‘Coming 2 America’ fails to match funny of original film

Rick's Reviews

Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy star in COMING 2 AMERICA
Photo Courtesy of Amazon Studios

“Coming 2 America” Grade 1 star: Kenya Barris (“black-ish”), Barry W. Blaustein and David Sheffield. try to beat the critics to the punch with their script for this sequel to the Eddie Murphy 1988 film “Coming to America.” They have the characters talk about bad movies such as sequels that no one asked to be made.

It’s a great question. There was no crushing reason to look at the further exploits of Akeem (Murphy) and his trusted traveling buddy Semmi (Arsenio Hall). If there had been a good reason, there would not have been a 33-year gap between the movies.

But, the sequel was made with the story picking up in Zamunda where Akeem has just been crowned king. Because Akeem has three daughters and no male heir, the head of a warring neighbor, General Izzi (Wesley Snipes), is threatening to invade. The day may be saved when Akeem learns he has an illegitimate son, Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler).

Akeem and Semmi head to Brooklyn to find Lavelle. And, this is where the sequel smashes into the biggest of all its problems. What made the original film work so well was having Murphy’s character be a stranger in a strange land. Humor poured out of the clashes between cultures and ideologies.

The sequel features only two very shot segments set in America. The rest unfold at King Akeem’s palace. A better name for the film would have been “Not Coming 2 America.”

The clash of ideas comes through Lavelle trying to learn the ways of Zamunda. Fowler is a talented actor but it’s not nearly as funny having his cocky attitude clash with customs as it was when Murphy was the royal fish out of water.

The three writers offer nothing original including the rehashing of old characters Murphy and Hall played in the first movie. The multiple characters they play were fresh 33 years ago. Now they are just sad reminders of how this sequel didn’t need to be made.

“Coming 2 America” can be seen through the streaming service of Amazon Prime Video.

Available on DVD or Blu-ray as of March 2

“Monster Hunter” Grade 1 ½ stars: “Monster Hunter” is the typical feature film based on a popular video game. It explodes with some stunning visual effects and the kind of action that feed the addictions of gamers. But, the script is as thin as the air at the top of Mt. Everest.

It seems that behind our world is another world filled with dangerous and powerful monsters. A mystical sandstorm transports Captain Artemis (Milla Jovovich) and her unit (TI Harris, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta) to a place of certain death.

Director/writer Paul W.S. Anderson can’t claim he didn’t anticipate the film turning out to be such an uninspired adventure. Almost every film he’s made is either based on a video game – “Mortal Kombat,” “Resident Evil,” “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” – or should have been a video game – “Alien vs. Predator,” “Death Race.” He’s found a very comfortable format and sticks with it without any signs of inspiration.

“Rick and Morty: Season 1-4”: Boxed set includes all 41 episodes from the first four seasons of the award-winning series.

“Victor and Valentino”: Supernatural adventure comedy about two half-brothers who spend a summer with their grandma in Monte Macabre, a small, mysterious town where the myths and legends of Mesoamerican folklore come to life.

“Crisis”: Three stories collide against the backdrop of the opioid epidemic. Gary Oldman stars.

“Fatale”: One-night stand proves dangerous when a man (Michael Ealy) gets pulled into a police investigation.

“Crazy Samurai: 400 vs 1”: Master samurai is ambushed when he arrives to duel the disgraced Yoshioka dojo. Includes a 77-minute action scene shot without cuts.

“Zappa”: Documentary chronicles the impact of one of the music industry’s most enduring talents in Frank Zappa. 

“World War II: The Long Road Home”: An escaped British prisoner of war fights to stay alive.

Being released through digital platforms

“Dolphin Island”: Teenage girl must find a way to continue living with her grandfather.

“The World to Come”: Katherine Waterston stars in this 19th century romance set in the American Northeast.

“The War and Peace of Tom O’Brien”: Much heralded writer decides to come out of retirement.

“The Orphanage”: Five-part film series by Shahrbanoo Sadat details the history of Afghanistan based on Anwar Hashimi’s unpublished autobiography. Look for it through Amazon Prime.

“Undertow”:  The lives of two women become dangerously entangled.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.