“This is your chance to show me what you’re made of.” ~ James Payton
Ben Barber (Kevin Hart), not only has a beautiful girlfriend, but is also known to his game friends as "The Black Hammer". One day he receives the letter he has been waiting for, his acceptance into the police academy. Suddenly he has a two-for-one; a chance to show his future brother-in-law, James Payton (Ice-Cube), he has what it takes to not only be a police officer, but to also provide for Payton’s sister. Barber gets a chance to go on a 24-hour ride along with Payton.
Ride along day is off to a busy start, full of 126's. Sounds important, right? A 126 is simply an annoyance call. Payton arranges to have all of the annoyance calls sent his way in an effort to discourage Barber and set him up for epic failure. The movie would not be complete without a backstory, however. Payton is actually looking for a bad guy named Omar. Watching how Barber was able to use his gaming knowledge to help solve the case was hysterical.
Barber has a series of funny encounters as he handles the 126 calls including one scene when a kid, just his size, starts yelling “stranger danger” when Barber tries to rough him up to get information about Run-Flat. The scene where Barber shoots a gun like “Denzel in training day” and ends up flying backward into a wall was priceless.
Payton unfortunately, under-estimates his ride-along partner and Barber realizes that 126 calls are “fake”. The pivotal scene is when they respond to a call that Ben mistakenly believes is fake, but turns out to be a real hostage situation. Even though the situation sparks an honest confession and discussion between the two, Hart still manages to turn on the humor.
The chemistry between comedian Kevin Hart and former rapper, turned actor Ice-Cube is phenomenal and vaguely reminiscent of the comedy pairing of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the Bad Boys movies. Laurence Fishburne, John Leguizamo and Bruce McGill also add star-power. Tika Sumpter plays Ben’s girlfriend Angela Payton.
If you’re looking for a serious cop movie with substance and a strong storyline, this movie isn’t for you. Comedic falls, Hart’s high-pitched screams and constant references to his small stature are constant. Even so, if you like Kevin Hart’s stand-up comedy routine, Ride Along will pretty much have you rolling on the floor.
I give this movie a 4 out of 5 stars.
Rating: PG-13 (I must say I was surprised, given the guns and some language)
Running time: 99 min
Director: Tim Story (Think Like a Man, Fantastic Four, Barbershop)
This movie is part of my own personal action DVD collection.