Next up in my sickly watchings was the 1984 action comedy starring Eddie Murphy. It's only fitting that my first Eddie Murphy movie be his break out film.
Beverly Hills Cop follows Detroit detective Axel Foley (Murphy) as he tracks down the gentlemen who murdered his best friend. Foley is not the type of guy who follows standard conventions or rules. He'll do whatever he feels is necessary to get the information he desires, including a lot of social engineering. His investigation takes him out to Beverly Hills, where he makes enemies (and friends) of the local police department, a no-nonsense, by the book operation. In particular, Foley is paired up with/against the bumbling duo of John Taggert (John Ashton) and Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold, aka Dr. Neil Miller) as he tears through Beverly Hills in search of the those who murdered his friend.
What I found most odd about this movie is how low-key it is. The action pieces are few with the largest one being a shoot-out between maybe ten guys spread over the course as almost as many minutes. The set pieces are also few, with the story bouncing back and forth between a half dozen locations; from the precinct to an art gallery to a hotel, back to the precinct to a warehouse, back to the precinct to a mansion, back to the art gallery, then to precinct and the hotel again. It keeps the scale of things very small. Indeed, even the movie's theme, which is played just a few too many times, is a cool yet almost mellow riff.
One would think in a movie labelled "action comedy" starring Eddie Murphy would have the comedian putting his talents to use. But, he's is definitely not where most of the comedy is. He'll spit off a one liner or two, but generally he just plays Foley as a too cool for school type personality. No, where most of the comedy comes is from our cop duo of Taggert and Rosewood. These two riff off each other exceptionally well and provide, in my opinion, about 90% of the entertainment the film has to offer.
In the end, I didn't hate Beverly Hills Cop; it was a mildly entertaining flick. But, it's too small in scope and played to low key to really work well as an action movie. They also try to put in the little bits of comedy here and there, but rarely did I laugh at loud of those attempts. How it managed to be the biggest movie of '84 ahead of Ghostbusters - which, I think we will all agree, has at least more notoriety than Cop - I'll never know.
Rating - 3/5