Kevin Hart plays a High School security guard named Ben that is dating Angela, played by Tika Sumpter. Her brother James is played by Ice Cube. He is a Police Detective who thinks Ben is a loser and not good enough for his sister. Ben has applied to the Police Academy and hopes to get James’ respect when he becomes a cop. James offers to let Ben do a ride along in hopes of discouraging him from joining the Academy. He sets up the ride along so Ben will fail. In the middle of all this James gets a chance to solve a case he’s been working on for years.
When it comes to Buddy Cop movies I think just about everything that can be done has already been done, so it’s hard not to use the same clichés over and over. You would think that using 4 writers, Ride Along would have come up with at least one new idea. They did not. They went straight down the check list of things that all these movies have. You always have a ticked off Captain that is sick of the hero “playing by his own rules” and threatens to suspend him even though his case clearance record makes the Captain look like a genius. There is always a high speed chase through a crowed city where traffic normally moves 3 feet every 15 minutes. Backup is never wanted and if it is requested it always arrives after everything is over. One of the heroes at some point winds up tied to a chair in an abandoned warehouse. His escape from said warehouse, orchestrated by his partner, triggers both a huge explosion and a resolution to whatever conflict he and his partner had. As soon as they escape they discover a loved one is being held hostage by the villain. One Hero passes up the opportunity to immediately shoot the villain and instead chooses to have a long drawn out conversation with the villain about what will happen if he touches one hair on this loved one’s head. This conversation ends with our hero agreeing to put down his gun, which happens to be the only chance he has to save himself and the loved one.
The villain does not take this opportunity to immediately kill the guy that has been chasing him the entire movie and get away, but continues the conversation until the partner, suffering from severe injuries incurred during the warehouse escape/explosion, overpowers the verbose villain.
This is the formula for 95% of all Buddy Cop movies. What makes a great Buddy Cop movie is the chemistry between the two people and great dialog. Ride Along sadly has neither. Ice Cube’s constant scowl didn’t match with Kevin Harts’ high energy, non-stop, rapid fire delivery. I’m a huge Kevin Hart fan but the lines they wrote for him did not work. The only bright spots are when he goes off script. There is a reason this came out the second week of January. If you give it a couple of weeks you can pick it up at Red Box. Or as I like to call it, Blockbuster Kryptonite.
Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content and strong language. 100 minutes run time.
My Score: 2 Buds
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