Despite its ensemble cast and numerous references to the original film, Coming 2 America ends up being a wasted effort that should never have been made.
Right from the moment a sequel was announced, I knew there was no way it could live up to the first movie. That line of thought prepared me for what was to come, and even with my low expectations, I was still disappointed.
With much of the cast of Coming to America returning, the second part sees Eddie Murphy's Prince Akeem Joffer of Zamunda made by his dying father, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) to go to America to bring his son (Jermaine Fowler) back home.
Akeem finds the young man whose name is Lavelle Junson and seduced by the affluence of his father, he goes back to the African kingdom of Zamunda where he must face the princely tests to decide if he will be a worthy successor to the throne.
While getting used to his sudden change of status, Lavelle is faced with marrying the daughter of a military man; a woman he doesn't know or love or decide to follow his heart and choose a Zamundan who befriended him from the moment he entered the kingdom.
There are so many plotholes in Coming 2 America, and I will try to mention the most pertinent ones. The first one that comes to mind is how the film didn't prove in any way that Lavelle is actually Akeem's son.
One of the burning questions I hoped would be answered when I saw the trailer was this; how on God's green earth did Akeem father a son in America when we saw that he had only ever been with Lisa (Shari Headley) while he was there?
The answer to the above question was given and as it turns out, it was a pretty lame one (told through a flashback scene that had me cringing in irritation as the de-aging effect on Murphy there was absolutely ridiculous).
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Now, I found it strange that Prince Akeem finds out about his son, and when he sees the young man, it doesn't even occur to him to want proof that he is his son (not even a DNA test). He just takes the dude back to Zamunda.
Wesley Snipes plays General Izzi, an antagonistic fellow who longs for an opportunity to wage war on Zamunda as a result of the wrong Akeem did to his family years ago. As the villain, the character was portrayed as a clownish and brainless man who easily changes his mind, deciding to let bygones be bygones after being outmatched and outwitted.
Here, Lisa isn't given much to do and her character is quite different from how she was depicted in the prequel. While she was portrayed as a strong, independent, and intelligent woman in the first part, here she is pretty much a dumb person who is easily swayed and seems to have little connection to her family.
As the prince, Fowler's acting is limited to how his character is written (which is nothing remarkable, by the way), so he isn't someone you hate or love. He just amused me a few times.
The CGI employed here was a load of crap; cheap and unconvincing. The set pieces were laughable (so unlike the first film), the humor didn't hit the right notes most of the time, and pretty much everyone was making a fool of themselves onscreen.
Coming to America is a classic because despite being made over 30 years ago, it still retains its magic. Among other things, it entertained and educated. It is the total package and spoke to audiences of all ages on different levels.
Part of what made the original movie succeed was the heart in the fairytale story. Despite being a comedy, there were moments where human emotions were convincingly depicted, with the humour coming in at appropriate times.
Those who decided to make this sequel can be forgiven for failing in their efforts to live up to the impact of its predecessor. But what is unforgivable is assuming that a stellar cast and horrible jokes make a good comedy.
There are cameo appearances by notable stars but even those are undermined by the silly exposition which unfolds.
And yes, Nigerian music sensation Davido makes an appearance, giving a brief rendition of one of his most popular songs. But even that is trumped by the general buffoonery spread among the characters.
I won't even go into Eddie Murphy's Akeem performance here. The only thing I will say about the character is that he left much to be desired.
For me, the only person I enjoyed watching was actress KiKi Layne. As Princess Meeka, her character is what her mother was in the first film; strong, intelligent, and loyal. Too bad these are not enough to save the film from its descent into mediocrity.
I don't enjoy writing negative reviews because the art of filmmaking is not an easy one. But when you decide to piss on a classic like Coming to America by making a lackluster sequel, you and I will definitely have issues.
Before I saw Coming 2 America, I saw a reviewer caption his/her review something like this; Don't Try To Fix It If It Isn't Broken. That is an apt description for this unworthy sequel. It is unfortunate that an actor like Eddie Murphy's name is attached to this kind of mess.
Prince Akeem is about to become the King of Zamunda but first, he must find his son who is a street-savvy young man in Queens, New York.