Was this sequel needed? Couldn’t a classic film like ‘Coming To America’ be left alone as a stand alone classic? I mean, why ruin a great thing by trying to add to it?
Those were the thoughts that came to my mind the moment I heard that there would be a sequel to the much beloved Eddie Murphy classic.
Then I heard the plot of the movie, the chaste and honourable prince Akeem had a son who was heir to his throne and he would be going back to Queens, New York to bring him home as his successor.
I immediately hated the concept because he changed the way I thought about the first film, so Prince Akeem was out here sleeping around in New York while looking for his Queen?
That made no sense and I told anyone who would listen my dislike of the idea of this sequel.
Then the trailer came out and I at least raised an eyebrow. Okay, I thought, it doesn’t look awful.
Of course by this time we were all living the new lockdown life so the news that the film was purchased by Amazon Prime was music to my ears. That was a smart move by the studios.
So, 5th March comes around and I buy some snacks and turn my surround sound volume up to play this movie.
I hear a re-imagined version of the original music opener and it sounds good. I see the royal palace as the music build and I must say I’m enjoying the pomp.
Prince Akeem it turns out, has three daughters and the movie opens with them wishing their father and mother (future Queen Lisa McDowell from Queens) a happy anniversary. They seem like a well rounded, happy black family (albeit royal).
We then find out that King Joffer, Akeem’s father is dying and he’s desire is for Akeem to have a male successor to his throne (because Zamunda I’m quickly finding out is not all that progressive) because without this, the father fears that his son will be immediately assassinated upon his accession to the throne.
The King and Semi (played by Arsenio Hall) then reveal to Akeem that he sired a son he was not even aware of. I held my breath hoping they would find a way to make that plot line work, thankfully they did.
What follows is a hilarious and somewhat plausible explanation of how Akeem fathered a child he wasn’t even aware of. The scene itself is fairly funny.
Okay, so to save you from the minutia of details I could go into, I’ll cut to the chase.
No, this sequel was not needed but yes the film is still rather good. It almost plays as a stand alone film, predominantly set in the fictional African nation of Zamunda with trips to Queens, New York.
If you’re a massive fan of the first film like I am, you’ll be delighted with all the returning cast members and all the new additions, Wesley Snipes for example is a refreshing revelation as a comical actor considering his long stint as an action genre performer.
Coming 2 America feels like both a sequel and a stand alone addition to the franchise. The musical numbers and costumes will give you a ‘Wakanda’ Black Panther vibe (that’s probably because they hired the costume designer of the uber successful Marvel film).
It’s great to see so many people of colour on screen and it sheds a massive light on the fact that the first one came out three decades ago and must of been unprecedented as far as its casting of nearly all black actors save one.
The film isn’t perfect and many people will dislike it or consider it unnecessary but I for one stand corrected.
It’s a good film and necessary or not, it’s an enjoyable watch. Enjoyable enough for me to consider what a continued ‘Coming To America’ franchise could entail.
But don’t take my word for it – if you have Amazon Prime, see what you think of the movie or movies as both the original and the sequel are currently available for streaming on the platform