‘Beverly Hills Cop’ – Axel Foley does some of his best work when he’s suspended

Eddie Murphy was a wunderkind early in his career. In an amazing streak he starred in Beverly Hills Cop, 48 Hours, and Trading Places spread over three years. Some actors wait a lifetime to achieve similar blockbuster status.

Of all the sequels Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F is the closest in tone and action to the 1984 original. It’s like they got the band together. All the original cast members who haven’t passed away or retired are back. Newcomers Taylor Paige plays Foley’s daughter who’s a criminal lawyer while Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a Beverly Hill police detective. In one of the many laughter inducing lines Gordon-Levitt is reviewing Foley’s file and points out his past adventures in L.A. “And 1994, not your finest hour,” he quips in an obvious nod to the third installment of the franchise that is often derided as the worst of the sequels.

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F – (L to R) Joseph Gordon Levitt as Detective Bobby Abbott and Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F. Cr. Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix © 2024

Luis Guzman and Kevin Bacon pop up, the latter as a corrupt detective who turns out to be the main bad guy. Bacon becomes a worthy foil to Foley both rationalizing his corruption by complaining how little he makes as a cop and at the same time expressing a kind of admiration for Foley maintaining a broke-ass yet law abiding attitude.

In many ways Axel F plays like a greatest hits record, a compendium of the action and comic beats that made the original the huge hit of the mid-80s. (Beverly Hills Cop was released on Dec 5, 1984 and was the 7th highest grossing film of that year, as well as the number two top grossing film of 1985.)

Add in throwback soundtrack nods to songs like “Neutron Dance” and “The Heat is On” mixed with contempo songs as well as composer Lorne Balfe weaving in Harold Faltermeyer’s infectious themes and Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F has a groove that can’t be denied.

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