It may come as a surprise to some, but I finally familiarized myself with the original 'Coming to America' only just a couple of years ago. Luckily for me, I didn't have to endure the long, 32ish year wait, and the sequel felt a bit like it was released with the two-year gap a lot of sequels get. To quickly recap of the first film, it features Eddie Murphy as Prince Akheem; heir to the throne of the great African nation of Zamunda. However, when he is given a wife, he doesn't appreciate how she acts as a type of servant rather than someone to share a bond with.
Of course, this leads Akheem to America where he eventually meets the woman of his dreams and they go back to Zamunda to get married and start a family, altering the old laws of the country to do so. It was a fun movie with plenty of classic Eddie Murphy style comedy, but I do tend to be an odd one out with my opinions on it as a whole. I considered it to be perfectly decent, and one of the funnier romantic comedies of the 80s, but not much more than a lazy Sunday afternoon movie.
'Coming 2 America' opens up 30 years later, where Akheem and his wife Lisa (Shari Headley) are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. Things are disrupted when Akheem is summoned to tend to his dying father, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) who informs him that he has a son who lives back in Queens, NYC. Akheem insists that he only has three daughters; Tinashe (Akiley Love), Omma (Bella Murphy) and eldest, Meeka (KiKi Layne). But his best friend, Semmi (Arsenio Hall) reveals to him a sidestep on their original mission in the first film. Apparently, Akheem (under the influence of what must have been some incredibly heavy-duty weed at the time) didn't realize that he was with a random woman before actually finding Lisa. Thus, he now has a 30-year-old son.
Akheem heads to America with Semmi once again to find his son and bring him back to become his heir to the throne. Although Meeka has been training to take his place, old laws state that a male must take over, and Akheem decides to adhere to that idea. He finds his son, Lavelle Junsun (Jermaine Fowler) and brings him, his mother (Leslie Jones) and even his uncle Reem (Tracy Morgan) back to Zamunda to begin Lavelle's much belated training. With the laws working against him, Akheem races against time, for if there is no heir to the throne, Zamunda risks a hostile takeover by their neighbors of... oh man, "Nexdoria"..., lead by the militant dictator, General Izzi (Wesley Snipes).
I think that once things are set up here, the ending is highly predictable, and the whole film feels like a bunch of unnecessary steps to reach its conclusion. It could very well be that I missed an important detail or two, but it seems to me things should have been a bit easier in order for the film to reach the point that it eventually did. I think long story short, the first one is just better altogether. This one did a lot that I didn't really appreciate, where at least in watching the first one, I got a lot of laughs from the different characters Murphy and Hall were portraying. They do that again here, but there's less of that and more celebrity cameo.
Morgan Freeman, En Vogue, Salt n Pepa, Rick Ross, Gladys Knight, John Legend ALL make cameo appearances. Sadly, however, you won't get to see Samuel L. Jackson reprise his role as "Hold-Up Man", but Louie Anderson does come back to play Maurice, who Akheem worked alongside in a restaurant for a short stint. I should probably add that all of the barbershop characters are back as well, and as far as I'm concerned, they really make both movies, so there isn't an ounce of disappointment with them. I suppose it's not without several faults, but I think if you choose to have fun with this, it won't be a problem. If you're a Prime subscriber, and a fan of the original, go check it out and see how it holds up for you.