Ride Along 2
Crime doesn't pay, kids. Oh, sure, you might get away with dastardly dealings for a while. The police might not grab you the instant you tear your first "do not tear off" tag from a pillow in a store. Perhaps you'll manage to rip off 20 or 30 of those tags before the po-po come knocking. Maybe you'll even create a crime empire wherein you hire thugs to tear the tags off for you, and your very name strikes terror into the hearts of bedding salespeople everywhere.
But sooner or later, you'll make a mistake. Police will pull you over for a routine traffic violation and find your glove compartment stuffed with illegally torn tags. Rest assured, Lady Truth and Dame Justice will eventually break down your door and feed you your just desserts—dry and bitter, without even the milk of human kindness to wash them down.
And if you've been really, really bad, they may push you into the back of Ben Barber's squad car and force you to listen to the guy. All the way to jail.
It's not that Ben's a bad person. He's always dreamed of being a police officer. And that, I suppose, shows his commitment to being a good person, right? But once he actually became a cop, thanks to the events of the first Ride Along, he's been perhaps too, um, enthusiastic in his pursuit of law, order and car chases. And, as his soon-to-be-brother-in-law (and Atlanta detective), James, can attest, the guy never stops talking.
So when James is working on a criminal investigation involving a lead that points him toward Miami, and Ben asks if he can (ahem) ride along, James is adamant: No, he says. No, no, nada, never, heavens to Betsy no. Ben's a newbie cop. He'd just get in the way. And, oh yeah, he's annoying.
But when Angela, James' sister and Ben's fiancée, begs James to take Ben with him to the Sunshine State, the detective relents. Perhaps another adventure will show Ben that he's ill-equipped to take down hardened tag-rippers. Perhaps he'll learn that he'd best keep playing with his pretend videogame guns and leave the real detective work to professionals.
Because that strategy worked so well the last time these two guys went for a ride together.
In our book, anyone who makes a career out of keeping the streets safer for the rest of us starts with a star in their do-good column. And Ben, James and other police officers are definitely trying to do that: They go up against a nefarious smuggling operation intent on importing drugs, guns and all manner of other contraband into the country.
And Ben proves surprisingly valuable in that fight against crime. As he risks his life for others—including his not-always-appreciative future brother-in-law—James is eventually forced to acknowledge the quirky gifts Ben brings to the world of law enforcement.
Ben also truly cares for his fiancée, Angela, and she returns his affection. Even when Ben's career looks as if it's been lost somewhere in the Florida swamps, he and Angela profess their love and express confidence that they can survive any crisis as long as they have each other.
When the newly married couple departs their wedding ceremony in a speedboat, the female pastor who's presided over the service says guests should pray for them.
While Ben and Angela make everything official in the end, they're living together before tying the knot. One night before bed, Angela dresses in a sultry version of Ben's police outfit (revealing her black bra and panties). Suggestive imagery in that scene involves his nightstick and handcuffs, and later we see the cuffs on his wrist.
James has accepted that Ben and Angela are sexually active, but it still makes him uncomfortable. So when Ben talks about "getting busy" with Angela on their honeymoon, James asks him to stop. Another grimace comes when Ben and Angela discuss getting their thongs mixed up. And when they pick up a "person of interest" in Miami—a hacker named A.J.—the hacker tries to exploit James' evident discomfort that Ben and his sister are having sex.
A.J.'s own sex life is much more salacious. When audiences first see him, he's having a video chat with a woman clad in a bathrobe, bra and panties. Later in the chat she's wearing an animal costume, and she wriggles her furry behind at the camera as A.J. practically drools. He later shows up at massive nightclub party where most of the women seem to be on intimate terms with him. A.J. allows his head to be squished between two sets of breasts. One of his secret passwords uses letters and symbols that, again, look like a pair of breasts. Some of the ringtones on his phone are snippets of raunchy songs.
Several scenes feature women walking about in bikinis and revealing clothing. James and Ben visit what appears to be a bikini store stuffed to the gills with models flaunting the store's wares. (Ben dubs it "Costco for supermodels.") Female detective Maya engages in an alluring dance with a suspect. (His hand brushes against much of her body and rests on her rear.) We also hear verbal references to strippers, incest and being sodomized in prison.
Several people are shot, often more than once (though there's very little blood). Some die, while others are saved by protective vests. A car rambles through a concrete barrier and plunges from an upper floor in a parking garage. (The man inside is bloodied, but alive.) Another car explodes during a chase scene. A bomb blows up still another vehicle. Flammable barrels spectacularly combust.
During a car chase, Ben falls into a videogame-like "zone," wherein the real world around him turns into a pixelated, Grand Theft Auto-like environment. Cars flip and smash and guns are fired during the surreal chase scene. Ben's digital doppelganger also gets assaulted, then "killed" by an old lady with a baseball bat and a gun.
Maya and James manipulate "soft tissue" areas of the body (in the small of the back and on the shoulder), causing great pain to their subjects. Guards are knocked unconscious. Several people are slugged in the face. Ben gets knocked off a chair by a ceiling fan, and he hits several (apparently metal) buoys after falling out of a speedboat. Bullets pepper a nightclub and shatter bottles of booze. Someone threatens suicide if he's taken to prison. An officer suggests slicing someone's hamstrings. Someone is attacked by a huge alligator, losing a shoe in the process.
Crude or Profane Language
Two f-words and nearly 30 s-words. God's name is misused at least 15 times, most of those followed by "d--n," and Jesus' name is abused once. We frequently hear "a--," "d--n" and "h---," along with more sporadic uses of "b--ch" and "p-ss."
Drug and Alcohol Content
Characters drink tequila, brandy, whiskey, martinis and other forms of alcohol. The movie's main bad guy is trying to smuggle drugs into the country, and we glimpse what seems to be a bag of recovered cocaine.
Other Negative Elements
James feigns needing to vomit. A.J. tricks Ben into eating hair-infested nachos from a trashcan. Even though the police are the heroes in Ride Along 2, the closing credits ironically roll to KRS-One's song "Sound of Da Police," which refers to a policeman as a "wicked overseer" and a "beast" and suggests that dealing with the police is no better than being enslaved.
Perhaps it's unrealistic to believe that every tag-ripping malcontent might be punished by Ben Barber. Sure, the guy's pretty frenetic, but he can hardly be expected to talk the ear off of every caged criminal, can he?
But maybe watching this movie would be punishment enough.
I suppose some may love Ride Along 2. But for me, comedian Kevin Hart's crude and raunchy motormouth shtick is wearing thin. There's no moral here, no message, no real reason for this movie to exist other than to make Universal Pictures money and to try to coax the cheapest of laughs from its paying customers.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Ice Cube as James Payton; Kevin Hart as Ben Barber; Tika Sumpter as Angela Payton; Benjamin Bratt as Antonio Pope; Olivia Munn as Maya; Ken Jeong as A.J.; Bruce McGill as Lt. Brooks; Michael Rose as Gates; Sherri Shepherd as Cori
January 15, 2016
April 26, 2016