Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Inexplicable Movie Review: Beverly Hills Cop II

When it comes to the Beverly Hills Cop series, there is no question that the first film is the best movie. It features the wisecracking Eddie Murphy as detective Axel Foley, and he's forced to leave gritty Detroit for sunny Beverly Hills when his friend is gunned down. Foley lightly screws around with the California cops, who are mired in politics that prevent them from, well, being cops.

Well, the second movie can't come close to matching the intensity and drama of the first. However, it's a much better movie to re-watch when it comes to the series. The seriousness of the first movie is replaced by campiness and Eddie Murphy being a funny son of a bitch. Think of the difference in tone between Rocky and Rocky IV.

Beverly Hills Cop II definitely feels like more of a buddy-cop picture, as Axel doesn't have to gain the trust of Beverly Hills detectives Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold, taking a vacation from the bench) and John Taggart (John Ashton). This leaves more time for ridiculous but funny scenes, like Axel convincing a construction crew to stop work on a mansion so that he can squat in it for the week. Of course, Taggart is a bit suspicious of Axel when he swings by the house:

Axel Foley: Oh, you mean the construction that's going on. Yes, I'm very embarrassed about that. What I'm trying to do, though, is just confine myself to the other five bedrooms. I'm used to compromising my lifestyle.

Sergeant Taggart: Bullshit! You've stolen this house!

Axel Foley: How the fuck can you steal a house? This... my uncle's house!

In the first film, the "silly accessory character" role was filled by Bronson Pinchot as Serge, a flamboyant art salesman. The second film features small roles for a bunch of people, such as Bridgette Nielson as a six-foot asassain, Paul Reiser as Axel's buddy and the only white cop in Detroit, Dean "Quantum Leap" Stockwell, and the first film role for Chris Rock.

Playboy Mansion Valet (Chris Rock): [Axel has just pulled up a cement truck to the Playboy Mansion, where he is met by a valet] Yo, what the fuck is up, man? Check this out. I get ten dollars for cars, I get twenty dollars for limos! What the hell is this?

Axel Foley: My truck. Here's $50. Put it next to a limo.

Speaking of the Playboy Mansion, Hugh Heffner is in this film. It's odd, because he's still pretty spry, since this movie came out in 1987. I'm used to the nearly-vegetative Hugh you see now, not Heff the Playboy. He's pretty solid in his one scene, and thankfully, provides a good opportunity for Axel to riff.

Anyway. The actual plot of Beverly Hills Cop II revolves around Axel trying to unwrap the mystery of a gang of robbers who leave behind alphabet riddles at each crime scene. The investigating mostly takes a back seat to funny scenes and lines throughout the movie, but overall, it's simple and good for the "popcorn flick" tone of the movie. Ground breaking stuff? Absolutely not, but if you're looking for a funny action movie for 90 minutes, then Beverly Hills Cop II definitely satiates.


  1. I've never seen this--apart from Coming to America and the Michael Jackson Remember the Time video, my Eddie Murphy education has been woefully neglected. I do plan to check the Beverly Hills cops movies out. What are your feelings on Beverly Hills Ninja, w/ Chris Farley?

  2. The first two Beverly Hills Cop movies are worth checking out, but as a warning, the third one is pretty horrible. It's not funny and the action scenes go from gritty to "summer blockbuster" level cheese.

    If you liked Coming to America, then do yourself a favor and check out Trading Places. It's the pinnacle of early Eddie Murphy movie roles.

    I'm OK with Beverly Hills Ninja. It's hard for me to watch now knowing that it contributed to his death, though. According to one of the SNL books, he went into a depression spiral after seeing how farcical and fat he was in the movie.


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