Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
“He’s been chased, thrown through a window, and arrested. Eddie Murphy is a Detroit cop on vacation in Beverly Hills.”
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Director: Martin Brest
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton
Synopsis: A freewheeling Detroit cop pursuing a murder investigation finds himself dealing with the very different culture of Beverly Hills.
You can tell how old Beverly Hills Cop is by the fact that, despite starring Eddie Murphy (48 Hrs., Meet Dave), it is actually a pretty good movie, thanks not only to Murphy’s largely improvised performance but to the chemistry between hapless police team Taggart (John Ashton – The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Midnight Run) and Rosewood (Judge Reinhold – Gremlins). The two of them are assigned to tail Murphy’s off-duty Detroit cop, Axel Foley who has travelled to Beverly Hills against the orders of his angry-shouty police chief to track down the men who killed his ex-con friend. They’re like an old married couple, Taggart and Rosewood, with the younger man gently chiding the older for the amount of red meat he eats (“did you know by the time he’s fifty the average American has five pounds of undigested red meat in his bowels?”) and the coffee he drinks as they stake out their target. Of course, they’re no match for the street-wise Foley who stuffs bananas into the tailpipe of their car while they’re distracted by the waiter delivering a free meal to their stakeout car. Despite their initial antipathy towards him, it’s not too long before the duo thaw out, and they’re soon working with him to prove that outwardly respectable art dealer Victor Maitland (Stephen Berkoff – A Clockwork Orange, 44 Inch Chest) is the man behind both the murder of Axel’s friend and a major smuggling ring.
Beverly Hills Cop is a typical fish out of water comedy, with all the humour derived from Murphy’s casually dressed, foul-mouthed and rule-breaking cop’s repeated run-ins with the Beverly Hills Police Department. And because it’s Murphy at his early-career peak, he’s never anything less than entirely likeable, piling on the charm, flashing that beaming smile and barking out his trademark honking laugh between carefully timed action set-pieces. Movies like this sometimes have a production-line feel about them – especially those from the 80s when the buddy-cop genre was at its height – but Beverly Hills Cop is so slickly produced that it never feels laboured or routine. It’s lively and energetic and has a buzz about it. The laughs are frequent, with Ashton and Reinhold allowed their own moments in the limelight. But it’s still Murphy’s movie, and in a way it’s a sad reminder of just how good he was when he was still lean and hungry.
(Reviewed 11th April 2015)