Ride Along Blu-Ray Review
RIDE ALONG really reminds me a lot of the RUSH HOUR trilogy. Put two opposites together and watch the mishaps that happen while they fight crime. Just like in RUSH HOUR, there’s some obvious chemistry between our two male leads, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, but unlike RUSH HOUR, director Tim Story failed to recognize enough of it and instead forced these two into unnecessary comedic scenarios that are unbecoming of the duo. With some better jokes, I could have easily overlooked how weak the story is for RIDE ALONG.
Ben (Hart) is a video game junkie who for some reason feels like he would make a fantastic cop because of his first person shooter knowledge. Instead of being one of the boys in blue, he’s a high school security guard who draws respect from students by being verbally intimidating. Outside of that, he’s a fairly pathetic individual. He’s currently seeing the voluptuous Angela (Sumpter). A woman who is so out of his league, you agree with her brother James (Cube) when he questions what she even sees in him. James is an actual cop and Ben’s future brother-in-law. Ben hopes to get approval for his marriage to Angela and possibly secure a cop job by…yep…you guessed it…a ride along.
I’ll admit that the premise of James using this opportunity to sabotage both the marriage and Ben’s dreams of joining the force isn’t a bad concept. Slap an ‘R’ rating on this and you have more room to work with the talent you got. If you’ve ever seen any FRIDAY movie and Kevin Hart’s stand-up, you know these two would be much better suited with an unchecked mouth and their ability to spout more creative ways to drop their favorite four letter words. Instead Hart is whittled down being the goofy guy that emits high pitched screams when he falls or gets injured. It’s mundane to watch setup after setup of Hart acting in hysterics.
The story itself is quite predictable. So without humor, we begin to poke holes in the script. Halfway through we pick up the mediocre subplot that involves James tracking down a criminal mastermind named Omar. He’s an elusive, unseen criminal that has been plaguing Atlanta for years. While James’ superiors don’t want him on the case anymore, James proceeds to go against his orders to track down Omar…and…you guessed it…Ben comes in handy.
The multiple writer’s behind RIDE ALONG must have all thrown in their own jokes and while some of them land, some of them completely miss their target. Regardless, each one must have had the preconceived notion in their head that most people walking into the theater are ready to laugh at anything Kevin Hart and Ice Cube do. While for most of those watching RIDE ALONG, that is true, people like me will be greatly disappointed. Kevin Hart successfully becomes the next Chris Tucker nobody asked for and Ice Cube could becomes a watered down version of himself.
Other comedic police movies before this have always been successful due to their one liners and little nods at the screen, but RIDE ALONG never does this and instead feels comfortable remaining in the buddy-cop movie pack instead of distancing itself. Even the action in this fails to distinguish from others. To put it bluntly, RIDE ALONG fails in both of those categories. At this moment I’d like to point out that a sequel has already been greenlit. So here’s some advice for you writers currently crafting it. Handle some constructive criticism and make something that is fun, fresh and well paced instead of making me feel like I’m trapped in the backseat with these two.
RIDE ALONG BLU RAY REVIEW
Video: (1080p HD Widescreen 2:40:1) The screen is perfect. I didn’t have to adjust anything for the night time battle shots.
Audio: (English 5.1 DTS-HDMA) While the music can be a bit deafening on a low volume setting, the mixing was done just right.
Alternate Ending (1:42): Don’t let the title fool you. This isn’t a drastic change from the original more than it just feels like a more cheesy, feel good ending
Deleted Scenes (8:23): This is quite a heaping dose of deleted scenes and extended scenes. These scenes feel like they were trimming some unfunny, beginning and end, fat from the movie. I’ll gladly point out a lot of the hefty middle fat they missed. There’s only one scene I’m surprised they edited which involves Ben and James having the closest heart to heart in the movie which would have actually added some depth to their characters.
Alternate Take (1:38): If you want to see what I was hoping this movie would be, this is it. These guys look, feel and actually act funny. This is an alternate take from a car ride scene where they are talking smack to Omar.
Gag Reel (2:59): Seriously, how can the director not see the chemistry between Hart and Cube? These two seem to really bounce comedy off each other and genuine pleasant to watch on their own. This is your typical outtakes feature, but it’s worth a watch.
It was a Good Day on the Set of RIDE ALONG (11:52): A behind the scenes feature that focuses mainly on the story and characters. Most of them gladly talk about the movies they were hoping to make fun of while heaping massive amounts of praise on Hart and Cube as well as Laurence Fishburne.
Kev and Cube’s Wild Ride (5:16): I know I’m beginning to beat a dead horse, but this feature is literally about Hart and Cube’s chemistry. I’m not sure why this couldn’t be lumped in with the previous feature.
You Gonna Learn Today (4:39): Another behind the scenes feature that’s main focus is about Hart. This seems useless since I’ve already spent two features hearing and watching people praise Hart.
Anatomy of the Big Blast (4:50): Without giving away the ending…let’s just say there’s a shootout followed by a massive explosion and this focuses on that sequence. It’s a bit invigorating to watch them put together a non-CGI explosion.
An Explosive Ride (5:08): Besides the warehouse battle, there are multiple fight scenes and that’s what this feature is focusing on. It’s interesting to hear from the stunt people and good to see how enthusiastic some of the stars are about doing their own stunts.
Atlanta: The Character (3:19): While I never felt like they were in Atlanta, this feature would like you to believe they encompassed the essence of the city. This is more interested and talking about the difficulties of filming a movie on actual downtown streets and fans coming by to interrupt shooting.
Feature Commentary with Director Tim Story: Tim Story surprisingly fills up a lot of time talking by himself. Hearing the same voice for over an hour and a half though does feel a bit dry, but I have to give a lot of credit to someone who has no problem talking alone for their commentary.