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Tim Story
Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Ken Jeong, Benjamin Bratt, Olivia Munn
Writing Credits:
Phil May and Matt Manfredi

As his wedding day approaches, Ben heads to Miami with his soon-to-be brother-in-law James to bring down a drug dealer who's supplying the dealers of Atlanta with product.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$34,040,000 on 3,175 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
English Descriptive Video Service
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 102 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 4/26/2016

• Audio Commentary with Director Tim Story
• Six Deleted Scenes
• “Ride Along With Us” Featurette
• Gag Reel
• ”Behind the Scenes of ‘Ride Along With Us’” Featurette
• “The Ride Along Roundtable” Featurette
• “The Ride Diaries” Featurette
• “Kevin and Cube: Brothers-In-Law” Featurette
• “The New Recruits” Featurette
• “Inside Black Hammer Vision” Featurette
• “Ride Along with Kevin Hart” Featurette
• “Cori’s Wedding Commercial”
• Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Ride Along 2 [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 19, 2016)

As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, Hollywood used to view January as the time of year to dump movies they figured enjoyed poor commercial prospects, but that attitude no longer exists – at least not to the degree we’d seen for decades. The suits realize people will see films that interest them at any time of year, so they show greater willingness to release potential hits in the erstwhile “graveyard” of January.

One of the films that helped reinforce this paradigm shift, 2014’s Ride Along made nearly $135 million in the US, so with a low $25 million budget, the film turned a tidy profit – and ensured a sequel. 2016’s Ride Along 2 enjoyed another mid-January release date, but came with a higher $40 million budget and weaker US grosses; the sequel peaked at $90 million.

This means it remains to be seen whether or not we’ll get Ride Along 3 in 2018 – and whether or not we should care about a third chapter. I never saw the first film, so I figured this Ride Along 2 Blu-ray gave me a chance to see if the franchise boasts any pleasures I’d missed.

In the original movie, security guard Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) aspired to become a cop and to marry his girlfriend Angela (Tika Sumpter). Even though Ben got into the police academy, Angela’s brother Detective James Payton (Ice Cube) demanded evidence that he’s tough enough to care for her, so he forced Ben to accompany him on a “ride along” to really see life as a cop.

Ben eventually passed this test and bonded with James – to a degree. While the first tale ended happily, James still doesn’t feel fully sure that Ben has what it takes. With the wedding on the horizon, James takes new academy graduate Ben to Miami to follow leads related to drug kingpin Antonio Pope (Benjamin Bratt). Shenanigans ensue as James continues to test Ben.

Why didn’t I see the first Ride Along? With brutal reviews, it didn’t look interesting enough for me to shell out $10, and I didn’t receive a review Blu-ray.

Why did I view Ride Along 2 given the fact it earned virtually identical pans from critics? Simple: Universal offered me a copy of this one, and the franchise’s popularity made me curious to take a look despite the terrible reviews.

Does any term inspire less excitement than “directed by Tim Story”? Probably not, as the director’s nearly 20 years of filmmaking show one forgettable film after another.

Though that may not fit Ride 2, as it falls short of actual mediocrity. I guess the movie could be worse, but it seems so stale and cliché that I find it tough to imagine a less satisfying effort.

If Cube and Hart showed any chemistry in the first movie, it vanishes in Ride 2, as the pair enjoy no connection at all. Cube essentially plays his usual gruff tough guy routine, and Hart overacts relentlessly. He also stays in his comfort zone, but Hart camps it up so much that his natural charm vanishes. At his best, Hart can be an amusing actor, but he does nothing more than grate and annoy here via his absurdly over the top performance.

That said, I empathize with Hart, as I suspect he felt the need to go nuts in an effort to save this listless stinker. Ride 2 comes utterly devoid of inspiration or creativity, as it does nothing more than toss a lot of stale buddy cop notions into a blender and produce a plot-free collection of random sequences.

Perhaps I wouldn’t mind the derivative nature of the effort if any actual amusement resulted. However, even with a reasonably talented cast, not a single laugh emerges here.

Again, the incoherent nature of the film hurts it, and the movie’s total refusal to attempt anything original doesn’t help. Director Story hasn’t met a cliché he doesn’t love, and he seems totally unaware of his lack of creativity. “Tried and true” appears to be Story’s motto, and he couldn’t invest a film with energy if his life depended on it.

I won’t claim that Ride Along 2 squanders great promise, as I suspect that its derivative nature would hamstring it even under the best of circumstances. Unfortunately, no one involved shows any interest in the creation of an original effort. They coast on cliché fumes to deliver a completely uninspired dud.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

Ride Along 2 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I found no problems with this excellent presentation.

Colors veered from a light teal feel to a mild amber impression. These stylistic choices worked fine, as the hues seemed appropriate for the selected palette. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows showed nice clarity.

Sharpness excelled. All shots – wide, close and in-between – provided solid clarity and definition. If any unintentional softness emerged, I didn’t see it. Jaggies and shimmering were absent, and edge haloes weren’t a factor. No signs of source flaws emerged, and I didn’t sense any digital noise reduction. Across the board, this was a pleasing transfer.

Comedies don’t usually boast dynamic audio, but the “cop flick” side of the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack allowed for extra oomph. Music showed nice stereo presence, and a few scenes – usually those in clubs or on the streets - opened up the environment in a reasonably satisfying manner. These gave the soundscape a bit of dimensionality and created a good setting for the events.

Audio quality was solid. Speech always came across as natural and distinctive, with no signs of edginess or reediness. Music sounded lush and warm, while effects – as minor as they were – appeared accurate enough. At no point did this threaten to become a superior soundscape, but it seemed better than average for a film of this sort.

We get a long list of extras here, and these launch with an audio commentary from director Tim Story. He provides a running, screen-specific look at story/characters and deleted scenes, sets and locations, cast and performances, stunts and action, music, effects, and related areas.

At his best, Story provides a chummy chat, one that touches on a decent array of filmmaking areas. However, the commentary tends to feel somewhat superficial, and Story often does little more than narrate the movie. Story makes this a listenable piece but not one with tons of informational value.

Six Deleted Scenes fill a total of eight minutes, 44 seconds. These mix attempts at comedy with some basic exposition. None of them offer anything useful.

A Gag Reel lasts three minutes, 47 seconds and presents a standard mix of goofs and giggles. Given the presence of Kevin Hart and Ken Jeong, I hoped for some improvised comedy bits, and we get a couple, but most of the reel seems lackluster.

A slew of featurettes follow. Ride Along With Us goes for one minute, 48 seconds. This offers a fake public service announcement with the James and Ben characters. It’s a promo piece but it’s fairly entertaining.

Connected to that show, we find the one-minute, 24-second Behind the Scenes of “Ride Along with Us”. It offers outtakes from the promotional clip and seems mildly interesting.

Next comes The Ride Along Roundtable. It runs 15 minutes, 52 seconds and shows a panel discussion with Story, producer Will Packer and actors Kevin Hart and Ice Cube. They cover cast and performances, the impact Story and Packer have on the production, and developments for the sequel. Virtually no real content appears here, as the participants praise everything and everyone without any useful insights. Even when they talk about the influence of race in their work, it feels like fluff.

With The Ride Diaries, we find 20 minutes, 28 seconds of footage from the set. We also get comments from Cube, Hart, Packer, Story, first AD Milos Milicevic, department head makeup Debra Denson, production designer Chris Cornwell, stunt coordinator Jack Gill, dolly grip James Tripp Pair, visual effects supervisors Bjorn Mayer and Scott M. Davids, and actors Olivia Munn, Michael Rose, Sherri Shepherd, Tyrese Gibson, Ken Jeong, Yolanda Adams, Benjamin Bratt, Tika Sumpter and Bruce McGill. These segments look at cast and performances, sets and locations, stunts and action, and related areas. The clips tend to be superficial but they give us occasional nuggets of value.

Kevin and Cube: Brothers-In-Law occupies six minutes, 52 seconds and includes notes from Cube, Hart, Packer, Jeong, Story, and Munn. As expected, “Law” looks at the lead actors. It benefits from a decent amount of behind the scenes footage, but the comments walk down the puffy side of the street.

After this we locate The New Recruits. It lasts six minutes, 21 seconds and features Packer, Hart, Jeong, Munn, Cube, Bratt and Story. It shares the same content, strengths and weaknesses as “Law”.

During the three-minute, 24-second Inside Black Hammer Vision, we hear from Story. We learn the way the film’s car chase was made to look like a video game. Despite its brevity, “Vision” offers some good notes.

Ride Along with Kevin Hart takes up five minutes, 26 seconds and lets us follow the actor through a typical day. “Along” tends toward a silly, comedic tone and lacks much substance.

Finally, we find Cori’s Wedding Commercial. It runs one minute, 36 seconds and shows the Cori character’s advertisement. It offers mild amusement.

The disc opens with ads for Kevin Hart: What Now?, Kindergarten Cop 2, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Race, The Boy, The Forest and Triple 9. No trailer for Ride 2 appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Ride 2. It includes the commentary, the deleted scenes, the gag reel and four of the featurettes.

Maybe someone finds entertainment from the flat, uninspired Ride Along 2, but I don’t. The film lacks even the most rudimentary comedic value and becomes a slow, stale 102 minutes of boredom. The Blu-ray provides excellent visuals as well as very good audio and a fairly superficial roster of bonus materials. Perhaps fans of the original will like Ride Along 2, but I can’t find an iota of amusement here.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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