The Prince of Queens

Coming 2 America

Director: Craig Brewster

Cast: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Wesley Snipes, Shari Headley, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Kiki Layne, Tracy Morgan, James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman

Paramount Studios had plans to release this sequel theatrically but they sold the rights to Amazon Studios due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Fortunately, Coming 2 America had a theatrical release in South Africa on Friday 5th March 2021.

Firstly, a big thank you to Ster Kinekor for sponsoring a ticket for the highly anticipated sequel to the 1988 John Landis directed film Coming to America, simply titled Coming 2 America reuniting the original cast Oscar nominee Eddie Murphy (Dream Girls) and Arsenio Hall as Prince Akeem and his faithful advisor Semmi.

Over 30 years later and Prince Akeem is married to the gorgeous Lisa played by Shari Headley and they have three lovely daughters as they preside over the mythical African kingdom of Zamunda. Akeem’s father, King Jaffe Joffer is dying and Akeem’s daughters cannot inherit the throne due to the law of patriarchal descent that only allows a male heir to inherit a royal throne. Legendary Hollywood star James Earl Jones (The Lion King, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Hunt for Red October) reprises his role as King Jaffe Joffer.

Akeem learns that he actually conceived a son while on his trip to America in the original film, thirty years earlier. Akeem’s son, now 30 Lavelle Junson played by Jermaine Fowler is living in Queens with his outrageous mother Mary played by Leslie Jones.

In the neighbouring African militarized kingdom controlled by General Izzi wonderfully played by Wesley Snipes (New Jack City, Expendables 3, One Night Stand), Izzi is threatening war against Akeem if his new found son does not marry Izzi’s daughter.

Akeem and Semmi fly to New York and arrive at the borough of Queens where they go in search of Lavelle and naturally have to bring the young prince and his crazy mother back with them to Africa.

The comic trick about the original Coming to America was that Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall played multiple characters and their comedic talents are used again quite successfully as they both take on multiple roles including two characters in a New York barber shop and a crazy priest.

Audiences should look out for rising star Kiki Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk) as the beautiful Meeka and cameo appearances by Morgan Freeman and Trevor Noah.

While Coming 2 America is funny, vibrant and colourful, Hustle & Flow director Craig Brewster does rely on too many flashbacks from the original John Landis film to keep this sequel grounded although there are some funny scenes especially Lavelle’s attempt to capture a lion’s whisker.

Unfortunately, Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall’s comic moments in Coming 2 America are limited in this version unlike in the original which was absolutely hilarious and back in the late 1980’s, they were not afraid to push the envelope. Thankfully Wesley Snipes performance as the flamboyant General Izzi is next level and really eye catching. It’s really great to see Wesley Snipes back on the big screen.

Ultimately, Coming 2 America is a very light and vibrant family comedy which luckily does not take itself too seriously and is perfect entertainment for the whole family.

Coming 2 America is recommended viewing at all cinemas in South Africa including Ster Kinekor and is also available on Amazon Prime for overseas territories. This much needed sequel to the original film gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10 and is worth seeing for a good laugh.

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