Bill Maher apologizes and takes the L, why are some people still cupcaking for him? Ice Cube and Micheal Eric Dyson are they giving Bill a pass? Discussion on the upcoming Tupac movies All Eyez On Me and LAbyrinth, starring Johnny Depp.
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Music biopics have been very inconsistent lately, but director F. Gary Grey has finally gotten the genre right, where other directors have failed.
During the late 1980’s the streets of Compton, California were some of the most dangerous in the country. The plague of crack cocaine was growing at an alarming rate as the violent gang drug business propelled its use. The LAPD specialized gang unit were leading the charge on the war on drugs that left residents of the Southern California community distrustful of authority. Rising from all this was the hip-hop group N.W.A(Niggaz Wit Attitudes) consisting of Eric Wright (Eazy E) O'Shea Jackson (Ice Cube), Andre Young (Dr. Dre), Lorenzo Patterson (MC Ren) and Antoine Carraby (DJ Yella). As a group, they manage to merge the things they saw going on in their society into the revolutionary music they created. Their biopic STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON chronicles that rise to fame and how they became the world’s most dangerous group. It is and exceptional entry in to the biopic genre and is one of the best films of the year.
The modern cop-buddy picture has been around for a while. The genre really started with the release of 1982’s 48 HRS starring Nick Nolte and then film newcomer Eddie Murphy, as mismatched partners that must work together to solve a crime. The film spawned a dismal sequel and countless remakes. It seemed like box office gold; just get two popular stars and pair them together and watch the sparks fly. The typical plot of a buddy cop film is as follows: Introduction of the crime and and/or bad guy. Intro of the “lead character,” typically the “straight-laced one”; cut to a separate intro of the wilder “loose cannon” character. The two leads discover that have a mutual enemy in the bad guy and discover that they must work together. Usually both are resistant to the idea and think they can do the job alone. They bicker and they fight. Somehow and during the course of the film they discover a mutual respect for each other. They defeat the bad guy and by the time the credits roll they are not only friends, they are ready to return for a sequel. For further proof, take a look at the list of buddy cop films here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddy_cop_film I have basically described the plot of RIDE ALONG the latest in a long line of buddy cop films.
The late Roger Ebert came up with the term “wunza” as any film using a plot which can be summarized by saying "One's a...." This film follows the classic buddy cop formula almost to the letter with the only distinction in that one of two is not a cop. Ice Cube plays the cop and Kevin Hart plays a cop wanna be. The plot is as follows Kevin Hart is dating Ice Cube’s sister. Ice Cube does not like Kevin Hart. Kevin Hart wants Ice Cube’s approval. Ice Cube decides that in order for Kevin Hart to prove his worth, Ice Cube will take Kevin Hart on a ride along putting him in tough situations. Notice that I used the actors names rather than the characters names. That is because neither actor is stretching their acting chops but merely doing a variation of what they have done before. It is remarkable just how unremarkable this film is. There is nothing, I mean NOTHING, here that you haven’t seen before. The b-plot is so predictable I would not be surprised if was copied and pasted from another script. There are FOUR screenwriters credited to this film. Four screenwriters could not recognize that their film was riddled with clichés. The only original aspect of the script is that the two leads already know each other once the film begins but having that twist does not work either. Kevin Hart overacts here but the blame cannot all be placed on his shoulders. He is given nothing to do. He has one good scene and it was more than likely improvised. The scene could be seen as a nod to Eddie Murphy’s classic hillbilly bar scene in 48 HOURS but does not even come close to that star making scene. I lost count at how many times he screams, yells, falls down, and slammed into something.
This film is not very good to say the least but fans of Cube and Hart may find some level of entertainment. It is utterly forgettable and is better suited for the home video rather than the big screen. This is a prime example of inspiration ending at the casting because so little care was taken in the plot that it seems like a mere after thought. Consider this; Ice Cube is looking for a mysterious criminal by the name of Omar. I will not reveal the idenity of the actor that plays him but once you see the opening credits you will instantly know who it is. The only evidence that Omar exists is a picture of him when he was very young. Like 10 or 12 years old young and the picture looks like a publicity photo for the actor when he was that age. Now I am now seasoned investigator but would you attempt to do an age progression analysis of the photo to get an idea of what he looks like today rather than 40 years ago. Maybe he tried that but the film does not bother to tell us. A sequel is already in the works and is expected to start filming soon. I can only hope that they have a better script. I wanted to escape from this ride along.