‘Ride Along’ in Atlanta with Ice Cube and Kevin Hart
By Titus Falodun Staff Writer | 1/10/2014, 12:52 p.m.
ATLANTA – “F--- tha police” was Ice Cube’s mantra back when he burst on the scene in the late 1980s as part of the controversial west coast rap group N.W.A. (Niggaz Wit Attitudes).
But the 44-year-old rapper-turned-media mogul leads the way in 2014’s first major “buddy cop” comedy due out Jan. 17, featuring co-star/comedian Kevin Hart.
“You’ve rolled down these streets several times but not like this,” Hart joked on the “Ride Along” bus tour with local media, sponsored by Atlanta Movie Tours, Inc.
Due to his last string of movies, Hart, a Philadelphia native, mentioned Atlanta as his second home. During filming of “Ride Along,” Kevin Hart had a sold-out standup show at Philips Arena.
The movie’s two stars, alongside the movie’s producer Will Packer (“Think Like a Man”), were on a two-day Atlanta publicity blitz this week, which featured the bus tour, a donut-giveaway for the long line of excited and cold fans at Sublime Doughnuts, and The Regal Atlantic Cinema red carpet “Ride Along” screening that brought out celebrities Ludacris, Monica, T.I. and Tiny, stars of “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta,” NBA player Shannon Brown and other notables.
“To see how the industry has leaped, from ‘91 to now, is incredible,” Ice Cube said. “This is Hollywood part two, without a doubt. Atlanta has really built a strong industry and it’s cool to see.”
Ice Cube’s Cube Vision Productions is at the helm of this Tim Story (“Barbershop,” “Think Like a Man”) directed action-cop flick “Ride Along,” which finds a wannabe good cop teamed up with a badass detective.
Sporting an Atlanta Police Department-issued shield and his signature ruffian attitude, Ice Cube plays a loner vice detective named James, who agrees to take his sister’s boyfriend Ben (Kevin Hart) on a police ride along, before giving his blessing of their union. Think “Training Day” but much funnier.
The movie finds James trying to get Ben to forget his dreams of working in law enforcement and marrying James’ sister Angela (Tika Sumpter “Haves and the Haves Not”). But during their patrol, the reemergence of an unseen but infamous gangster named Omar (Laurence Fishburn) forces James to rely on his pint-sized partner. No, not the one from the hit HBO show “The Wire,” although this Omar is just as brazen.
Atlanta natives, residents, and visitors will recognize major and minor landmarks in the movie, from Grady High School to Philips Arena to Underground Atlanta. There is also a significant presence of locally grown talent in the movie.
“We actually used Grady kids as extras [in the cafeteria scene],” Packer said. “Grady was great. That’s just another example of an advantage of shooting in a city like Atlanta that’s not as jaded as other production markets.”
Also, a majority of the driving and chase scenes in the movie took place in a 3-mile radius in Atlanta.
“What’s cool about Atlanta is that you can shoot it for Atlanta, of course, but it doubles as any city in the world,” Ice Cube said.
“Except Bismark, North Dakota,” Hart interjected.
Ice Cube and Kevin Hart blended well together in the film. “Ride Along” is jam-packed with chaos, comedy, and awkward moments.