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Ride (Movie Review)

Ride (Movie Review)
7 10

PLOT: Struggling actor James pays his bills by driving people around Los Angeles for a ride-sharing service. James' shift starts out like any other until he hits it off with a beautiful woman whom he picks up. His next fare, the fast-talking Bruno, convinces James to invite her along for a wild night out. But things take a shocking turn when Bruno, armed with a gun and a twisted idea of fun, initiates a terrifying, ride that quickly spirals out of control.

REVIEW: To kick this whole thing off, let me just get a bit of personal business out of the way. I'm not sure that this even matters in the grand scheme of this review, but I've never used a rideshare app. Not Uber, not Lift, nada. I know that seems strange in this day and age, but you know, I'm a dude that doesn't drink and has my own car, so I guess I've just missed out on this boat. That said, writer-director Jeremy Ungar's RIDE seemed to sport a timely premise that intrigued me so when I was given the chance to give the film's Blu-ray a review, I clicked okay and joined along for the... wait for it...ride. What did I think once all stops had been made and I was returned safely to the comfort of my living room? Let's find out.

The film kicks off with us meeting our hero, Jessie T. Usher as a struggling actor that takes a job being an Uber driver to pay the bills in the city of Angels. The flick kicks off with Usher picking up Bella Thorne for a ride. The two kick it off nicely and just as things seem like they might be heading towards a date and a night out on the town, Usher gets another ride request. Sucks for him, right? You have no idea. Usher's next ride is a slimy sleazy guy played by Will Brill. The man smokes like a chimney and curses like a sailor and immediately seems like he's up to no good. Too bad, Usher isn't as great a judge of character as I am. Turns out Brill is bad. Go figure. He seems nice enough, making Usher pick up Throne for more fun, but things quickly devolve into thriller territory as Brill makes Usher rob a liquor store and more. But I'll leave all these fun and games for you to discover yourself.

The movie is ultimately a three-man show with Usher, Brill, and Thorne leading the pack. I'm not overly familiar with either Jessie T. Usher or Will Brill, but the two impressed me with their charming and sinister turns. Usher is perhaps best known for his role in Roland Emmerich's INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE, where he played the grown-up son of Will Smith's character. Brill is also someone that I should have been more familiar with as he had a role in THE EYES OF MY MOTHER. Bella Thorne is another story. Thorne is an actress I'm familiar with from her work as the Drew Barrymore opening kill from MTV's short-lived SCREAM: THE TV SERIES, but other than that, Thorne has also been more than a mainstay in our beloved genre lately with roles in such films as I STILL SEE YOU, AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING and more. As far as Thorne's performance goes, if you're familiar with her work and dig the vibe she puts out, you'll enjoy her role here as well.

One of the best compliments I can pay the flick is that Usher and his charming driver character reminded me of Argyle from John McTiernan's classic DIE HARD. And that's a fun way to look at RIDE: "What if Argyle from DIE HARD got into an adventure for himself?" Sounds like fun to me! On top of that bit of reference, the film also reminded me quite a bit of Michael Mann's COLLATERAL starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. But I don't think that it was by any means a stretch that that's where my mind went watching this motion picture. I mean the film, like Mann's taxi-cab crime story, is set in - and basically a visual love letter to the city of Los Angeles. In fact, this movie goes so far as to almost play out like that film scene for scene - with Usher playing the Jamie Foxx role, Brill playing Tom Cruise, and even Bell Thorne playing the sweet girl that Usher picks up before his sinister ride... Just like Jada Pinkett Smith's role in Michael Mann's film. But whatever, if you take bits and pieces from a film, COLLATERAL is not a bad start.

Overall, RIDE sports gorgeous photography of the city of angels and the three leads are not a bad group to be stuck with for a quick 76 minutes. The ending is a bit of a letdown, but whatever, this wouldn't be the first movie that inserted an open-ending for a sequel instead of a satisfying cap-off; unfortunately I think as an audience we're used to such things by this point. So all said and done, does it matter that I've never taken a ride share? Not really. Hell if even half the drivers are as cool and helpful as Usher it's all good. I'll just make sure to make a note to never BE an Uber driver. I'm good. 

In the end, Jeremy Ungar's RIDE is a film that feels like Michael Mann's COLLATERAL for the young adult crowd. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and I don't think younger audiences that seek this film out will mind one bit. Sure COLLATERAL is a true neo-classic, and RIDE can't even dream to hit those heights, but the film is ultimately a fun... wait for it... ride, and is sure to please people looking for a few quick thrills and chills on a Friday night.

Source: AITH

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