Ice Cube and Kevin Hart bring out the best in each other, for sure this time.
And that makes Ride Along 2 better than its predecessor, which was a pretty good buddy movie in the first place.
We find Hart’s Ben Barber and Cube’s James Peyton a week away from officially becoming brothers-in-law in this action-comedy hybrid sequel to the 2014 original. Ben’s a rookie on the police force, itching to become a detective partner to the man whose sister he’s about to marry.
Directed by Tim Story and co-written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (original screenplay writer Greg Coolidge settles for a “based-on-characters-by credit this time around), with the original premise of Mismatched Fellows already firmly established, this one’s more quickly and easily able to shift into an interesting plot filled with more believable characters played by solid actors.
A lead points from Atlanta to Miami, and Ben begs James to take him as part of the team. James steadfastly refuses for the good of the rookie — until his sister asks him to budge as a secret favor.
Tika Sumpter returns as tolerant and too-beautiful-for-Ben wife-to-be Angela, and Bruce McGill is back as the leery lieutenant, and both comfortably move the proceedings right along.
But it’s the trio of newcomers that lift this above the original. Benjamin Bratt is wonderfully creepy as the villainous Miami businessman, and Olivia Munn is aggressively stupendous as a strong Miami detective. Ken Jeong somewhat reigns in his famous eccentricity as a hacker who balances between evil and good, and is far more likable for the effort.
Yes, Ben still tries too hard to make James love and respect both him personally and his police work as they travel from Atlanta to Miami on the case, and yes, James still tries too hard to poo-poo anything good that comes from Ben’s efforts.
But Hart and Cube know how to do this in a way that appeared agreeable to all in the Saturday matinée crowd at the Regal Cinemas theater in Syracuse mega shopping, dining and entertainment complex Destiny USA. Chuckles abounded. And there may have been a happy sigh or three when the wedding scene came around. The Brothers-in-Law, indeed.
Whose style do you prefer, Kevin Hart or Ice Cube, and why? Do you recall a sequel you liked better than the original? Which supporting actor do you prefer: Ken Jeong, Benjamin Bratt or Olivia Munn, and why?