‘Ride Along’ has just the right amount of heart, soul and action

Movie poster for 'Ride Along'
Come on along and ride on this fantastic voyage!
Director Tim Story’s “Ride Along” is a very funny movie with just the right amount of heart, soul and action. Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) is a public school security guard whose life-long ambition is to join the police force. He’s in love with Angela Payton (Tika Sumpter) and wants to ask her hand in marriage, but her brother, James Payton (Ice Cube) is an Atlanta police detective who is very protective of his little sister. In order to receive James’ blessing, Ben must accompany James on a ride along and impress James enough to give Ben both a recommendation to the police academy and Angela’s heart.

In his first starring role, Kevin Hart shows that he can bring more to a film than just comic relief. If you’ve ever seen Kevin Hart perform before—either his stand-up or on TV or other films—there is no question that he is an extremely funny man. What will make him a true action-comedy film star is not just the ability to deliver the funny lines, but also the strength to bear the burden of moving the story forward, even at the expense of a joke if the plot requires it. In “Ride Along,” Kevin Hart does just that.


Obviously he isn’t alone in carrying the entire weight of the film; he’s got the unmeltable Ice Cube on his side. Ice Cube is a veteran of the film industry who has a knack for getting involved with great projects, (“Boyz in da Hood,” “Higher Learning,” the “Friday” series, etc.) and discovering talent whose career could use a little boost (Omar Epps, Chris Tucker, Mike Epps, Kristy Swanson, Michael Rapaport, etc).

The success of some of Ice Cube’s former co-stars suggests that doing a project with Ice Cube is almost like an actual “Ride Along;” and the outcome of the relationship between James and Ben parallels the potential outcome of the career of Kevin Hart. At this point, Ice Cube can’t completely make or break Kevin’s career, but he sure can make it easier or harder.

Hart is smartly following the trail blazed by Eddie Murphy: going from stand-up comedy to TV comedy to buddy/cop action/comedies. But because of his physical stature, being taken seriously doing very physical action sequences is going to be difficult for Kevin Hart. The filmmakers of “Ride Along” seemed to keep this in mind and did not put him in implausible situations. In fact, they made Ben’s strengths his inquisitive nature and his natural intellect. In the one scene where Ben does physically overcome a much larger opponent (and seriously, who isn’t much larger), it is done in a way that makes sense and is perfectly logical and possible.

“Ride Along” is well worth the price of admission and is just the first of many, hilarious Kevin Hart adventures.