So I finally got the chance to see the sequel to Coming To America, released directly to Amazon Prime. Returning to reprise their roles are Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Shari Headley, James Earl Jones and James Amos. As with any sequel comes new characters. This included Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Wesley Snipes, Jermaine Fowler and Kiki Lane.
Did the 30 years in waiting deliver the heart and laughs of the original or should Prince Akeem have stayed in Zamunda?
I heard mixed reviews upon its release but honestly it didn’t affect my opinion of this flick. When I finally got around to seeing it, I actually didn’t hate it. Obviously I didn’t love it as much as the first but nonetheless I enjoyed it. I not only laughed but I had feelings of nostalgia.
Now I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.
Since I really didn’t expect much, my hopes weren’t exactly high. That aside, I still found it entertaining. I enjoyed the cameos and this flick was chocked full of them from Morgan Freeman, Rick Ross to Teyana Taylor and Trevor Noah, who I personally enjoyed with that ridiculous mustache.
We even had Gladys Knight and a few SNL folks in the mix to name a few. Personally I think I enjoyed them as much as Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall’s classic characters in makeup such as the barber shop folks and of course Randy Watson…lol.
About the movie…
I will try my best to avoid spoilers.
The film follows Murphy’s Prince Akeem who becomes king after the death of his father, King Jaffe played again by James Earl Jones. A part a found a bit silly. This is the voice of Darth Vader who has played mostly dramatic roles. Even in the original, he was for the most part a serious character. I think this was one of the wasted efforts to tone down the laughs especially with the funeral scene. What could have been serious and otherwise emotions moment was reduced to a cheap laugh.
Before passing, the King requires his son to find a male heir since he has 3 daughters, the eldest uninterested in marrying a prince from the neighboring kingdom of Nexdoria, a nation that is supposed to be intimidating but again reduced to cheap laughs with the dancing and jiving. King Jaffe reveals to Akeem that he has an illegitimated son in New York and must get him to be his successor after Prince Akeem, especially since the ruler of Nexdoria has threatened to kill him for not joining their countries via marriage. So both he and Semmi, played again by Arsenio Hall set off back to NY to find Lavelle, his son so that he can take his place as future heir to Zamunda since the next ruler can only be a man. His son conceived from romp he had with Leslie Jones is what you would expect. He’s a poor kid who eventually finds that a life of royalty comes with its own set of problems. Now I actually enjoyed Leslie Jones with her own style of comedic timing and her relationship with her son feels genuine at times but it is here that it gets buried in mounds of comedy.
The film tries to not take itself serious as this overly anticipated sequel. It even mentions sequels that nobody asked for, a parody of its own existence. But it also take notes from its predecessor with heartfelt moments and lessons. Although it regurgitates some parts it still stands ok on its own feet. It pokes fun at itself and while its awful and goofy at points, it’s very meta at moments and fun. While trying to not be social justice flick, it shows the importance and growth of gender roles, in particular women leading in society. It is still a fairy tale at heart and fun time. While not an Oscar-worthy performance the acting isn’t horrible. What is notably the best is the visuals and set design. We see more of Zamunda, not as much as we did of Wakanda in Black Panther but nonetheless the panned out views of the fictional African country are breathtaking.
All-in-all Coming 2 America isn’t the worst thing to stream but definitely something I would have waited to stream as opposed to flocking in a theatre save to support black cinema. And I say this only because it is a breath of fresh air to not see black cinema as portrayed only as dramas, ghetto satires, slavery flicks or anything that isn’t really uplifting. It felt good to see Africa portrayed as a rich and vast place of beauty and not a jungle or undeveloped nation. Even Nexdoria, which is the poor contrast to Zamunda isn’t a downtrodden place like we see in those Feed the Children commercials.
All in all, Coming America is ok and fun good time. If you’re looking for a copy of the original, you may be let down. It pales in comparison to the ’88 classic but it offers a lot of nostalgia, some pretty decent effects such as the de-aging of Murphy and Hall as well as some ok laughs.
I’m glad it went straight to video.
Until Next time kiddies,
Be Awesome, Be You, But Above All Else… Love Yourself
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