Ride Along Review
There was a police thriller that came out in 2001 called “Training Day.” It starred Denzel Washington in one of the biggest highlights of his career, as well as Ethan Hawke. I find the film crazily underrated, and I love the film quite a bit. It is dark and grizzly but it’s completely effective. I think director Antoine Fuqua really captured a gritty world of being an undercover police officer and he did it with malice.
I bring “Training Day” up because “Ride Along” is kind of like the comedic “Training Day.” Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) is a high school security guard who just recently got accepted into the Police Academy in Atlanta. Not only is his career coming together, but his relationship with Angela (Tika Sumpter) is really heating up. But Barber has to get the blessing of Angela’s brother James (Ice Cube), who is an undercover police officer for Atlanta. James decides to test Barber to see if he is cut out to be a cop, because if he is, taking care of his little sister should be easy. Barber seems at first like he isn’t cut out for it, until he leads James on the trail to catch one of the biggest criminals in the city.
What makes “Ride Along” vaguely watchable is the work done by Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. I think both men are funny, talented and charismatic and that’s exactly what they needed to be. It also helps that they have outstanding chemistry between each other. They make a very believable team and the audience goes along with them. They share several funny moments together and they are able to make it all wonderful. I also like that Lawrence Fishburne showed up near the end of the film. He doesn’t have a super-huge part, but he really shines in the moments he has and I wish there was more of him. Another long-time favorite John Leguizamo shows up as cop in the police force and he brings unquenchable charm to the screen. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the cast. I feel they all do exactly what they were told to do and there is no fault in that.
The thing is director Tim Story always puts together a good cast, and he always has them do splendid work. The problem with most of Tim Story’s films and the problem with “Ride Along” is he always ties himself into something unimaginable. “Ride Along” is a clichéd, predictable mess, right down from scene to scene. Had the film featured a worse cast, it has been a way-worse movie. It is good that both Kevin Hart and Ice Cube and continually make us laugh, otherwise this would have been hard to sit through. I wasn’t surprised by anything that happened in this movie, I wasn’t particularly thrilled by anything in this movie. “Ride Along” is nothing but light entertainment, fun fluff that you’ll forget about in a day. Too bad, because both Ice Cube and Kevin Hart are worth more.
FINAL GRADE: C+