YOU know a sequel is in trouble when you have not seen the original yet feel like you are watching an unenthusiastic copy and paste of it.
Coasting on the popularity of the first (it was a box office hit in 2014) and the appeal of the odd coupling of its lead actors Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, Ride Along 2 is an excruciatingly unfunny cop buddy film more stale than two-week-old bread.
Atlanta detective James Payton (Cube) and rookie cop Ben Barber ( Hart) head to Miami (a thinly veiled excuse for shots of bikini-clad hotties) to take down a drug dealer whose product is making its way to their turf.
The timing of the case is not the best with Ben’s marriage to James’ sister Angela (Tika Sumpter) just days away, but the bumbling former security guard needs to prove himself (again) to his future brother-in-law.
It appears little effort has been put into making this sequel, as it relies predominantly on Hart’s manic behaviour juxtaposed with Cube’s stone-faced expression, which one could safely assume the first one already did.
Enjoyment of this film also depends on how much of a fan one is of Hart’s comedic style; I quickly discovered it is not my cup of tea.
I found myself squirming impatiently in my chair as this “comedy” lurched from one excruciatingly unfunny gag to the next.
More disturbing are the female characters as after thoughts.
This is clearly the Cube and Hart show but the female characters, included for aesthetic purposes only, are frustratingly underused.
The two modes of Miami cop Maya (Olivia Munn) are tough/humourless or sexy distraction at a drug lord’s house party.
Shots of women with dialogue also seem suspiciously shorter than those of the two leading men, with quick edits cutting away from their faces mid-sentence at alarming frequency minimising their screen-time.
The box office success in America of this sequel would undoubtedly lead to a trilogy, but I do not think I will take another ride along with these two.
Ride Along 2 (M)
Directed by: Tim Story
Starring: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Olivia Munn
Review by: Julian Wright
In cinemas now