Sunday, 3 August 2014

Ride Along

A stoic, ass-kicking, undercover detective paired with a clown of a sidekick who takes himself too seriously, but turns out to be somewhat useful in the end. That’s pretty much the plot of every cop comedy ever invented and Ride Along doesn’t exactly deviate from the norm. Not in an impressive way, at least.

James (Ice Cube) is the overprotective older brother of Angela (Tika Sumpter) who is engaged to Ben (Kevin Hart), a high school security guard with ambitions to become a real policeman. He’s a wimpy man with little talent in anything other than a Call of Duty-resembling video game, but after getting accepted into police academy, he plucks up the courage to ask James for his blessing. By Ben’s logic, following the same career path should prompt James to finally accept him as part of the family but, as expected, it doesn’t go down too well. Instead, he gains the chance to “prove himself” by accompanying James on a ride along the following day.

Have you heard of a 126? Apparently, it’s the police code for a nuisance-call that nobody wants to handle; these are the types of calls James arranged to have patched through to him the entire day. In other words, roughly half of this 100-minute production consists of mildly humorous, slapstick police intervention into petty crimes, all of which see Ben being gravely embarrassed by his ridiculous attempts to uphold authority.

Besides the loose underlying plot of James’ case on a faceless international criminal named Omar (Laurence Fishburne), there’s really not much else to tell. Considering it starts out with James tearing up the town in a high-speed car chase, driving through explosions and shooting down criminals, I felt quite cheated having to wait til the end for the next splurge of adrenaline-fuelled action.

It’s the sort of film you take your girlfriend to see for valentines if neither of you really like rom-coms, but gave in to the romantic ideals of the day; it’s light-hearted, playful and bubbly. For me, there’s a limit to how much foolishness I can withstand in a non-animated film, which is precisely why I often despise Kevin Hart’s characters. He’s like a parody of Chris Tucker – an irritating comedian who talks too fast and, often, a whole load of shit. If you like that sort of thing though, I’m sure you’ll have no qualms. It’s definitely not an action-comedy, but for whatever it’s supposed to be, I guess it works well enough.

Ride Along gets 2/5.



Ride Along at CeX

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