Under the Radar

'Ride Along' With Ice Cube

Ride Along

How much you enjoy Ride Along depends on how much you like Kevin Hart. America thinks Kevin is hilarious: Ride Along (out now on Blu-ray and DVD) was a giant hit in theaters and the biggest hit ever with Ice Cube in a lead role.%embed1%

Ride Along is a comic rewrite of Training Day (something the producers tout in the bonus features) with some 48 Hours-style Eddie Murphy riffing by Hart. Hart is a security guard who wants to marry his girlfriend and become an Atlanta cop. His girlfriend has some kind of undefined high-power job that allows her to subsidize rent on what looks like a $3K/month ATL loft while her boyfriend plays video games online with his online friends, a habit that's critical to whatever plot that's going on here.

The girlfriend (played by relative newcomer Tika Sumpter) wants to get her cop brother's approval before she says yes. The cop (played by Ice Cube) agrees to take Hart with him for a day at work with plans to him scare off.

There's your setup. There's an appearance by Laurence Fishburne as the head of a crime syndicate and by John Leguizamo as one of Cube's partners. You get a shootout in Underground Atlanta and, for anyone nostalgic for Atlanta convention trips back in the '90s, a "Gold Room" strip club shootout shot at the actual location of the old Gold Club.

Hart mugs mercilessly, Ice Cube keeps a straight face and eventually his knowledge gleaned from video games helps bring down the bad guys. Cube grunts Clint Eastwood-style all through the movie and the identical grunting he does in response to Hart's off-screen clowning in the bonus features suggests that he's more tolerating the whole enterprise more than having a good time.

Ice Cube has come a long way since his gangsta rap days in N.W.A.  He's found a successful career as a supporting character in mainstream movies and both producing and headlining a few comedies that have mostly succeeded with African-American audiences. He produced Ride Along, which is a bona fide mainstream hit. There's a sequel coming and he's got Kevin Hart locked up for a second movie.

There's an alternate ending on the Blu-ray, plus some deleted scenes and alternate takes so there's plenty more Kevin Hart if you enjoyed the feature.


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