Reel Reviews: Of mediocre monsters and men

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart go along for the ride. - Universal Pictures
Ice Cube and Kevin Hart go along for the ride.
— image credit: Universal Pictures

This week we thought we’d cram two rather mediocre movies into one review, so that we could review Dallas Buyers Club in Sunday’s Morning Star.

First up is Ride Along, starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart.

Ice Cube is James Payton, a tough, big city detective with an attitude problem. Ben (diminutive loudmouth Kevin Hart) wants to marry Payton’s sister, but wants his blessing. To prove that Ben is man enough to take care of his sister, Payton takes Ben, who is joining the police academy, on a wild ride along the mean streets of Atlanta.

Our second film this week is I, Frankenstein.

Originally a graphic novel that picks up where Mary Shelley’s classic left off, Frankenstein’s monster Adam, played by Aaron Eckhart, lives in the shadows until modern times, by which point he’s  become good at battling demons, hellbent on reclaiming the world.

The leader of those demons, Prince Naberius (Bill Nighy), has discovered a way to reanimate thousands of soulless corpses, exactly like Adam, which will provide bodily vehicles for all those demons trapped in hell. Only Adam can stop Naberius from unleashing hell on Earth.

We say, Given the choice between I, Frankenstein and Ride Along, we recommend Dallas Buyers Club, unseen.

HOWE: I am so happy that we have condensed these two movies into one review. They are both so bad neither of them deserve their own review. So first up: Ride Along. I don’t mind a cop buddy movie if it’s any combination of entertaining, funny or thrilling. Unfortunately, Ride Along is none of these. I have never seen Hart in anything before and I’m glad I haven’t. He whines constantly. And please don’t get me started on Ice Cube.

TAYLOR: Cube is great if you need an angry dude in your film and the script obviously calls for one, but from the moment he opened his mouth, delivering his first two lines in the film, I knew we were in for a turkey.

That’s the thing with movies; sometimes your film needs a stock character, however, when you then start having your stock character deliver cliched lines, it becomes something most easily described as bad. I didn’t buy into this movie for one second. It was blatantly predictable and wholly unfunny. I’ve seen Kevin Hart’s standup because my teenage son likes him, but on film he’s not doing anything we haven’t seen Chris Tucker do.

HOWE: Now for I, Frankenstein; a lot of people will like this. It has the Underworld look and feel to it, but I thought it felt cheap. Some of the special effects were terrible. Take the demons for example, I’ve seen scarier and better looking demons at Halloween. It made me chuckle to myself how bad they looked. And what a waste of Bill Nighy’s talent. Why Bill, why?

TAYLOR: I’ll give it a passing grade. Sure, I didn’t really care about it in any way and it looked like a two hour special episode of Supernatural, but it didn’t share Ride Along’s vapidity.

I, Frankenstein is a comic book movie you could take your kids to, if you wanted to bore them. Frankly, I loved the idea of Frankenstein’s monster living on into modernity, then I hated that they made him into a superhero fighting demons alongside gargoyles. It’s just a bit too whimsical for my taste.

­— Taylor gives Ride Along 1 screeching munchkin out of 5 and I, Frankenstein 2.5 bolts out of 5.

— Howe gives Ride Along 1.5 Smith & Wessons out of 5 and I, Frankenstein 2 descents out of 5.

Both films are currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

- Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C. Their column, Reel Reviews, runs in The Morning Star every Friday and Saturday.

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