Streaming hit: Big comeback: Eddie Murphy in “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F”

Streaming hit: Big comeback: Eddie Murphy in “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F”
Streaming hit: Big comeback: Eddie Murphy in “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F”

“Beverly Hills Cop” made Eddie Murphy world famous. 40 years later, he returns as police officer Axel Foley on Netflix. The fourth part of the cult series focuses on action and nostalgia.

The “Beverly Hills Cop” series actually seemed to be over after the flopped third part in 1994. But so-called franchise films, i.e. sequels, spin-offs and reboots, are booming in Hollywood. Now, after 30 years, Eddie Murphy is playing the role that made him a global star in the 1980s, and is returning as Detective Axel Foley. The US action comedy “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F” will not be released in cinemas, but is now available on the streaming service Netflix (July 3).

Lots of action, even more nostalgia

Things get going quickly. In the first quarter of an hour, Murphy, now 63, races through Detroit in a snow plow, chasing criminals and ignoring more than just the traffic rules. Well-known 80s songs from the first two films can be heard – “The Heat Is On” by Glenn Frey, “Shakedown” by Bob Seger and “Neutron Dance” by the Pointer Sisters. From the very beginning, “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F” relies entirely on nostalgia.

“Nostalgia is a really powerful tool for a filmmaker,” said director Mark Molloy in an interview with the German Press Agency in London. “I placed these songs right at the beginning to transport the audience to that time. But I also wanted to convey that feeling of the ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ series to a new audience.” The Australian, for whom this is his first feature film, describes himself as a big fan of the first two films. “I wanted to make an action comedy in the style of the 80s.”

“Beverly Hills Cop” made Murphy a global star

In 1984, “Beverly Hills Cop” was the box office hit of the summer in the USA thanks to witty sayings, fast-paced action and a brilliant soundtrack. The film about police officer Axel Foley from Detroit, who investigates on his own in Los Angeles, made Eddie Murphy a global star and was nominated for an Oscar and two Golden Globes.

Even in Germany, where “Beverly Hills Cop – I’ll solve the case in any case” (German title) was only released in April 1985, the film was a box office hit, as was “Beverly Hills Cop II” from 1987. What happened after that is something everyone involved would rather forget. Molloy admitted with a smile in an interview with dpa that he had never seen the third part. There is a funny allusion to the flop in his film.

Of course, Axel returns to Los Angeles in “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F”. His daughter Jane (Taylour Paige), with whom he hardly has any contact anymore, works there as a lawyer. When Jane represents an alleged police murderer, she is threatened massively. Axel’s old friend Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold), who now works as a private detective and has been investigating the case, disappears without a trace. In LA, Axel notices that not everything is above board at the police station. As a father, he also has a lot of catching up to do.

Axel is older, more vulnerable, but still funny

There are 40 years between the first and the latest “Beverly Hills Cop” film. “For me, the development of his character over those 40 years is what’s interesting,” said Molloy, who wanted to show Axel Foley vulnerable for the first time. “We don’t want to see a 60-year-old man pretending to be 20. I think so, and Eddie feels the same way.” Fortunately, Foley has remained the same in many ways. He just has to realize that his methods from before don’t work so well in 2024.

Unlike Indiana Jones, for example, who one almost had to feel sorry for in the failed “Indiana Jones and the Wheel of Fortune”, the reunion with Axel is a joy. Eddie Murphy, whose career has been a rollercoaster ride over the past 30 years, is in top form. A funny scene in which he speeds through the upscale shopping district of Rodeo Drive in an electric police vehicle is one of the highlights of the entertaining film.

Old acquaintances and cult music

The reunion with familiar characters is also largely successful. In addition to Rosewood, there is Taggart (John Ashton), who has since been promoted to police chief, Axel’s loyal Detroit colleague Jeffrey (Paul Reiser) and his old buddy Serge (Bronson Pinchot). Prominent newcomers are Joseph Gordon-Levitt as police officer Bobby Abbott and Kevin Bacon as the shady Captain Grant.

Of course, the iconic theme song “Axel F” is indispensable, with which Munich-born Harold Faltermeyer achieved worldwide success in the 1980s. Film composer Lorne Balfe (“Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning”) made extensive use of Faltermeyer’s musical theme in his synthesizer-heavy soundtrack. “It’s so important for the atmosphere of the film,” says Molloy. “It gives it this nostalgia and this 80s undertone.”

Amusing action fun at cinema level

Visually, Molloy was mainly inspired by “Beverly Hills Cop II” and the style of director Tony Scott. That means: cool visuals, appealing images, lots of action and little computer generated. “We shot everything with cameras,” said Molloy. “I just wanted to go back to that time when things were still tangible and you made mistakes. It was more dangerous. You didn’t know if the camera would fly away or get hit.” It paid off.

Some of the dialogue is a bit clichéd. The plot is relatively predictable. There are also a few long stretches in the middle. But that hardly detracts from the enjoyment. The film is extremely entertaining thanks to some references to the old films and very amusing guest appearances (“Happy Gilmore” fans take note). The only annoyance about “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F” is that it is not shown on the big screen.

Source: Stern

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