Beverly Hills Cop
Directed by Martin Brest
Starring Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton
Review by Jordan
When reckless Detroit undercover cop Axel Foley’s best friend is murdered right beside him in a professional hit, he takes a “vacation” to glamorous Beverly Hills, where he spends his holiday time tracking down the killer responsible and ruffling the feathers of the Beverly Hills PD in the process.
He is determined, charming, unconventional and super savvy: a fish out of water having to adapt to a new culture where everyone is polite but no one has each others back. He impresses the ladies and wins the respect of the conservative cops he partners with. He’s an 80’s icon, and he was the main reason that Eddie Murphy and his brand of smooth goofiness took the world by storm.
Though Murphy’s first feature film 48hrs. is better, featuring more genuine laughs and an outstanding chemistry between himself and Nick Nolte, Beverly Hills Cop and its sequels remain the quintessential titles in his relatively expansive (though dipping in quality) filmography. The image of him cockily sitting on the dash of a red Mercedes, sporting blue jeans, a sweater and casually holding a pistol while staring straight at the camera speaks a thousand words (pun intended… though I imagine not many have seen his 2012 comedy/drama) for the wisecracking persona he so expertly cultivated.
Excluding Shrek (2001), it’s considered by many that Bowfinger (1999, co-starring Steve Martin) was the last good, let alone great film that he has made, with his humour broadening and his decision to target kids movies over the edgy, swear-filled fare that justifiably ignited his stardom. I certainly encourage anyone whose opinion on the Raw and Delirious comedian is negative to revisit his stint in Beverly Hills as a revenge/justice seeking, hyperactive cop, as well as his other films of the era, as his swagger is infectious and not easily forgettable.
Exciting, fast-paced and crowd-pleasing in the best possible way, Beverly Hills Cop may not be high art, nor a masterpiece, but it remains a classic none the less with a tremendously likable hero and underdog supporting players worth rooting for. The villain and his henchman appear straight out of a lesser Bond flick (though their plan isn’t quite as diabolical), but developing such characters really is unimportant when the fun part is waiting for them to be dispatched anyway, and despite all the killing, fun is what this is all about.