Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Ride Along 2 
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) reviewChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review
RogerEbert.com (S. Wloszczyna) review
AVClub (J. Hassenger) review
Ride Along 2  (directed by Tim Story, screenplay by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, characters by Greg Coolidge) is an authentically fun movie that could actually be _exactly_ what the U.S.A. needs today.
After all, this is an "odd couple" ("the brothers in law" ;-) / "cop movie" focused on two AFRICAN AMERICAN (Atlanta P.D.) COPS of quite different personalities. There's the grizzled tough guy vet James Payton (played superbly by Ice Cube) and the "got his first taste of 'law enforcement' playing VIDEO GAMES ;-)" newbie (but also with some new ideas about doing things) Ben Barber (played again spot-on by Kevin Hart). Yes, both characters are exaggerated but both characters exist.
And in case ANYBODY would have trouble imagining an African American police officer like the no nonsense, tough, "by the book" James Payton, I'd like to dispel any doubts. I'm in a parish of yes, CHICAGO POLICE OFFICERS, over 100 of them (!!), EASILY HALF OF THEM NOT WHITE, in my parish's case Hispanic. I've ALSO KNOWN a heck of a lot of VETS from the Armed Services (here OF ALL RACES). So I've known _many_ JAMES PAYTONS and CHILDREN raised in Police / Military family homes of POLICE OFFICERS / ARMY VETS like JAMES PAYTON.
So IMMEDIATELY and honestly THANKS BE TO GOD, this film REMINDS ALL VIEWERS that A TRULY SUBSTANTIAL PERCENTAGE OF POLICE OFFICERS in the major police departments of this country (Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Miami, L.A., Houston, etc) ARE NOT / NO LONGER WHITE.
This is _so obvious_ to someone in my position (again working in a Parish like mine chock full of Police officers and all kinds of other city workers). BUT IT IS GOOD TO SEE THIS ON SCREEN.
I'd also add that it would perhaps shock many Readers here that Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel's opponent in last year's run-off election was Jesús "Chuy" Garcia (Hispanic, obviously) and that he ran PRINCIPALLY on a platform OF INCREASING THE NUMBER OF CHICAGO POLICE OFFICERS BY AT LEAST 1000. And NO ONE argued about the need / benefits of increasing the Police force by at least that number. THE ONLY ISSUE was the rather obvious one -- where would the city get the money to do so? Further Chuy's _perhaps_ unrealistic proposal was certainly borne out of listening to the residents of the poorer sections of the city (I've heard EXACTLY THE SAME from parishioners from some of the poorer parishes north of us - in South Chicago) where MOST OF THESE POORER RESIDENTS DON'T WANT "LESS POLICE OFFICERS" IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS BUT _MORE OF THEM_.
So it was good to see a police story featuring REALITY -- NON WHITE COPS doing their jobs WELL in TODAY'S (diverse, hence by definition largely no-longer simply white) AMERICAN CITIES.
In this regard, the film's plot -- though both interesting / fun (the two set out from Atlanta to Miami to better understand how a particular drug smuggling operation is bringing drugs from Miami to their city) -- is largely beside the point. In Miami, of course, the two come into contact with Miami P.D. hence come to collaborate with a tough / smart Hispanic M.P.D. partner named Maya (played by Olivia Munn) as well as a hacker / flipped to become informant named A.J. (played by Ken Jeong). Much often fun (this is a comedy after all) ensues ...
So folks leave the racist reporting to both Fox and CNN. This is honestly is reality: Yes NO ONE wants their people to be shot, but EVERYBODY wants their streets POLICED by PEOPLE LIKE THEM and THANKS BE TO GOD, FOR THE MOST PART THIS IS ALREADY TAKING PLACE ... and IF ANYTHING, we need MORE POLICE OFFICERS (yes certainly well trained) but certainly NOT LESS. But we certainly need to continue to work toward building police forces that _look like the communities that they police_ and hence _are trusted by the communities they police_. For the most part, the departments in the major cities in this country have been doing this. The only question is giving them the funds to do right.
In any case, this is a fun / positive movie and it's great that it came out now. We need films like this that remind us that we're not nearly as divided as we may sometimes think we are.
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