Beverly Hills Cop (1984)


 That's a pretty slick poster, though he never actually DRIVES anything that nice.
That's a pretty slick poster, though he never actually DRIVES anything that nice.

Genre: Action Crime Comedy

Starring: Eddie Murphy (The Adventures of Pluto Nash48 Hrs.), Judge Reinhold (Fast Times at Ridgemont HighThe Santa Clause)

Directed By: Martin Brest (Scent of A WomanGigli)

Overview: When the friend of a Detroit Cop gets murdered, detective Axel Foley goes to Beverly Hills to find the killer, and learns that cops in the Hills do things just a little differently.

Axel Foley. It’s one of those filmic names that stick with you even two decades later, in the same way than those who’ve seen them know exactly what movie Nurse Ratched, Harry Lime or Egon Spengler are from. And over 20 years later I remember Axel Foley as the same guy who cracked me up and got the job done in Beverly Hills Cop.

Beverly Hills Cop, is the story of Axel Foley, a wildcard detective from Detroit whose old best friend drops by for a visit, only to end up murdered for having stolen German bearer bonds. Axel, unauthorized to investigate the crime out in California, goes on vacation and heads our to the Hollywood Hills to look into art dealer and suspected smuggler Victor Maitland, who just so happens to be played by Russian Rambo II baddie, Steven Berkoff. From here, Axel does ad hoc detective work and is tailed by criminals and cops alike.

Beverly Hills Cop begins with action. The opening sequence is not so much a car chase as a demolition derby, where we’re graced with a massive transport truck plowing through at least a dozen parked vehicles while being chased by police with Detective Foley hanging off the back. The movie starts with an adrenaline rush and ends with one, and the creamy middle is filled with comedy drama and Eddie Murphy’s antics, and that’s its strength. Beverly Hills Cop is Eddie Murphy as I remember him best. The “Saturday Night Live” / Coming to America / Eddie Murphy Raw years where he wasn’t post-2000 making films for kids with Eddie in a fat suit talking to Eddie in a fat suit while being hit on by Eddie in a fat suit. Wait, let me put it simpler: Beverly Hills Cop is Eddie Murphy when he was good and funny. His supporting cast, golden as it is, certainly gets out of the way to give Eddie his spotlight. Judge Reinhold and John Ashton aside, Axel’s tough as nails boss who can’t finish a sentence without a swear word in it, played by Gilbert R. Hill, is great. It was fun seeing Ronny Cox as a good-guy police Lieutenant instead of an evil corporate Robocop sociopath. Jonathan Banks was great to see too, easily recognizable in the nigh-identical role of goon in “Breaking Bad”. A nice little cherry to top the cast is a very short part played by Damon Wayans as an extremely queeny hotel employee in the credited role of Banana Man. He was awesome.

Sergeant Taggart: Why didn't you identify yourself as a police officer when you were arrested?

Axel Foley: 'Cause I was mindin' my own business. Hey, where the fuck do you guys get off on arresting somebody for getting thrown out of a window?

 I’ve long ago realized that the best comedies have a nice heap of drama in them, and although extremely funny, Beverly Hills Cop is at its core a police action / investigation flick, and luckily for me, never delves into the realm of screwball.
 In lieu of a screencap, here's an awesome fan art version of the above poster. WOW!
In lieu of a screencap, here's an awesome fan art version of the above poster. WOW!

Performance: 9 Cinematography: 8 Script: 8 Plot: 8 Mood: 8

Overall Rating: 82% (Head To The Hills!)

Can you believe I only just now made the connection of our character’s name and the super famous title track of Beverly Hills Cop repeated at least five times throughout the film, “Axel F.”? Duh. Yes I’m an idjit. At least I use it for the power of letting you laugh at me.

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