The film starts in Miami on the boat of crime lord Antonio Pope. His hacker A.J. is going through a list on the computer. Pope calls Port Commissioner Griffin on the phone and accuses him of stealing money from him. With one of his hitmen in the room, Pope has Griffin killed in his apartment, then orders his hitmen to find whoever left with his money.
Meanwhile in Atlanta, James is with his partner Detective Mayfield as they go to infiltrate a vehicle meet to find an infamous drug dealer named Troy. Ben, fresh out the academy, is eager to get in on the action, but James has him staying on the radio. James gets close enough to Troy, but Troy pulls a gun on him. Ben sees this over the camera and sneaks out to help. He rides into the meet in a showy car with hydraulics and draws unwanted attention to himself. He threatens Troy by acting tough dancing only to drop his badge in front of the crook. Then within seconds a brief shootout occurs leading to a random plan b with Mayfield getting shot and Troy making his escape. James and Ben go after him, with Ben nearly getting himself run over, though James follows Troy long enough until Troy drives out of a parking garage and onto another car. James then captures Troy and removes a necklace he was wearing which was also a flash drive.
Mayfield is later hospitalized & at the hospital, James reprimands Ben for his decision since he got Mayfield injured in the chaos causing him to take a leave of absence due to his injury. Lt. Brooks assigns James to go to Miami and see who Troy was working for. Ben wants to go so that he can prove himself ready for detective work, but nobody believes in him, especially after the mess he just caused.
At home, Ben begins to plan his wedding to Angela, but he clashes with the wedding planner Cori. He tries to assert himself, but gets knocked out by the ceiling fan. Later, as Angela tries to seduce Ben, he complains about not being able to go to Miami. Angela calls James and tries to get him to take Ben, not just for himself, but so she can have him out of her hair while the wedding is planned. James refuses, but then changes his mind when he thinks he can prove that Ben doesn't have what it takes to be a detective. He goes to their house and officially invites Ben to Miami. James and Ben drive down to Miami together.
Ben starts his detective work by trying to blend in with the locals as they search for A.J. but Ben gets punished by homicide detective Maya Cruz for using her computer without permission. Later, James and Ben find the hacker, who tells them about a safe in a club that contains something important, but first they have to meet with someone there. The guys go to the club for work, but A.J. gets Ben to enjoy himself with an impromptu bachelor party. However, the man they are supposed to meet is also Pope's hitman. A.J. causes a distraction and escapes while James engages in a brief shoot-out with the hitman. Afterward, the two are met by Maya at the crime scene. The safe turned out to be empty. Before the guys can leave, James realizes a bomb was planted under his car, which goes off and destroys his car.
Ben realizes he kept A.J.'s phone on him, so they find his girlfriend Tasha to get a lead on his whereabouts. Ben convinces Tasha to spill the beans when he shows her that he's been hooking up with other women and given them unique ringtones, while Tasha is left with the generic Apple ringtone. The guys locate A.J. once more and bring him in on the investigation. He reveals to the team that Pope is the real crook, despite him having a public image as an entrepreneur working alongside the new port commissioner Nunez. The team is at the home of Maya's friend/associate Alonso, whom Ben accidentally shoots after getting scared. Despite getting shot, Alonso backs up A.J.'s word that Pope is a crook.
James, Ben, and Maya go to a party hosted by Pope in his mansion. Maya distracts Pope by dancing with him while James and Ben gather info, and A.J. is their eyes and ears. While snooping around, Ben is attacked by Pope's pet alligator, Marcus, in the backyard. After narrowly escaping from the jaws of Pope's pet alligator, Ben reconnects with the team and they get their information, but Pope catches them and knows they're cops, though he lets them go. The team uses their information to locate a group of shipping trucks that may be carrying Pope's contraband. However, when they attempt to stop the trucks at the port, they discover that the trucks are empty. Hernandez Arturo del Puerto scolds the team, as Pope shows up and acts angry for what the team did. Nunez then shows up and calls Hernandez over. Brooks is informed of the screw-up and orders James to be suspended and for Ben to be fired.
The team goes to a bar to think about what they did wrong. Maya then questions as to why Nunez would have shown up so fast at the port. A.J. mentions that Nunez's name was on a list of guys on Pope's payroll. James realizes that Pope knew he would have gotten caught, so he had a decoy in the trucks, and the real contraband items are being brought in somewhere else at the port. James, Maya, and A.J. go after Pope, but Maya handcuffs Ben to a pole after James says he wants Ben to stay so he can take care of Angela. However, Ben breaks free and goes to Alonso's house to get the cuffs off.
James, Maya, and A.J. are at the port in the morning to catch Pope. They have a shootout with Pope and his goons, when Ben arrives and moves a truck to knock over a container with flammable barrels, causing them to explode. Pope runs and takes A.J. hostage, then tries fleeing in a truck. James goes after him, but Ben knocks a container into Pope's path, causing him to crash. James runs to the truck and doesn't find Pope. Pope tries to shoot James, but Ben jumps in the way and takes the bullet. James shoots Pope a few times to bring him down, then sees that Ben was wearing a bulletproof vest. Pope rises and shoots again, but James uses Ben as a human shield, and Maya shoots Pope once more for good measure, killing him and ending the gun battle once and for all.
James and Ben are off the hook for taking down Pope and Nunez and being commended for their services. They drive home in a yellow Lamborghini that Maya got for them to drive back to Atlanta for the wedding, with James asking Maya to be his date. Ben and Angela are married and are ready to go off on a boat ride, but Ben wants James to make a speech. Reluctantly, James speaks and says that while Ben has gotten him into a lot of trouble since meeting him, he has also saved his life, has made Angela very happy, and has helped James grow into a better man and cop. He finally accepts Ben as his new family. Ben and Angela then go on their boat ride, but Ben gets distracted and is thrown out the boat when he rides over a bump. He is then dragged through the water by a rope as Angela tries to stop the boat, all while James laughs at this.
On April 23, 2013, nine months prior to the first film's release, the studio announced that there would be a sequel to the film, with the script written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. On February 18, 2014, it was announced that after the success of the first Ride Along film, Universal was moving forward with its sequel, with Tim Story returning to direct. Ice Cube and Hart were set to reprise their roles, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi finalized the script, and production was set to start in late June or early July 2014. Benjamin Bratt joined the film's cast, and Variety stated that this installment would have its two stars traveling to Miami for fun, chaos, and shenanigans. On July 16, Glen Powell joined the cast of the film. On July 28, Sherri Shepherd joined the cast.
Principal photography on the film began on July 7, 2014 in Miami, Florida. On July 9, Cube and Hart were spotted on the set of the film at a beach in the South Beach area. After a week of shooting in Miami, production shifted to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on July 14, where they filmed through July 21. Then filming took place in Miami again, through the end of July, and then production moved to Atlanta, where the first part of the film was shot. In Atlanta, after preparations began on July 24 for filming scenes at 55 Park Place, filming started on July 28, and was shot at 55 Park Place through August 4. Principal photography ended on September 16, 2014.
On March 13, 2014, Universal set the film's release date as January 15, 2016. The first official trailer for Ride Along 2 was released on August 13, 2015, and was attached to screenings of Universal's Straight Outta Compton.
Ride Along 2 was released on DVD and Blu-ray on April 26, 2016.
Ride Along 2 grossed $90.9 million in North America and $33.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $124.3 million, against a budget of $40 million.
The film was released in North America on January 15, 2016, alongside 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi and Norm of the North. The film was projected to gross $40–45 million over the four-day Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, and become the first film to overtake Star Wars: The Force Awakens for number one at the weekend box office. The film made $1.3 million from its Thursday night previews, improving on the $1.1 million of the original. Ride Along 2 went on to gross $35.2 million in its opening weekend and $41 million for the four-day MLK Holiday weekend, lower than its predecessor's $48.6 million four-day MLK Holiday opening two years prior, but still finished first at the box office.
Ride Along 2 was panned by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 14% based on 107 reviews with an average rating of 3.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Ride Along 2 presents a cop-comedy sequel whose well-matched stars can't break the law of diminishing returns -- or lock up a script that unabashedly steals from the original." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 32 out of 100 based on 29 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
In October 2016, Tim Story, who directed the first two films, announced that a sequel is currently in development with Ice Cube and Kevin Hart set to reprise their roles.