Sunday, 16 April 2017

Retro Review: Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

Beverly Hills Cop 
1984
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Ronny Cox, Steven Berkhoff
Genre: Action Comedy
US Box Office Gross: over $234 million

Plot: A free-wheeling Detroit cop pursuing a murder investigation finds himself dealing with a very different culture of Beverly Hills 






'Eddie's Breakout Role, Beverly Hills Cop Is A Bone-Fide Action Comedy Classic'

After initial successes with Trading Places and action thriller, 48 HRS, Eddie Murphy's rise to movie stardom long continued right into the mid to late 1990s with 1984's Beverly Hills Cop. The first of three films in the series (with a rumoured fourth instalment in the works), Murphy is Detroit cop, Axel Foley who goes on vacation, only to investigate the murder of his best friend, Mikey who was subsequently killed. Axel is advised by his old chief not to get involved in the case, but afterwards Axel travels to Beverly Hills to avenge Mikey's death, after acquiring a lead from a close friend, Mikey's wife. 

Though it is light-hearted in places, the tone of Beverly Hills Cop is in many ways similar to 48 HRS, as it plays out as a standard action cop movie, with some comedy and humour sprinkled in places​. And in Eddie Murphy's performance, the role of Axel combines the best of both the funny, fun-natured aspect of Billy Ray Valentine from Trading Places and tough, 'don't mess with me' bad- assery of 48 HRS Reggie Hammond. 

Murphy is one of those comedic actors who can be truly convincing and believable as an action star and for me to buy him into one. 1997's Metro is one other example. Given that Sylvester Stallone was touted to play Axel Foley at one point, seeing Eddie do his thing, and watching him throughout he made perfect sense. I'm a little surprised also that he didn't obtain more action comedy or action roles, besides the Beverly Hills Cop films; as Murphy has a natural talent for them. 

He is humourous but not overly humourous and too much of a joker that it puts people off, but also when he is being straight and serious, he means it. There is a time and place to be cracking jokes and such, yet as Axel he knows when to draw the line. 

His character is witty, smart, who often relies on improvisation and street smarts to get him out of and into tricky situations & to foil them. With his unorthodox approach in fighting crime, he gets results, which is a breath of fresh air to see in contrast to other action comedies. Even though it may annoy his superiors and fellow compatriots. 

The plot isn't that special or interesting - a fish out of water back story that occupies within a cop movie formula and is fairly routine. 

Watching Beverly Hills Cop today, whilst it remains watchable and entertaining in places, as well as a classic, it's not as bold and great as it was in 1984. Then again, the best thing about this film is Axel himself via Eddie Murphy. His impact, energy that he has in abundance and the difference his presence makes in Beverly Hills Cop, is immense. Whilst the other actors are passable. Ronny Cox is very good as Taggart and Rosewood's main chief and a role he is not known for playing very often. The villains played Steven Berkhoff and Jonathan Banks have little to do but utter a few lines and kill 1,2 people. Judge Reinhold was all right, but other than Beverly Hills Cop, his other movie outings are not worth shouting about. 

This is by and far the Eddie Murphy show, and it still remains the best out of the three films in the series. 





Final Verdict: 

Still the pinnacle of the three Beverly Hills Cop movies 
although it's not as great as I saw it years ago, it's still Eddie Murphy in fine form as Detroit's finest. As well as one that put him in the Hollywood elite, until the 2000s, anyway. 

A pure '80s classic that still stands the test of time today with a terrific soundtrack to boot, featuring The Pointer Sisters, Patti Labelle. & yet really the little moments like the bananas in the exhaust pipe are what make it memorable, as well as Eddie's performance as Axel, moreso than anything else. 



Overall: 



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