Honestly, I had my apprehensions about watching this movie after some of my Facebook friends said that it wasn’t as good as the original. Others thought that having a non-theatrical release was a “negative” sign, a red flag that the movie was a stinker.
Well, going straight to streaming is not necessarily a bad thing, it is a sensible and strategic alternative to presenting movies nowadays. I will have to disagree about it not being as good, as the first, but quite simply, they shouldn’t be compared.
The first movie was original and groundbreaking; few movies (to that date) had featured a black cast and a theme that did not rely on the usual fare of pimps, drugs, violence and and an abundance of sexual content. It presented a fantasy, but it was a nice little love comedy. Black people were also shown as decent human beings who wrestled with existential choices.
The second movie had difficult challenges to overcome as it mainly had to follow the magic of another movie, the extraordinary Black Panther . Coming 2 America also had to remain true to the original, and to the “Murphy/Hall” formula.
It did remain true, while showcasing some new talent as well, in addition to Murphy and Arsenio Hall . The plot/storyline was simple: The prince, who had become king, had the “problem” of needing a male heir (by law) to assume the throne. This was in spite the fact that he had three daughters, any of whom would have proven to be a fine successor. Of course, when he discovers that he has a son, and he finds him and brings him back to Africa.
How does it all work out? Nah… I am not going to spoil it for you; you would hate me for that. Now, Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall are older but still essentially the same, with their brand of comedy remaining. (I just wish we all could stay the same.) Anyway, most of the original cast members did only cameo roles, but enough to retain the integrity of the original movie.
Wesley Snipes surprised me as General Izzi. He managed to do “Murphy style” comedy with larger than life buffoonery and a departure from his usual acting style. There were new talents who really carried this story and rightfully, so. Pay close attention to Eddie Murphy’s real life daughter, Bella Murphy, playing a very significant role. Kiki Lanyne was also wonderful. She was in If Beale Street Could Talk and Native Son.
The young man, who played his long lost son? That’s Jemaine Fowler and he did a masterful job in that role. The soundtrack was great, but you aren’t going to hear any Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers… or Roy Orbison. I also like the masterstroke of showcasing of some of today’s hottest comics.
This movie is a “Fubu”… a “For Us, by Us”, in a sense, but to say, only that, would minimize it. It is really for everyone. Don’t be shy… welcome, to a nice little movie.