In hilarious sequel, Murphy returns as King Akeem

Eddie Murphy continues to make fans laugh with his latest antics in Coming 2 America


Eddie Murphy is known for his comedic talent through his success in various films and stand up acts. His work never seems to disappoint.

Eric Omorogieva, Staff Writer

The recent release of Coming 2 America has bestowed upon us a rare opportunity to witness the long-awaited sequel to the 1988 rom-com, Coming to America. Eddie Murphy reprises his role as King Akeem Joffer of Zamunda while Arsenio Hall has returned to play Semmi, the right-hand assistant to the king. After 32 years of silence, there is a decent amount of pressure from the fans on Murphy and the crew to deliver an exceptional performance that not only pays respects to the classic but also upholds the top-notch comedic adventures and jokes of the former box-office hit.

Coming 2 America is directed by Craig Brewer, known for his work with Murphy in Dolemite Is My Name (released in 2019), and is distributed through Amazon Prime Video, who recently purchased the rights from Paramount Studios in 2020 during the pandemic.

The premise of this sequel is simple, but there is a layer of interesting unpredictability that expands on the plot of the first film. Early on, Akeem is still the prince of the film as well as the father of three girls. However, there is a growing concern regarding the lack of a male heir to carry on the legacy of Akeem’s dying father Jaffe Joffer. Before his father dies, Jaffe reveals to Akeem that he has a secret male heir, stemming from his original trip to Queens in 1988. This is new information for the fans.

The film subtly incorporates a mix of old footage from 1988 with the inclusion of deepfake technology on the faces of Murphy and Hall to create new hybrid scenes to sell the chronological events from the original film. This information motivates Akeem to search for his son Lavelle — played by Jermaine Fowler — in America and bring him back to Zamunda for proper succession.

There have been some changes made to Zamunda, but one thing remains certain — Zamunda and its people are still very funny. Their accents are still hilariously bad and the nation’s traditions are quite amusing (though some, such as the roles of women, might not have aged well).

One notable difference in this sequel is the exploration of Zamunda’s setting. Fans were not able to see much of the kingdom in its entirety in the first film, but this is rectified in the sequel. Much time is spent exploring the country’s land, infrastructure and network, such as the news channel where Trevor Noah shows up as a cameo.

The cast for the film did a tremendous job in putting together personalities that are as entertaining and lovable as those of the original. Newcomers such as Wesley Snipes as Gen. Izzi, the leader of rival kingdom Nextdoria, present great chemistry within the dynamic of the cast. Snipes’ accent is good, his character is unique and he brings the classic swagger that he is known for. KiKi Layne as Princess Meeka Joffer and Nomzamo Mbatha as Mirembe also shine throughout the film, introducing a layer of female talent that was missing in the original.

Naturally, Coming 2 America has its flaws when looking at it from a critical perspective. The plot is formulaic, it relies heavily on the jokes of its predecessor and it suffers from the same standard problems as many other cash-grab sequels end up having. However, it is very entertaining to watch — with featured cameos ranging from Rick Ross to Morgan Freeman — and succeeds in continuing a story that many have become entranced with over the past three decades.

For returning fans, the movie is worth the watch in terms of revisiting old characters. For new viewers, the exposition might be a bit confusing to grasp without prior viewing of the first film, which contains key plot points and jokes. Overall, Coming 2 America is a perfect movie in Amazon Prime’s Video catalog for good viewing with friends and family.