Release Date: 5th March 2021 (in Nigerian cinemas and Amazon Prime)
Directed By: Craig Brewer
Produced By: Kevin Misher and Eddie Murphy
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, KiKi Layne, Shari Headley, Teyana Taylor, Wesley Snipes and James Earl Jones
Awesome-o-metre : 6.0/10
Coming 2 America is the sequel to the 1988 classic and is set in the lush and royal country of Zamunda, newly-crowned King Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and his trusted confidante Semmi (Arsenio Hall) embark on an all-new hilarious adventure that has them traversing the globe from their great African nation to the borough of Queens, New York – where it all began.
Let me start by confessing that I was unenthusiastic when I heard a sequel was going to be made as I entertained the fear of a classic film being ruined, so I want to be one of the first to put your mind at rest by telling you that Coming 2 America is a decent film and I will tell you why.
Simply put, Coming 2 America is fueled by one of the most powerful emotions known to man and that is nostalgia. The producers did not pretend that had anything new to add - so they simply went and brought everything and everyone back. They brought back literally all the old characters (who have aged obviously) and even used the same score with a few modifications. These characters did and said the same things as the original classic, so you will find yourself repeating their lines with them. Of course, Eddie Murphy reprised his multiple roles although all his characters spotted a tummy because Eddie seems to have grown a bit of a gut as he has aged.
Another upside to Coming 2 America is that everything in the film, from the locations to the costume is regal and beautiful to behold. I expect some Black Panther comparison, but I think Coming 2 America gives a more accurate representation of Africa. Expectedly however, the Americans had to throw in stereotypes like how Africans mingle with wildlife etc. Talking about things being over the top, there was enough music and dance interludes to punctuate scenes and bring in some energy.
Coming 2 America is hilarious with a lot of heart and moral lessons and made some social statements specifically targeting patriarchy and racism. If you look carefully, they even managed to take a dig at Nigeria and the #EndSars protest. Just keep an eye out for the scene where a character wore a Green white, Green Puma outfit and you will see what I mean. But let’s be honest, can a film purportedly shot in Africa not feature Nigerian music? Keep your ears perked for some Naija music that will surely make you proud. Also, a Naija artist had a cameo appearance so, look out for that too.
However, Coming 2 America wasn’t without its flaws. There were a couple of scenes that featured a de-aged Eddie Murphy that came off as super creepy. I did not expect any de-aging in this sequel and when they did, it was just cringy.
When I heard that Coming 2 America is pivoted on an Illegitimate son of Akeem, I was worried because that kind of errant behavior seems out of character for the Akeem we know and love. So, the attempt to explain how he came about is hit or miss (depending on how you see it) because it will either be hilarious or annoying to you. The reaction it elicits in you will probably set the tone for the whole film.
In the same line of hits or misses, I worry that Coming 2 America will not appeal to the younger generation aka Gen Z even if they watch the first film because this film is primary propelled by nostalgia and is a case of “you had to be there”.
As, as you can see from my review, there are the ups and downs in Coming 2 America so if you enjoy it or not will be largely based on individual preferences and probably age. Coming 2 America hits cinemas (in Nigeria) from the 5th of March 2021 and will also be streaming on Amazon Prime, so you can check it out and make up your own mind. When you do see it, please feel free to leave a comment below or on Twitter or Facebook !