History has a way of repeating itself. In the case of Coming 2 America, now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, that’s a very good thing. Reuniting Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall, the sequel to the 1988 comedy classic packs a hilarious punch with the same ridiculousness, laughs, and characters as the original.
It’s been more than three decades since Murphy, in his role as Prince Akeem and Hall as his faithful sidekick Semmi, ventured to Queens, New York in search of the prince’s own queen. But the chemistry on-screen emits a nostalgic feel that gives fans of the former film a giddy sensation while further cementing this duo’s relationship in Hollywood history.
Sequels are always a challenge, but the acclaim of Coming To America, and the time in between the original and its reboot, presents a greater hurdle to its success. The team behind the now-streaming flick evidently knew this, casting fresh faces to continue the comedic story so many fell in love with the first time around.
“From the time of getting the idea and then all the different versions of the script it was maybe five years,” Murphy told Glamour of the journey to the follow-up film. “I knew that we had a solid script and a great idea. So I was optimistic when we started that it would be a good movie.”
This time around, Prince Akeem is not on a mission to find the love of his life—he’s still happily married to Lisa (Shari Headley). But he is faced with a new challenge: finding his footing as a new leader after King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) “relinquishes” his title during a rendition of Gladys Knight’s “Midnight Train To Georgia.” In the process of defining himself as the newly installed King of Zamunda, Akeem’s past meets his present, introducing us to his long lost son and prince in-waiting, Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler).
Coming 2 America doesn’t just follow Akeem and Lavelle’s struggles to carve out their own space, however; we also get to see his eldest daughter Meeka fight for her positioning among the royal kingdom. It is here where the film steps from 1988 into the newest century, reflecting a time when women continue to prove their abilities to lead among a sea of men. Though Zamunda is still very much a kingdom that prides itself on history and tradition, there is a shift happening with the newest generation of royals.