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DIRECTOR: Time Story
CAST: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Laurence Fishburne, John Leguizamo, Bruce McGill, Tika Sumpter
CLASSIFICATION: 13 LV
RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes
ICE CUBE plays straight man to Kevin Hart’s funny little man in an amusing, if rather predictable, buddy cop movie.
It’s decidedly not Bad Boys, or even The Heat, but the film does have its moments.
Hart is fast-talking, attention-span-like-a-guppy, security guard Ben Barber who wants to be a policeman. He gets a ride along with his girlfriend’s brother, James Payton (Ice Cube), whom he is trying very hard to impress.
Payton is a real cop, a surly, lone wolf kind of a character who wants nothing more than to get rid of this crazy little smurf dating his beloved sister.
Ice Cube glowers his way through the film, while Hart is a total live-wire, cracking inadvertent, as well as intended, jokes like his life depends on it.
Laurence Fishburne pops up towards the end for a hilariously hammy turn as the bad guy, while John Leguizamo is totally unutilised as a dirty cop.
Okay, that gives the game away for a huge plotpoint, but that happens halfway through the film already and it’s not like you cannot see where this is going.
Clichés abound, the plotholes are embarrassing and the huge set-piece that all the action works up to just goes on too long. And then it’s only halfway through the film which then fritters away all the brownie points gained up to this point.
The plot ticks every little buddy cop movie box, including even referencing films like Training Day in the dialogue. Director Tim Story (Taxi, Think Like a Man) may not be good at ratcheting up tension or creating dramatic atmosphere, but he does understand comedy and gives Hart free rein.
Luckily too, or there’d be nothing to watch.
Hart sticks to the insecure, average little man with a big hart schtick, and it works for him. Ice Cube could probably play mean in his sleep, so it’s not like anyone is stretching themselves.
They do have a believable chemistry though, so you do think that Ice Cube is THIS close to hitting Hart pretty much all the time.
The film is amusing in the moment, like an extended TV cop show episode, or like a modern day update of 48 Hours. You just won’t go away from this one humming a particular tune, or with a new catch-phrase to impress around the water cooler.
If you liked Big Stan or Another 48 Hours you may like this.