Sunday, 11 April 2021

Coming 2 America (2021)


It seems Hollywood just doesn't learn a thing as movies continue to devolve into a state of complete and utter irreversible decay. Don't get me started on the tiresome superhero genre we're having to put up with.

So, someone thought it would be a good idea to make a sequel to a comedy that came out back in 1988. Now don't get me wrong, 'Coming to America' is easily one of the best comedies of the 80's, a sheer classic with a stellar cast, but a sequel? Well actually the idea of a sequel here works, for once. Yes the obvious story arc for this comedy does mean a sequel could be made and made well if done correctly. In fact the plot and title are so obvious it beggars belief how anyone could possibly feck this up (they still managed to feck this up...sigh!).

Without beating around the bush here, they have simply made the same movie again with all the same beats, jokes, and lines. Seriously!! I mean sure the plot reversal was always gonna be obvious but they didn't have to copy the original line for line. Do any of these writers have any imagination? And they get paid tonnes of money for this highly privileged and easy gig, Jesus!

We find out that Akeem had an illegitimate son back in Queens in the original movie. Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is now the King and requires an heir so this bit of news turns out to be quite fortuitous for him. So it's off to America to find and bring back his long-lost son in order to prepare him for his place on the throne.

The movie starts off in Zamunda pretty much the same way the original started. We meet King Akeem with his sweetheart Queen Lisa (Shari Headley) on the morning of their wedding anniversary (in exactly the same way we met Akeem at the start of the original). Akeem practicing his combat, another big dance number, this time for the funeral of Akeem's father King Jaffe Joffer etc...As the day progresses we meet many of the origjnal cast again along with a few new ones such as General Izzi (Wesley Snipes) who is the brother of Imani from the first movie (the bark like dog lady). And a witch doctor type character that genuinely looked like something out of a Sam Riami flick. General Izzi is the leader of a presumably corrupt militant nation next to Zamunda, hence the name 'Nexdoria' (ugh!). He wants Akeem's daughter to marry his son for obvious reasons that don't go anywhere.

There is also a small flashback sequence from the nightclub in the original with all the weird Queens women. Not only was this an obvious move to incorporate some of the old laughs of the original (seeing as this new one is devoid of much laughter), but it also allowed for a quite obvious CGI de-aging sequence of Murphy and Hall to showcase how Akeem ended up having a bastard son. Spoiler alert, it's because the quite awful Leslie Jones character drugged and fecked him (umm...controversial much?).

Back in America we eventually meet Akeem's long-lost son, and it's some random guy I've never heard of who looks exactly like Chris Tucker. Cue the inevitable old black barbers again (who are somehow still alive in this universe), and Akeem somehow dressing up in the exact same 'common American' outfit he wore in the first movie. You know the one, the NY Yankees jacket covered in badges with New York baseball hat? How and where in the hell, did he get that ensemble from?? It's at this point you know things are going downhill fast.

Back in Zamunda we now get the obvious reversal of the original movie which was to be expected and is fine. Akeem's son Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) must acclimatise to the cultures and customs of an African country. This does lead to some of the more original aspects of this movie which work in comparison to the original, without feeling like the same shit all over again. Alas the writers still couldn't quite break away and ended up merely giving Lavelle the same moral/emotional quandary as Akeem had. He is supposed to have an arranged marriage but ends up falling in love with someone else, what to do?

Obviously you know what happens in the end because its bloody obvious. This movie is exactly the same as the first movie. I realise I have been comparing this movie to the original a lot but quite frankly what do you expect?  All they have done here is merely stuff in a load of famous cameos from various famous black singers and celebs which makes everything feel more fake. There are loads of (overly sexualised) dance numbers to presumably appeal to the younger hip generation (because overly sexualised content is for youngsters now?). There's a touch of ''white privilege'' throw in there at the start just to appease the woke crowd. And of course they had to brand the classic creepy Reverend Brown (Arsenio Hall) character as a sexist, because woke Twitterati.

All that aside, the real problem here is just how fake and small in scope the whole movie feels. It looks like everything was filmed on sets with CGI backgrounds. In the original we saw lots of New York, the movie gave you a real taste of the city/borough. I always loved how it was snowy when they filmed it, always gave the location some added realism. You tend to think of cold weather with New York. Just like John Landis did with 'Trading Places', also look out for another nod to that movie. But this new movie offers none of that, it's all enclosed on obvious sets, it looks like a TV movie. Even the sets were quite small!

This movie should have been called 'Coming to Zamunda' or 'Back to Zamunda'! Come on people!! It was bloody obvious! Or if you wanted to use the numeral then how about 'America 2 Zamunda'? Hire me Hollywood geez!