts of the movie and production. They can be viewed separately or as a whole and are: “The First Days,” “The Tribute,” “The Bachelor Party,” “The Opening Sting,” “The Alligator Scene,” “The Wedding Day” and “The Final Showdown.”
Kevin & Cube: Brothers-in-Law (6:52): The dynamic between the stars is put under the spotlight.
The New Recruits (6:21) covers those joining the cast for the sequel, including Ken Jeong, Benjamin Bratt and Olivia Munn.
Inside Black Hammer Vision (3:24) looks at the use and making of the video game-inspired car chase.
Ride Along with Kevin Hart (5:26): Hart is shown on the set being the life of the party.
Cori’s Wedding Commercial (1:36) shows the wedding planner’s pitch.
Deleted Scenes (TIME): There are 8:40 here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Ben Tries to Sneak by Angela,” “My Neck Donut,” “Enter the Club,” “The Impound Lot,” “Your Drunk Husband” and “Extended Bar Scene.”
Gag Reel (3:47)