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Movie Review: 'Coming 2 America' Will Add, Not Take Away From Legacy

by Todd A. Smith

 

Arsenio Hall, Eddie Murphy and Clint Smith (L-R) are still discussing boxing in “Coming 2 America” (Photo Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert).

 

Sequel Will Not Disappoint 

 


“Coming 2 America” will not do anything to damage the brand of one of the most celebrated comedies of all time.


The film is too enjoyable to have any negative impact on the brand.


The original film became a phenomenon in the late 1980s, and people still enjoy it today like its their first time watching it because of the comedic genius of the great Eddie Murphy and his sidekick Arsenio Hall, as well as the pop culture references that epitomized Queens, N.Y. in 1988.


Simply put, “Coming to America” is the best comedic film of all time.


To many people, “Coming to America” is their favorite movie of all time.


Therefore, to finally release a sequel over 30 years after the classic original from 1988 is a daunting task like keeping The Jacksons going after the death of Michael Jackson.


But as songwriter/producer Terry Lewis told The Jacksons in “The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty,” whatever the group of brothers do after the death of their superstar lead singer represents the new Jacksons because the past can never be duplicated.


Before people get upset with that analogy, they have to realize that The Jacksons, sans Michael, still sell at concerts across the globe and still put on a fabulous show.


And “Coming 2 America” is still a fabulous show thanks to standout performances by new additions to the franchise like Leslie Jones and Tracy Morgan.


In “Coming 2 America,” much has changed in the 33 years since Prince Akeem (Murphy) came to Queens, N.Y. to look for a princess to take back home to Zamunda.


Akeem and Lisa (Shari Headley) have three daughters.


However, Queen Aoleon (Madge Sinclair) has died and an ailing King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) is in his final days as ruler of Zamunda.


The laws of Zamunda require only a son become heir to the throne and that creates a problem that King Jaffe Joffer worries about in last days.


While Akeem will obviously take the throne after King Jaffe’s demise, what will happen to the kingdom of Zamunda when Akeem goes home to glory?


In “Coming 2 America,” not fathering a son is looked upon as a shortcoming amongst African kingdoms.


Combine that with the fact that other nations view Akeem as weak because of the way his parents pampered him, and that unfortunately might make Zamunda susceptible to attacks from their neighbors from other African nations.


General Izzi (Wesley Snipes) of the country Nextdooria already has plans to attack Zamunda once Jaffee closes his eyes because he does not believe Akeem has the necessary ruthlessness to fight back and defend his nation like his father did.


Furthermore, General Izzi is still upset that Akeem basically left his sister Imani Izzi (Vanessa Bell Calloway) at the alter when he flew off to America 33 years ago, inflicting her with the curse of a barking and hopping dog.


If Akeem had married General Izzi’s sister Imani, it would have resulted in peace between the two rival nations.


Therefore, Akeem has one more option if he wants to keep the peace with Nextdooria.


Akeem could allow General Izzi’s son Idi Izzi (singer/actor Rotimi) to marry his eldest daughter Meeka (KiKi Layne), bringing the families together forever and as a result bringing the countries together, peacefully.


Or maybe there is one more option to continue the tradition of passing the kingdom down to Joffer men.

 

While many think that the kingdom of Zamunda is in trouble because Akeem does not have a male heir to the throne, on his deathbed King Jaffe informs his son that he has a bastard son in Queens, N.Y.


However, Akeem finds that reality impossible to believe because he did not hook up with any women in America besides his eventual wife, Lisa.


But, when Semmi (Hall) reminds Akeem about one night in particular that got out of hand, Akeem finally realizes that he might have a son, even if he kills Semmi for putting him in such a precarious position.


Therefore, Akeem and Semmi head back to their favorite New York borough to see if they can find this bastard son of his in the “Big Apple.”


While the old neighborhood in Queens, N.Y. has changed a great deal thanks to gentrification; one thing remains untouched by “progress.”


The My-T Sharp Barbershop is still the place to be in the neighborhood, and the old fellas (Clarence and Saul played by Murphy, Sweets played by Clint Smith and Morris played by Hall) have miraculously lived, probably well into their 100s.


While the barbershop conversations have changed from Martin Luther King, Jr., Mike Tyson and Frank Sinatra to Floyd Mayweather, neo-Nazis and the #MeToo Movement, they are able to help point Akeem in the direction of his bastard son like Clarence did in “Coming to America” by pointing him towards the Black Awareness Rally where he first laid eyes on his future bride.


While nothing can match the original, “Coming 2 America” continues the momentum thanks to phenomenal comedic performances by Morgan and Jones.


Thankfully, Murphy and director Craig Brewer did not stray too far from the formula that made “Coming to America” many people’s favorite film.


“Coming 2 America” has the same heart that its original had.


Some of the scenes have adjusted to the new millennium.


But “Coming 2 America” does pay homage to its 1980s roots with flashbacks that explain how Akeem fathered a bastard child in the first place.


“Coming 2 America” boasts of a who’s who of legendary African-American celebrities, which adds to the regal nature of the romantic comedy.


Furthermore, “Coming 2 America” gives cameo appearances to some of the original film’s smaller characters.


As with the original, viewers should sit through the entire closing credits to “Coming 2 America” to see some hidden scenes that will not disappoint.


But while “Coming 2 America” stays true to the original, the fact that it does makes the sequel a little predictable because in ways it is too similar to the first installment.


Nevertheless, “Coming 2 America” will satisfy the franchise’s cult following and will not take anything away from the genius of its predecessor.

 

 

REGAL RATINGS

FOUR CROWNS=EXCELLENT

THREE CROWNS=GOOD

TWO CROWNS=AVERAGE

ONE CROWN=POOR

This article was published on Thursday 04 March, 2021.
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