The movie, Ride Along, is just what it should be: a comedy that’s just plain funny. Sure, the film is predictable, with the same Hollywood formula of cop and “wanna” be cop. If the viewer hangs on long enough, though, the ride is well worth it.
Kevin Hart as Ben plays an expert online gamer who goes by the name of Black Hammer. He uses his moniker to try to impress his girlfriend, Angela, who takes it all in stride. The gamer wants to get more serious with Angela, and applies and is accepted by the Atlanta, Georgia, police academy.
Her brother James, played by Ice Cube, is the straight man to Hart’s funny guy. James is a seasoned detective and is not too keen on Ben making it into the force. He and his cop buddies prank Ben by going on annoyance calls typically directed to rookie cops. According to James, no one is good enough to marry his sister.
On a police call, James riles Ben up to go after a drunk man having a meltdown in the farmer’s market. Both Ben and the drunk end up going down on the floor in a blaze of honey. Does Ben quit? No, he just has to go on one last call.
Ice Cube does a good job being the overprotective brother to his sister, Angela, and makes a good straight guy. Hart alternately plays the crazy brave cop and the hysterical rookie type, with not much else in between. He has heart, though, and is concerned that James does not trust him as a partner.
In the end, Ride Along is just what a comedy should be: darn funny. Ben saves his potential brother-in-law’s life and vice versa. As the criminals that James is seeking have their final battle during a gun running operation, Ben reverts to gamer mode, tossing grenades at exactly the appropriate time, and finding bullet clips on the ground as if they were left there by the game’s creator. Ben certainly earned his platinum level rating in the cyber game world.
Laurence Fishburne is the marvelous “ghost” criminal, Omar. Fishburne is cool and cruel, and calls Ben out when he impersonates him. John Leguizamo plays a brother cop, with his own secret agenda.
Even Ben’s cyber playmates help at one point, as they overhear Angela being threatened by Omar and his henchmen through Ben’s game headset. As Ben is incapacitated, James takes “Assman’s” call and he and Ben team up to rescue his sister.
Ride Along has enough fun to allow a sequel, just not with the same players or even the same dynamics between James and Ben. Maybe a caper during his honeymoon, after his marriage to Angela. Hopefully, James will have gotten over some of his trust issues by then.
Tim Story wrote and directed Ride Along. He previously directed Fantastic Four, Barbershop and Think Like a Man.
Ride Along is just what it should be: funny. Ice Cube and Kevin Hart have chemistry as partners in fighting crime.
By Lisa M Pickering