Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F


After four seasons in the early eighties as a regular cast member on the iconic live sketch show Saturday Night Live, Eddie Murphy decided to make the jump onto the big screen, with his first two films being 1982’s 48 hours and 1983’s Trading Places.

It was his third film however, 1984’s Beverly Hills Cop that would see Murphy take centre stage, and cement his position as a bona fide leading star, and help make him the household name he has become.

Forty years on and the 63 year old actor finds himself reprising his role as Axel Foley for the fourth time, 30 years after appearing in Beverly Hills Cop III.

boom reviews Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F
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Still working as a cop on the beat in Detroit is Axel Foley (Murphy). Out of the blue he gets a call from an old friend, Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold), who’s still in LA, calling to tell him that his estranged daughter Jane (Taylour Paige), a criminal defence attorney, is in danger.

This is enough to get Axel to leave Detroit and head west once again, to his old stomping ground of Beverly Hills. Once there he not only finds that Jane’s life has been threatened, but his old buddy Billy has gone missing.

So it’s time for Axel to do what he does best, to take the law into his own hands to get things done – his way.

boom reviews Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F
So you've been working in Walmart for 20 years?!

It feels as if Netflix must have been pretty chuffed with themselves to resurrect this beloved franchise, although the reality is, throw enough money at something and it’s likely to happen. Especially as Murphy must have been easier to persuade after starring in their Christmas flick Candy Cane Lane.

It is an unapologetic throwback to the eighties franchise, filled with original cast members, all driven by the unmistakable theme of ‘Axel F’ by Harold Faltermeyer.

It’s a curious decision then for the film to be directed by a complete newbie, with Australian commercials director Mark Molloy making his directorial debut.

To his credit, he understands the importance of nostalgia and piles it on in heaps. The audience gets a real sense that the loveable Axel Foley is back, but not quite at his best.

The problem lies with the script, which follows a standard template from Screenwriting 101. The go to storyline for any of these recent sequels, reboots of much loved franchises etc, always appears to lean on new family members appearing on the scene; for instance, it’s the Spengler family who have picked up Egon’s proton pack to continue the Ghostbusters franchise, and Axel’s grown-up daughter is the emotional pull here.

It’s convenient, for sure, but just feels a trifle lazy. The rest of the story was obviously built around that, and it just feels very pedestrian.

And then you have Murphy himself. In the first film it found him as the lead actor for the first time, with no support, with his role in the film even being the film’s title. It gave him a platform to really shine, showing off his ad-libbing skills to bring to life a confident, cocky character that audiences very rarely see, but whom fell in love with instantly.

With Murphy an established actor he has nothing to prove at this stage of his career, and he really does the bare minimum to make an impression. Certainly the comedic elements are thin on the ground, only reinforcing the existing generic nature of this sequel. This was an opportunity to have some fun with the character, but Murphy is clearly in no mood for that.

If you’re simply looking for a pure hit of eighties nostalgia, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F delivers, just don’t expect anything more than that.

we give this two of five