Tuesday, September 18, 2012

715. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

Running Time: 105 minutes
Directed By: Martin Brest
Written By: Daniel Petrie Jr., Danilo Bach
Main Cast: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Lisa Eilbacher, Ronny Cox
Click here to view the trailer


No, "Beverly Hills Cop" isn't my favorite movie of all-time...anymore. However, believe it or not, there was a time when I considered this 1984, buddy cop film starring Eddie Murphy my favorite movie. I'll get into the details on that in a little bit though.

Eddie Murphy stars as Axel Foley, a wisecracking, rookie detective working out of Detroit. The film establishes early on that Foley doesn't play by the rules and does whatever HE deems necessary to make a bust. One evening, after returning home from work, Axel is surprised by a visit from his best friend, Mikey. The two make an interesting pair, considering Mikey is a career criminal and Axel is a Detroit cop. Mikey reveals to Axel that he's been working in Beverly Hills for their third friend, Jenny Summers (Eilbacher), as a security guard at a warehouse owned by art dealer Victor Maitland. Mikey also reveals some German bearer bonds that he "borrowed" from Maitland, worth millions. While arriving home from a night out at the bar, Axel and Mikey are jumped by two thugs. The thugs knock Axel out cold, question Mikey about the bearer bonds and proceed to murder him. Axel, upset over the death of his friend and wanting to be involved in the case, requests vacation time so that he can go to Beverly Hills and do some snooping around. Once in La La Land, Axel becomes even more of a vigilante, sparing nothing to get to the bottom of his friend's murder. Of course, the Beverly Hills Police Department has something to say about Axel taking the law into his own hands, in the form of Detective Rosewood (Reinhold), Sgt. Taggart (Ashton) and Lt. Bogomil (Cox).

When I was around the age of seventeen or eighteen I had a massive infatuation with Eddie Murphy. For some reason, I just loved the guy and could bring myself to watch anything that featured him. Listen to these startling facts: During my Eddie Murphy days, I made it to the movie theater to see three of Eddie's worst pictures - "Showtime", "The Adventures of Pluto Nash" (a film that only grossed $7.1 million and cost about $100,000 to make) and "I Spy". I owned every single one of his movies on VHS (including "Best Defense" and a compilation video of his best skits from Saturday Night Live) and would watch them periodically, in hopes of being able to quote all of them verbatim. I even went so far as to seek out and purchase videotapes of "The PJs", an Eddie Murphy voiced animated show on Fox. However, my favorite Eddie Murphy related venture was always "Beverly Hills Cop", a movie that I probably watched about fifty times during the years when I was the most die hard of die hard Eddie Murphy fans. I owned the soundtrack to the movie and can even remember when the film was finally released on DVD, packaged in a box set with it's two subsequent sequels. My God, those facts ARE staggering, especially considering that this was only about ten years ago! Anyway, I'm happy to report that I've done a lot of growing up in those ten years, especially when it pertains to movies and "Beverly Hills Cop" has ceased to be my favorite movie of all-time. Prior to this morning, I probably hadn't seen it in about ten years and I have to say that while calling it my favorite movie of all-time was a bit of a stretch (and that's an understatement), it IS a lot of fun.

The film also included another favorite person of mine, Bronson Pinchot
Since Eddie and I "broke up", I'm sad to report that his choices in roles have not improved that much. When I last left him, Murphy was starring in "The Adventures of Pluto Nash" as a nightclub owner on the moon. Just four years ago, Eddie returned to an interstellar role in "Meet Dave" and over the past five years his films have received mainly negative reviews, including "Norbit", "A Thousand Words", "Imagine That" and perhaps his most popular film in the past ten years, "Tower Heist", which did manage to score a profit. I really think that there's a fountain of untapped potential in Eddie Murphy though and maybe this is just my old allegiance to him talking, but I'm begging Hollywood to give him some more serious roles. A few years ago, there was a rumor going around that Murphy was to star in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds". I was so excited for this and figured that if anyone could tap into any hidden potential possessed by Murphy, it'd be Tarantino. That, as we all know, didn't happen and Eddie continued to languish in the box office flop zone.

As far as "Beverly Hills Cop" goes, it's probably one of the best Eddie Murphy films you'll find. If the book needed to include an Eddie Murphy comedy, however, I wish they'd have gone for "Trading Places" or "Coming to America", movies that focus more on the comedy and leave the cliche action and buddy cop nature to bigger and more well equipped directors. I had fun watching it this morning though. Maybe it's just the nostalgia talking, but this was a nice change of pace and a throwback to when my interest in movies peeked. I mean, who knows, without Eddie Murphy my interest in films may have never taken off and I may not be typing on this blog today. "Beverly Hills Cop" and other films from Murphy, whether I'd like to admit it or not, had a hand in sculpting my movie palate today and as insignificant as those influences may be, they're still there.

RATING: 7/10  It's corny, at times, very cliche and very 80s and had I not had a history with it, I'd have probably hated it. However, I do have a history with this film and it still holds a special place to me, so I'm rating it higher than I normally would.


September 18, 2012  2:21pm

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