Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Entertainment Review: Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley

Come to think of it, many viewers who watch Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley on Netflix, were not even born when the last of the trilogy was released in 1994. The fourth part of the franchise was, to quote Eddie Murphy, caught in “development hell.”

So, 40 years later, the motor-mouth, gap-toothed, cop, Axel Foley, played by Eddie Murphy, makes an appearance, none the worse for the wear, and brings some of the franchise actors with him—Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Paul Reiser and Bronson Pinchot.

Right at the start, he starts the mayhem, that drove his partners nuts, and made his bosses seek early retirement. He drives a snow plow through the streets of Detroit, wrecking multiple cars, in the pursuit of jewel thieves. As the precinct captain is having a fit of rage, Foley hears from old pal Billy Rosewood (Reinhold) in Los Angeles, to warn him that his daughter is in danger.

Foley has not spoken to Jane (Taylour Paige) in years—and she does not want to speak to him—but he takes the next flight to LA to help her, and finds that Billy is missing. In her work as a lawyer, Jane has taken on the defence of a man wrongly accused of murdering a cop, and has had a violent warning to back off.

He courts trouble the minute he lands in LA, and lands in the precinct where his old sergeant Taggart (John Ashton), is still around. Axel Foley has a thick file shown to him by young detective Bobby Abbott (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who tells him with amusement what a legend he is in the city. Foley also ends up butting heads with narcotics division captain Cade Grant (Kevin Bacon), whose designer suit, Gucci shoes and gold Rolex indicate that is not an honest cop.

The sinister men who attacked Jane and trashed Billy’s office are in the pay of Grant, and Foley always ends up being one up on them—nothing or nobody can stop him when he is in full wise-cracking flow. Jane grudgingly has to accept that her estranged dad is a maverick who gets the job done, without bothering about legalities, procedure or damage to public property.

There is the requisite number or car chases and a totally bonkers scene in a helicopter. A fancy mansion, which is the villain’s den, is gleefully decimated.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt– who had been dumped by Jane, but still has feelings  for her– does the role of reluctant white cop sidekick to Foley’s force of nature, taking over from Judge Reinhold. Eddie Murphy who has had a busy career, but no role as popular—iconic even—as Axel Foley, delivers on the laughs. The film, directed by Mark Molloy, makes use of Foley’s strengths, and makes even the overused material fresh and funny. Believe it or not, that title tune is still fresh in the mind. If Axel Foley decides he never, ever wants to retire, he can keep going for years. Hopefully, there won’t be a forty-year gap between this film and the next.

Beverley Hills Cop: Axel Foley

Directed by Mark Molloy

Cast: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Taylour Paige

On Netflix

Deepa Gahlot
Deepa Gahlot is one of India’s seniormost and best-known entertainment journalists. A National Award-winning fim critic and author of several books on film and theatre. She tweets at @deepagahlot

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