It’s been a while since I’ve done this, I hope I can still review in the eloquent way you’re used to. Here goes:
Film yes good? Or film be bad? What be story?
Okay now that’s done, let’s onto the serious bits. Well I say “serious”. One of the most unrecognised downsides of cinemas closing is it’s meant that film marketing has changed. I used to find out when films were on by watching the trailers at cinema, obviously I can’t do that now. Because of that there are films coming out which I don’t know anything about, or in the case of this film, assumed was still in pre-production. I guessed it was coming out soon when cinemasins did a video on the original. I’ve kind of stopped seeing that channel as essential now that a lot of the “sins” include stuff like: “stacks cereal boxes in a way I don’t like”. But I will still watch it if it’s a film I know. I’m really glad I watched it for this, as otherwise a lot of the jokes wouldn’t have landed. That’s both a big flaw, and a great part of this film. It’s full of references to the original, so if that was one of your favourite films you will thoroughly enjoy all the returning characters. If, however, you watched it years ago and can barely remember it, there will be a lot of moments in this where you’re trying to remember who that character is, not remembering them because they were only in a few scenes in the original.
Returning characters aren’t the only cameos though. There’s a moment full of them. The kings birthday. It’s overblown and cultish in a way that’s entertaining in film, but is a horrible to see in reality. I was surprised enough by the Morgan Freeman cameo, then it gave us Salt-N-Peppa, then Gladys Night. It’s fun, and very nice to see.
What’s not nice to see is the incident which kicks the plot off, when it’s discovered that Eddie Murphy’s character has a male child so has a possible successor that he doesn’t know about. He seems confused about this as doesn’t remember having sex with anyone else. We find out that during the trip in the first film, he was drugged by Leslie Jones character, who then fucked him whilst he was unaware what was going on. Basically, he was raped. The other characters (including his wife) seem to blame him for it and at no point is the woman criticised or reprimanded for it. It’s kind of uncomfortable to watch nobody bring it up. Some of the American characters are….well they’re not great. Their general story arc seems to be “let’s go to Africa and be rich. We’re rich!”. With the exception of his son, most of them just come off as selfish, never changing or learning anything.
Jermaine Fowlers character is the exception, not only does his character grow, but he plays him well. A mix of confidence and uncertainty that plays very well in this film. Which is good as Eddie Murphy’s character isn’t as strong in this film as he was in the first one. I think that’s partly because the film doesn’t know how to treat him. For most of the film he is the king, but his character never seems like he’s in charge. For this story to work his character has to be the comedic straight man, and he sometimes is, but then he’s treated as the standard Eddie Murphy character. It’s inconsistent and harms the film. It’s a shame, the original is still a classic, so anything less than very good means this would be a disappointment, and that’s definitely the case for this. Wesley Snipes is entertaining as hell though.