Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Beverly Hills Cop

Throwback Tuesday takes us back to 1984 and the birth of the action-comedy. Originally a far more straight action film that at one time was a vehicle for Sylvester Stallone, Beverly Hills Cop became a much more humorous break-out role for Eddie Murphy cementing him as a bankable movie star and arguably carving out a new niche for the action-comedy (with the script being rewritten on the fly while the film began shooting under director Martin Brest).

Murphy stars as talented, but reckless, Detroit police officer Axel Foley who heads to Beverly Hills after an old friend (James Russo) is killed. Without the support of cops back home, or the California authorities, Foley begins his own investigation into his friend's former employer (Steven Berkoff) who he believes is smuggling bearer bonds and drugs through customs.

The film is filled with a great cast. Berkoff is menacing as the film's villain with an always fuming Jonathan Banks as added fun as the top henchman. Berkoff fits just right in Axel's old friend with a checkered past, Lisa Eilbacher is another old friend who is not quite a love interest, and we get the great cops in Beverly Hills (Ronny Cox, Stephen Elliott, Judge Reinhold, and John Ashton) and Detroit (Gilbert R. Hill and Paul Reiser) to round out the cast.

Beverly Hills Cop checks boxes for both a great film, with a strong story and great characters put to good use throughout, and a film with great moments (many of these involving Axel taking advantage of the Beverly Hills cops for his own amusement and to free himself to continue his investigation). The unrelated, but both brutal and humorous, opening action scene involving a cigarette truck car chase shows us immediately who Axel is and how his work as a police officer can get out of control before the film gets more serious with the murder of his friend and his trip to Los Angeles (while still offering plenty of opportunities to showcase the star's humor throughout). 

The film is an action film with the added benefit of working in Murphy's talent comedy at just the right amount (a mixture its sequels struggled with). Along with the strong action and comedy, the film also delivers a killer Grammy Award-winning soundtrack that fits both of its locales with "The Heat Is On," "New Attitude," "Neutron Dance," "Stir It Up," and the recurring electronic synth score "Alex F." Ocean's Eleven is (rightfully) often talked about in terms of cool, but long before Danny Ocean there was Beverly Hills Cop's Axel Foley as the central character to one of the coolest films of the 1980s.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: Beverly Hills Cop
  • IMDb: link

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