Making a start on my look back at films that are also turning 30 this year. First up – Beverly Hills Cop.
Starring Eddie Murphy as the fish out of water cop Axel Foley, transported from his native Detroit to the eminently more friendly Beverly Hills, in the search for the killer of his best friend. In a nutshell.
Out of the nutshell, you’ve got your standard Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer action over the top of some of Eddie Murphy’s best comedy in a film, alongside the also hilarious Judge Reinhold. Who still makes me laugh, to this day, as Billy Rosewood. The combination of some watchable action fluff combined with the funnies makes this film. Add to that Axel Foley, an incredibly likeable character who you just want to see succeed, you’ve got a winner here.
While I’m not going to regurgitate facts about the film that I’ve read on Wikipedia, I am surprised to read that Beverly Hills Cop was the highest-grossing R rated film of all-time, up until 2003 when The Matrix Reloaded took away that accolade. The things you learn.
Why Beverly Hills Cop
Why did I choose to look back at Beverly Hills Cop in my little series for this year?
Simple – it’s a film I enjoy. And have always enjoyed. And look back and remember that I’ve always enjoyed it.
If you asked me when was the first time I saw Beverly Hills Cop, unfortunately my answer would be – I can’t remember. It must have been when I was very young. Apparently, in my childhood, Eddie Murphy was a favourite of mine. A fact my mum will never let me forget. Let it be known, I have no recollection of this. If I could place the age at which I first watched Beverly Hills Cop in a ballpark area, I would say, 8 years old.
I do remember watching Beverly Hills Cop on the old VHS. A recorded copy at that. Vague memories are telling me it was recorded from ITV. Vague memories are also telling me that it was viewed so many times, the tape went all dodgy. But that wasn’t hard to do back then.
It’s strange that I count Beverly Hills Cop as a film I grew up with. What with its release date being 1984. But I did. Not just the first one, but all three. That Axel Foley laugh that Eddie Murphy does in the film is an especially vivid memory of mine. In particular, trying to copy it. No, I am not going to do that again. For the blog. Not even.
How does it hold up 30 years on?
Thirty years later and I would like to say that Beverly Hills Cop still holds up very, very well. It could be nostalgia talking here, but not entirely just nostalgia.
What struck me watching this film now, was the action sequences. Maybe to today’s standard, they’re fairly tame. But you know what? I fucking love them. From the beginning sequences where Axel Foley is hanging from the back-end of a truck to the final shoot out sequence – bloody love them. Do you know why I think they still hold up? They’re all real. There are stunt doubles. There are cars getting flipped. Real fire and real explosions. It’s all done for realsies! How many action films can say that they do that now?
It’s not just the action – the comedy holds up well too. Axel’s still funny. Poor bumbling Billy Rosewood warms your heart and still makes you laugh. And don’t forget about Serge in the art gallery. Eddie Murphy’s ability to just throw out some of the most hilarious lines still make me laugh. In my attempt to find some quotable lines, I found I just couldn’t. Reading them off they don’t have the same impact as they do coming out of Eddie Murphy’s mouth. That’s a testament to just how much he just is Axel Foley.
I guess the one thing that does age the film is slightly inevitable. That communications room at the police department in Beverly Hills. Those computers! Wow. We’ve come a long way, baby.
And thirty years later, it’s hilarious to see Jonathan Banks… with hair!
Now let’s just hope that that long rumoured film reboot/TV show never, ever comes to fruition.