By Naniyah McClain
Student Lifestyle Editor
In the much-loved 1988 original, “Coming to America,” Eddie Murphy played the charming prince of Zamunda who lands in Queens, N.Y., in search of a queen to escape an arranged marriage. He finds his soul mate in Lisa McDowell (Shari Headly).
In “Coming 2 America,” out March 5 on Amazon Prime, the newly crowned King Akeem ( Murphy) travels back to Queens with his trusted friend, Semmi (Arsenio Hall), for a different purpose: to find his long lost son, Lavelle Junson (Jermaine Fowler).
The new movie focuses on Lavelle taking a royal test to prove that he could be the future king of Zamunda.
Many characters from the original film are included in the sequel, such as King Jaffee Joffer (James Earl Jones), Cleo McDowell (James Amos), Imani Izzi (Vanessa Bell Calloway) and Oha (Paul Gates).
Murphy brings back his own heavily made-up, irrepressible characters such as Clarence, the trash-talking barber of the My-T-Sharp Barbershop; Saul, the elderly Jewish barbershop client; and Randy Watson, the lead singer of Sexual Chocolate.
Not to be outdone, Hall reprises Morris, the trash-talking barber, and Reverend Brown, the comically inappropriate minister. He’s also added a new character, Baba, a wise shaman, to his coterie of eccentrics.
The importance of finding a true soulmate, family and unity are evident throughout the movie.
The great additions of new actors and comedians give the film a refreshing and modern tone — especially Leslie Jones and Tracy Morgan. Musicians John Legend, En Vogue, Salt-N-Pepa and Gladys Knight make special appearances to add special notes throughout the movie.
Many moments in the film depict the differences between old and present-day Queens. A few jokes touch on inappropriate behavior around women.
Most fans may not see the sequel live up to the first film, but keep an open mind for the chance to briefly escape from the madness of the pandemic to simple madcap fun.