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'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F' review: Eddie Murphy brings back the comedic energy

Movie Reviews

‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F’ review: Eddie Murphy brings back the comedic energy

Another iconic Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer production is revived, but was the return of Alex Foley worth it?

Two years ago, came the release of Top Gun: Maverick, the long-awaited sequel that was thirty-six years in the making since the original. In this current age where we can’t seem to escape the nostalgia of the eighties, Maverick could have been easily been a cynical nod to the original, and while there are call-backs, it had its own story which was about characters moving forward, something that many legacy sequels failed to do. Considering what a massive success that the Top Gun sequel was, another iconic Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer production gets a long-awaited sequel with Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F, which as the title suggests, is aping on Top Gun: Maverick was doing. 

It has been thirty years since Eddie Murphy played arguably his most iconic role as the Detroit detective Axel Foley, and following the disastrous threequel from 1994, there had been numerous attempts to revive the character. Now on Netflix, the very streaming service that is all about ‘80s nostalgia with Stranger Things, Murphy returns as Foley, but how much has changed? 

Still a detective who prefers working in the streets of Detroit, Foley returns to Beverly Hills after his estranged daughter Jane’s (Taylour Paige) life is threatened. With the possibility of rekindling their relationship, Axel teams up with Jane, along with her ex-boyfriend Bobby and his old pals, John Taggart (Josh Ashton) and Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold), to uncover a conspiracy.

No matter how elaborating the plotting of these movies are, with Axel and his small group of reluctant allies uncovering a conspiracy amidst the glamour of Beverly Hills, the story has always been secondary over the priority of showcasing Eddie Murphy’s comedic ability. Given the complicated production history of Martin Brest’s original from 1984, the casting of Murphy is what elevated it as his humor bounced well with the likes of Judge Reinhold’s Billy and Josh Ashton’s Taggart, which made a fun buddy trio that defined the series. 

Whereas the previous sequels were diminishing returns, either due to reveling in excess or the dumb setting of a theme park, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F pretty much sticks to the template of its original. The callbacks can range from pleasant to contractually obligated, whether it is composer Lorne Balfe playfully incorporating elements of the original Harold Faltermeyer score, as well as bringing back classic tracks like Glenn Frey’s “The Heat is On”. A lengthy reprisal from Bronson Pinchot as Serge overstays its welcome, however

As much as it is nice seeing the aforementioned Reinhold and Ashton in their iconic roles, proving that some things haven’t changed, the central relationship is between Murphy and his on-screen daughter Taylour Paige. Although Beverly Hills Cop III had tried to show some maturity towards Foley which felt unearned, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F not only allows to explore Foley’s immaturity and difficulty of growing up, but also allows Murphy to maintain balance the comedy with dramatic stakes. 

Beverly hills cop

In terms of new players stepping into this known franchise, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has some fun banter with Murphy even if his character is oddly sidelined when it comes to character development. As previously stated, the conspiracy storytelling is rather secondary, which leads to often the weakest aspect of the series which is the not-so-subtle villains, and when you look at the cast list here, it comes to no surprise who the big baddie is. That said, Mark Malloy – who started directing television commercials in the early 2000s – makes his feature film directorial debut here and has a good eye when it comes to the action, as well as visually conveying the difference between the snowy streets of Detroit and the sun-shined glamour of Beverly Hills.

'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F' review: Eddie Murphy brings back the comedic energy
‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F’ review: Eddie Murphy brings back the comedic energy
Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F
This may not reach the cathartic cinematic spectacle of Top Gun: Maverick, but Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F is a pleasant reprisal for Eddie Murphy in his most iconic role and brings back the simple energy of the 1984 original
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Eddie Murphy gloriously returning as Axel Foley...
...whilst has fun banter with cast members, old and new to this franchise.
First-time feature director Mark Malloy embraces whilst being playful the simple premise of the original film...
...even if some of the call-backs are there for contractual obligation.
The conspiracy narratives have always been secondary in this series, as evident in the not-so-subtle villainy here.
8
Good

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