Coming 2 America (Blu-ray Review)

Akeem and Semmi returning to America was a dream a lot of Coming to America fans dreamed of.  From 1988 on, the original film became a cultural icon, showing a sweeter side of Eddie Murphy, and opening up the door for Murphy to become a multiple character innovator in many films to follow.  So, how does this film stack up to the original? Do we want to run back to Zamunda, or stampede away in disappointment.  More on that below, of course, and be sure to click the paid link at the end, for a surprisingly affordable pick up!


In Coming 2 America Akeem and Semmi are back! Set in the lush and royal country of Zamunda, newly-crowned King Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and his trusted confidante Semmi (Arsenio Hall) embark on an all-new hilarious adventure that has them traversing the globe from their great African nation to the borough of Queens, New York – where it all began. Additionally returning to their original roles in this long-awaited sequel, are James Earl Jones, John Amos, Louie Anderson, and Shari Headley, alongside new characters from Wesley Snipes, Tracy Morgan, and Leslie Jones.

Nostalgia seems to be what brought this film together.  It was an incredible feat to me to see all the original living cast (save for Eriq LaSalle, not truly missed here…) return for this new adventure.  I will admit I was practically salivating for this film when it finally dropped during the height of the pandemic on Prime Video. The week of release, I re-watched the gorgeous 4K Blu-ray of the original film, excited to see the next adventures of the ever kind King Akeem and his loyal valet Semmi. My expectations, with Craig Brewer and Eddie Murphy reteaming after the exceptional Dolemite is my Name, were extremely high. I was so excited to see the costuming (by the costuming icon Ruth E. Carter, rightfully Oscar nominated…) and the loophole they found to make the film plausible was also good.

Expectations of course aren’t always exceeded, however and Coming 2 America is one of those times. The film right out of the gate feels very cheap and very lazily recreated. For me, in general, Eddie Murphy aside, the performances are played at sitcom level energy.  One is almost waiting for a laugh track to show up.  James Earl Jones shows up for what feels like a cameo, as he passes the torch to Akeem, and Sheri Headley has the thankless job of being the straight faced, “Aeoleon” to Akeem’s “Joffe Joffer,” acting shocked as Akeem reveals he had a one-night stand before he fell for her and trying to seem supportive at the same time.  Leslie Jones, always used as an extremely hyper foil, does her usual screaming delivery and is at times is terribly distracting and annoying.  Jermaine Fowler, Murphy and Jones’ son, Lavell, does a nice job being equal parts of his parents, and his sweetness carries the role, making him a highlight along with Murphy.  Arsenio Hall comes through in a very funny flashback scene and beyond that is given very little to do here.  Even John Amos has nothing more than a little cameo.  The one thing that does stand very tall is the return of the ageless barbers of My-T-Sharp, who made me laugh just showing up on screen.


  • Encoding: MPEG 4-AVC
  • Resolution: HD (1080P)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
  • Layers: BD-50
  • Clarity/DetailComing 2 America comes to physical media with a great looking HD picture. Naturally, this movie was obviously filmed in a higher resolution (in this case,  filmed at 7K and mastered at 4K), so besides some very fake looking CGI, it’s a treat to take in the lush “Zamundan” scenery.  Filmed primarily at Tyler Perry studios, the film does have some artificial looking stuff going on, but the resulting disc has a tack sharp look detail wise.
  • Depth: Depth of field is also a real treat. There are no details to be missed and indoor and outdoor settings are beautifully represented for the length of the film.
  • Black Levels: Black levels are perfect and there are no instances of crush in the duration of the film.
  • Color Reproduction: Colors are always a thing to watch in these to Coming to America In this case, reds are bright and beautiful, while blues and greens add to the lush color palette. I was very taken with the overall color palette of the film.  Zamunda is a fantasy African nation, and the gorgeous costuming, outdoor environments (real and computer generated) are all gorgeous color wise.
  • Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are beautiful throughout. No putty people, and nobody with filmic sunburn syndrome.  Gorgeous people of color lovingly lit and filmed and nothing overblown.
  • Noise/Artifacts: None


  • Audio Format(s):English 5.1 DTS HD-MA, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles:English, English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Dynamics: The mix on Coming 2 America is a good one for what it is. Not the most dynamic, or the most immersive, or the most vibrant.  But better than the digital stream.  I am convinced though, that the sound mix is intentionally just good enough.  One of those things where the filmmakers were emphasizing the video over the audio, and so there is the issue.  It’s not a big deal, but this won’t be a demo disc for anyone.
  • Height: N/A
  • Low Frequency Extension: The bass department is one place the mix shines, with music taking the brunt of the bass response. I’m a sucker for a good low end, and this mix has that down to a science.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Surrounds are active during moments of busy-ness. Parties, outdoor excursions, cityscape style noise and more add to ambience in those channels.  There are also times where the mix is filled with music on those surrounds, and that’s a welcome addition too
  • Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is nice and clear throughout.


Coming 2 America comes home in a barebones release with nothing but the Blu-ray.  This one is strictly for fans of the film who didn’t want to stream it.  There is a commentary by Craig Brewer and a super short featurette “From Queens to Zamunda”, which is little more than an EPK talking heads kind of thing.  Definitely nothing to write home about. I personally think the package as it is makes sense. People will choose the Amazon stream over a disc mostly, unfortunately, but for those of us who collect, we will want for more, especially with all the promotion that went on leading up to this film’s release.


Coming 2 America could’ve been a nice complimentary footnote to its original film.  As it stands it’s a relatively expensive, cheap-looking and feeling carbon copy, with far less laughs and a lot less heart.  I didn’t hate the film, but I also don’t think it was necessary.  On a positive note, I am hopeful for more collaborations with Eddie Murphy and Craig Brewer, and hope they are better films than this.  I would say this is worth a pickup for completionists, or fans of the original when they want to do a double feature.

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