It’s March (how did that happen?), the COVID vaccine is being rolled out at a rapid pace, and the end to social restrictions is in sight. Plans are in place to restart businesses and unlock the economy, and that means cinemas in the UK will reopen in May. Hurrah!
But before we get to that, new movies are still hitting streaming services, and this week it is the turn of a big release: Coming 2 America. The movie – a sequel to 1988’s Coming to America – stars Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Wesley Snipes, and Leslie Jones.
Directed by Craig Brewer, the film picks up thirty years after the original, and sees King Akeem (Murphy) discover he has a son that he never knew of. His son, Lavelle, was conceived following Akeem’s brief stay in the United States, which prompts a trip back to Queens to connect with the lost prince.
Coming 2 America is a big budget affair, and like many recent movies it was originally due in cinemas last year. The film skipped its theatrical release because of the pandemic, but from today, it is available to stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.
Of all the movies which have bypassed cinema for streaming services, Coming 2 America is one that I was most excited for. I watched Coming to America multiple times when I was a kid, and always found it to be one of Murphy’s best movies.
When I first heard that a sequel was on the horizon, I was worried. Sequels – especially ones that arrive decades after the original – have a lot of a lot to live up to, and I feared the worst.
I’m happy to report, Coming 2 America is not a disappointment. This is a truly enjoyable picture, which will please fans of the original and welcome new audiences with open arms.
From the moment the movie began, I had a smile on my face, and it remained there for the entirety of the film. I also laughed, a lot. Coming 2 America is loaded with great lines and comedic performances, and none of it gets old.
In fact, nothing about this movie feels old. Eddie Murphy is playing a character who now has the weight of a kingdom on his shoulders; there are moments in the film where characters address societal changes which have taken place in the last 30+ years; and the humour is all up-to-date.
But as fresh as the movie is, Coming 2 America doesn’t forget its roots, and it goes to great lengths to not only bring back the fun of the original, but almost all of the original cast come back too. With a couple of notable exceptions (Samuel L. Jackson and Eric LaSalle – who couldn’t appear due to scheduling issues), all of the key players from Coming to America are back.
And yes, this also means Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall once again play multiple roles in the movie. And yes, the barber shop gang are back and they are just as hilarious as they were the first time around – even if they don’t appear to have aged a day since 1988.
To add to the familiar faces are a collection of new actors, including Jermaine Fowler as Prince Lavelle, Nomzamo Mbatha as Mirembe, Tracy Morgan as Reem, and Wesley Snipes, who is on fine form as General Izzi – the leader of the African nation of Nextdoria. Snipes is clearly having a ball as General Izzi and he delivers a show-stopping performance.
I would say that Snipes is the stand-out performer in Coming 2 America, but that particular praise is reserved for Leslie Jones, who plays Prince Lavelle’s mother, Mary. Jones lights up every scene she is in and brings so much humour to the screen.
In addition to all of the above, Coming 2 America brings in a few surprise cameos, as well as an unexpected injection of action, and does all this while still maintaining the heartfelt message of love that the original delivered. In short: This is a great movie.
To borrow a phrase from Jurassic Park, Coming 2 America has spared no expense. This is a lovingly crafted picture, which has taken the time to build a strong sequel, with a superb cast, and a positive vibe.
Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the world is still in a mess and for the moment we might be spending a few more weekends stuck in doors. So, let Coming 2 America provide you with the perfect piece of escapism – it is the movie we all need right now.