May 16, 2011

Beverly Hills Cop is on Blu-ray? Getthefuckouttahere!
Movie Rating: 8/10 BD Rating: 7/10

After co-starring in box office hits
48 Hrs. (review!) and Trading Places, Eddie Murphy cemented his big screen status in 1984’s highest grossing film, Beverly Hills Cop (Paramount).

In his first starring role, Murphy delivered his most memorable performance to date (actually, ever) as wisecracking Detroit cop Axel Foley. Upon witnessing the murder of his best bud, Axel makes way for Beverly Hills to not-so-quietly investigate the source of the crime.

Murphy’s rapid-fire one-liners and too-cool-for-Cali swagger (not to mention his DIY short-sleeve sweatshirt) are what made the film, and its star, such a sizable box office sensation. Better still, Cop’s supporting cast keep the laughs coming from all directions. As a hoity-toity, barely comprehensible art gallery secretary named Serge, Bronson Pinchot steals the few scenes he’s in, while Judge Reinhold and John Ashton are great as Abbot and Costello-type local law enforcers.

One cannot go on about Beverly Hills Cop without addressing Harold Faltermeyer’s beautifully dated theme song, easily one of the most celebrated electro tunes of all time. Glenn Frey’s “The Heat is On” also turns the film’s insanely destructive opening sequence into something decidedly upbeat, setting the tone for this R-rated action-comedy.   

Murphy and a good chunk of the original cast logically returned for the franchise’s two sequels, which sadly aren’t nearly as amusing or exciting. As far as trilogies go, consider this and the abovementioned titles the definitive collection of Murphy’s hilarious heyday.

Paramount does a fine job of restoring this ’80s fave – it looks and sounds as good as it did nearly thirty ago. Unfortunately, the only goodies we get are holdovers from the DVD. Nevertheless, director Martin Brest gives good commentary, and a half-hour retrospective sheds light on the film’s intriguing conception. To wit, it was originally set to star Mickey Rourke and was then rewritten as a Sylvester Stallone explosion-fest. If you want to know how Sly’s (supposedly) humorless version of Beverly Hills Cop would have fared, look no further than 1986’s Cobra