Amazon Prime quickly seems to be becoming the home of belated comedy sequels. Last year they gave us Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. This year we have Coming 2 America. It’s safe to say that Prince Akeem’s return won’t be gaining any awards like the controversial Kazakhstani but hopefully we’ll see more comedy continuations from Amazon in the future. Are there any plans for Trading Places or Beverly Hills Cop?
Prince Akeem is crowned king of Zamunda after his father dies at a very touching pre-emptive funeral. He rules with his loving Queen Lisa and three daughters. But he must produce a male heir so as not to show weakness toward the neighbouring country ruled by a mad despot. In a slight regression of his character, Akeem travels back to Queens to search for and bring back a son that he never knew he had.
Though the plot of Coming 2 America is very much derivative of the first film, the story never feels forced. It feels like a sequel that would have happened sooner had producers been more willing at the time. In fact, it seems like a project that was indeed written in the late 90s/early 00s that was shelved. There aren’t really any modern references apart from the odd obvious Black Panther joke. The end of the film is a party scene that lasts at least ten minutes and there’s even outtakes in the credits.
It can’t be denied though that a more interesting plot is lying underneath what we got. Coming 2 America is essentially a rehash of the first with some roles reversed. But the threat of invasion from Nextdoria ruled by Wesley Snipes is where the plot gets slightly more unique. By the end Wesley Snipes’ Dictator character becomes reasonably irrelevant but he could have served as quite a cool villain. For example, The leader of Nextoria, a country in a deep recession, takes the death of Zamunda’s Monarch as an opportunity to steal the country’s wealth for his own. In doing so he imprisons Akeem and his family and he must risk it all to fight back for Zamunda. Admittedly, this is probably a more serious take, but there would certainly be some opportunities for good gags.
Overall, Coming 2 America delivers a very serviceable comedy. Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall both bring their all in bringing these beloved characters back to our screens. Though his character is slightly wasted, Wesley Snipes is a funny addition to the world. Newcomer Jermaine Fowler holds his own among comedy legends as the heir to Zamunda’s throne and is very charming and likeable. The stand out however is Leslie Jones as Akeem’s son’s mother. She doesn’t play any differently from the characters she’s usually cast as but every line she delivers brings a lot of laughter.
Aside from an all too familiar plot and quite a bit of hit and miss CGI, Coming 2 America is a faithful sequel. If you were a fan of the first film then this will definitely be for you.
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones, Tracey Morgan, Jermaine Fowler
Director: Craig Brewer
Writers: Kenya Barris, Barry W. Blaustein, David Sheffield
Producers: Eddie Murphy, Kevin Misher
Cinematography: Joe Williams
Music: Jermaine Stegall
Duration: 1hr 48mins