It has been 33 years, but we finally have the sequel we never knew we needed. Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall are back, staring in Coming 2 America. Directed by Craig Brewer and original director John Landis, this sequel is a must-see for all fans of Coming to America (1988). Along with Murphy and Hall, Coming 2 America sees a return of a majority of the original characters. This is a huge plus for any sequel, helping fans of the original easily accept the sequel.
Story & Script
The film starts out where we would expect it to begin, thirty years after the original film. Prince Akeem is back in Zamunda with his bride Lisa, and they have created a family of their own. It is quick to see that while things have changed, Prince Akeem is still the same character that we saw in Coming to America (1988). In fact, the film itself includes a ton of references to the original movie. I enjoyed the many flashback scenes they included. It really added to the film’s authenticity as a sequel.
We also saw a new plotline compared to the original film, and generally, that is always risky when it comes to sequels. Coming 2 America takes it in the same playful direction that we saw in the original. Adapting to the new storyline is quick for the viewer, and it was also enjoyable. Overall, I really enjoyed the story from start to finish. I also watched it with a bit of bias, as I am a fan of the original film.
Whenever I see any sequel, the first thing I always look for is the original actors and characters. A sequel without the originals never really feels like a sequel to me. Only a bad imitation. Fortunately, Coming 2 America features most of the original actors and characters. This includes the many characters played by Murphy and Hall. Their familiar faces and styles were immediately known when they appeared on screen over thirty years later.
Alongside Murphy and Hall, we also saw a return of the other originals. Those included James Earl Jones, Shari Headley, John Amos, and Paul Bates. We also saw an actor change due to the death of Calvin Lockhart in 2007. Wesley Snipes took his place in the role of Colonel Izzi, and did a great job in the role.
Adding to the original characters were a handful of new characters, played by well-known actors. This generally will cause issues in most implementations, but it worked well here. Tracy Morgan and Leslie Jones were hilarious in their new roles. They also added a unique character to an already established storyline. They truly rocked their roles alongside an already funny original cast.
A film can be perfect on paper, but the final performance is what we remember. In the case of Coming 2 America, the final film was very enjoyable. I would put it on the same level as the original film. To add, I had also re-watched Coming to America (1988) before watching the sequel. I left both films having thoroughly enjoyed both.
What helped majorly was the inclusion of the original characters. This really gave the sequel the authenticity it needed. It only felt natural to reconnect to these actors, even with a thirty-three-year gap in between. I feel that overall, the performance would have failed without this cast. With that said, I feel a reboot would have also failed miserably.
If I have anything negative to say about the film, it would have to be regarding its cinematics. While the film was edited and put together well, we didn’t see anything mind-blowing on screen either. We did have one CGI scene that was semi-well done, but it was clear that CGI was used. Other than that, most scenes were mere backdrops with no character interactions.
We also saw a generic soundtrack and minimal special effects, which fell in line with the original film. It is clear from the start that this film focused on the story and characters, leaving little left for the cinematics. This shouldn’t take away from the film though. Especially to those who are fans of the original.
Overall, I really enjoyed Coming 2 America and feel it was a fitting sequel to the original film. Their inclusion of the original actors only helped add to its authenticity and charm. We also saw many flashbacks to scenes from the original film. Added to the story were a few new characters, which I expect to be included in the already implied third movie. If you are looking for a fun movie watch for your weekend, I recommend checking out Coming 2 America!