People have been begging me to do “Coming 2 America” despite the fact I have little knowledge on the first film; as of jotting this down, I have seen it which doesn’t really add much contribution to the nostalgia factor despite me thinking the first film was actually pretty good. So, I can understand why people fell in love with the original.....and why it’s follow-up feels so tacked on and phoned-in.
Now there were some things I found to appreciate: Costumes and production design are more accustomed to both cultures to the characters, I can’t really say much about the music behind OK, seeing the original characters come back is refreshing in a sense and outside cheap nostalgia for older fans (I’ll get to that soon), I do appreciate how the film’s message and traditions tries to reflect back to the original for a new generation: breaking against tradition and choose your own destiny amongst anything else. On one hand, it is consistent with Akeem’s line from the original: “It is also tradition that things must and do change”.
At the same time though, the entire project just REEKS of desperation: there’s cheap nostalgia at every corner and it just feels lifeless the second time around. The entire reason for them coming back to America is poorly written and shoddy; the lack of thought placed into it and glossy CGI, in turn, soils Akeem and Semmi’s characters and also tarnishes the love story from the original. I only found myself laughing very few times since most of the jokes are stale, the cameos are gratuitous, editing was baffling to glance at in the first act, there was no ideal balancing act between its serious and comedic moments, the actors were phoning it in for the most part, new characters came out as uninteresting, bland or just plain annoying what more can I say about the plot other than what’s already been said? Also, yes; I appreciate how they were trying hard to bring a strong PC message to this film, one that was definitely meant to inspire and give a strong message of empowerment amongst the black community. However, in trying to do that, they completely miss the mark by assuming that black culture is only centered on hip hop references and ebonics. If you’re making a movie trying to humanize and empower black culture and then go out of your way to stereotype that culture every chance that you get, that kind of sidebars the purpose. It’s just baffling since these writers have worked with Murphy countless times as well as Craig Brewer; he did a decent job with directing Dolemite Is My Name which also has Eddie Murphy, so what the hell is this films excuse?
I legitimately can’t call this sequel necessary, for it is a sequel in NAME ONLY. This is the new Blues Brothers 2000, I don’t care how they try to justify it in advertisements in the following weeks to come: it’s just a long-awaited reunion squandered on a half-finished idea with half the budget, half the energy, none of the creativity and a million reasons why this should not have been green-lit.