Posts Tagged ‘James Earl Jones’

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.

Rebellion in the Galaxy

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Director: Gareth Edwards

Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Riz Ahmed, Alan Tudyk, Ben Mendelsohn, Jimmy Smits, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Alistair Petrie, Genevieve O’Reilly, Carrie Fisher, James Earl Jones

British director Gareth Edwards grew up on the original Star Wars Trilogy like most young kids born in the 1970’s and was heavily influenced by directors George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. The Godzilla and Monsters director pays homage to the original Star Wars trilogy in the superb spinoff film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story featuring a diverse ensemble cast.

Felicity Jones

In the lead roles are British actress and Oscar nominee Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, Inferno) as Jyn Eso and Mexican star Diego Luna (Milk, Elysium) as Cassian Andor along with Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) as Eso’s father Galen Eso and unrecognizable Riz Ahmed (The Reluctant Fundamentalist) as treasonous Empire pilot turned Rebel Bodhi Rook.

Diego Luna

Audiences must remember that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a prequel to the original Star Wars film made in 1977 and centres on the rebels lead by Eso who plan on stealing the plans to the Empire’s galactic weapon of mass destruction, The Death Star. As the film unfolds and there is lots of inter-planetary travelling, Eso along with Andor and an Empire droid wonderfully played by Alan Tudyk battle the mighty Empire commandeered by an evil Orson Krennic superbly played by the blue eyed Australian star Ben Mendelsohn (Mississippi Grind).

Ben Mendelsohn

What is most impressive about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the tight narrative and impressive visual effects, the plot ably written by screenwriters Tony Gilroy and Chris Weitz who pepper the action packed intergalactic journey with visual treasures and homages to the original Star Wars trilogy which dazzled the world back in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Riz Ahmed

Any fanboy or girl of the original trilogy especially the first two films, Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back will appreciate all the references in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story including the Death Star, brief appearances by the malignant Darth Vader voiced again by James Earl Jones and even a glimpse of R2D2 and C3PO as the droids wave goodbye to Eso and the gang as they travel to Scarrif, a tropical island planet with an Empire base which resembles the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai resulting in one of the best battle sequences seen in any of the Star Wars films.

Director Edwards sets the bar high with Rogue One with a tight storyline, witty dialogue and solid central performances by Felicity Jones and Diego Luna. There is also some influential supporting roles including Oscar winner Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) as Saw Gerrera who is Jyn Eso’s guardian after her father Galen is mysteriously captured by the Empire Stormtroopers and Jimmy Smits (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith) reprising his role as Senator Bail Organa.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a superb prequel, a visual sci-fi feast which will have specific appeal to the dedicated fans of the Star Wars franchise. Now that George Lucas has sold the rights to Disney, the Star Wars universe is going to expand exponentially and in more innovative ways, cashing in at the all international box offices as each new film gets released.

This is highly recommended viewing for lovers of this extraordinarily imaginative Sci Fi franchise. If you love Star Wars then don’t miss Rogue One, it’s a classic.

 

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