Or Don’t Ride Along

James Payton (Ice Cube) continues to have doubts about his brother-in-law Ben (Kevin Hart), this after Ben uncovers crime rings, escapes a car chase, and befriends a hacker who unlocks mission critical intel. Ride Along 2 does this for familiarity – adhering to the standard buddy cop scenario whether reasoning exists in the narrative or not.

With the token drug kingpin in place, James and Ben shuffle to Miami, the location shift ill-equipped to hide the logistical similarities. Hart’s identical persona, the bullied and self-depreciating sissy, typecasts the otherwise flamboyant actor. James’ gruff exterior hasn’t been expanded upon either, even with a new love interest. Two movies and character growth has been nill.

… attempts to play the strength of the cast are whisked away by the cliché avalanche.

Ride Along 2 plays close to genre lines. Angry police captains, suave villains, needless shoot-outs; attempts to play on the cast’s strengths are whisked away by the cliché avalanche. A strike of innovation sees a car chase shift between live action and videogame, a nonsense apology for the litany of stereotypes thrown by the first Ride Along. It’s difficult to find the words for something this derivative.

For two movies, the loss remains Kevin Hart. On screen, the comedian shares billing. Studios appear unwilling to let him loose. He tagged in Will Ferrell for some failed social perspective in Get Hard and he’s following Ride Along 2 with Central Intelligence. There, he’s partnering with Dwayne Johnson in another buddy clone – as the same character. Someone get Hart a career life jacket before it’s too late.

Ride Along 2 Blu-ray screen shot 2

Video

Universal transfers the digital source cleanly to Blu-ray. Ride Along 2 is quite attractive, boasting vivid color as the scenery changes to beachside. Saturation holds firm. A nighttime stakeout drifts toward blue safely – primaries are still evident.

Ride Along 2 takes a hard line toward image density. Contrast stays on the high-end, with exceptional brightness under the Miami skyline. After sunset, black levels showcase their depth. Pure black is common and shadow details remain.

Camerawork picks up plentiful facial definition, medium shots as adept as those in close. Fidelity produces exquisite fine detail. Scenery is a show-off too, capturing the best Florida can offer. Combine everything with color and contrast, Ride Along 2 proves immediately capable of high-energy images.

Excuse a few action shots. You’ll notice noise in those brief moments, likely completed with off-the-shelf GoPros. The rest of the disc is free of noise.

Audio

Inconsistent, the attached DTS-HD mix tends to skip the low-end. A car explosion on city streets – despite creating a sizable fireball – contains no bass. Oddly, when some fuel canisters flare up later, those do well to add rumble to the room. Same goes for aggressive club music.

Gunfire spreads wide through the soundfield, if lacking any particular quality. The small pop from the sub on each shot linked to the ping of stereo/surround use is competent. Ride Along 2’s car chase allows the mix to display aggression too. The blockbuster polish is missing though.

Extras

Overstuffed extras require two menu pages. Few of these features excel. Director Tim Story’s commentary starts, six deleted scenes (one of them an extended scene) are next. Ride Along With Us runs less than two minutes – a comedic PSA for the Atlanta PD – and somehow necessitates its own 90-second making of later on the disc. Don’t expect many laughs on the censored gag reel either.

Ride Along Roundtable becomes the stand-out with Story, Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, and a producer discussing their work. At 15-minutes, this is the longest bonus aside from seven on-set diaries which run 20. Featurettes on the leads, new characters, and the car chase reach six minutes each. Ride Along with Kevin Hart spends five minutes with viewers as they’re taken through his day on set.

  • Movie
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Summary

Kevin Hart needs a new character before he’s typecast into his Ride Along form because these two movies fail his comedic talents terribly.

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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.