Monday, July 8, 2024

Axel F

Fueled on nostalgia and various Eddie Murphy bits, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F does feel like a Beverly Hills Cop movie... just slower, older, and at times in desperate need of a nap. Breaking out the hits including a big opening action sequence in Detroit set to music from the first two films (making use of "The Heat is On" and "Shakedown,") we then get Axel quickly back to Beverly Hills to protect his estranged daughter Jane (Taylour Paige) and to look for his missing friend Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) who both have gotten caught up in a case involving dirty cops.

You certainly aren't going to mistake Axel F with the first Beverly Hills Cop or even the second, but it's pretty easy watch that doesn't ask much of the audience (or, to be fair, most of its stars). The theme of the film is, of course, no one has really changed since the last film and here's a chance to throw them all together one more time. The conflict in the Axel/Jane relationship is crucial to the plot including staged moments for Jane to upstage her father (which is a tall order for anyone, even at Murphy's slower pace). However, like much of the film, the core relationship's success is hit and miss throughout the movie's near 2-hour running time. 

While Reinhold, John Ashton, Paul Reiser, and Bronson Pinchot all return, the film's focus is much more on Eddie Murphy playing off new the new characters of Jane and Detective Bobby Abbott (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who becomes the only cop in California Axel can trust. We get Kevin Bacon in full slimeball mode as the obvious villain of the piece, so obvious it makes Taggart's protection of him (at the cost of his loyalty to Rosewood no less) one of the script's biggest sore spots.

Cashing in on the nostalgia craze (even inexplicably bringing back Axel's crappy Chevy Nova which he would never pay to keep in service all this time), Alex F is exactly what you might expect. At its best, it's a mostly forgettable action flick with some okay stunts that closes the franchise (hopefully) on a better note that Beverly Hills Cop III. At its worst, the warts of the cash grab, the age of its stars, and the diminishing returns of Axel's gimmicks (mostly takeoffs from funnier versions used in earlier films) all begin to show.

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

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