Film reviews and more since 2009

Beverly Hills Cop (1984) review

Dir. Martin Brest

By: Steve Pulaski

Rating: ★★★

Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) is a reckless, wise-cracking Detroit cop, whose young, streetwise-mentality comes in handy in a force of aging white guys. After his childhood friend is murdered, Axel assigns himself to investigate the murder, despite harsh opposition from others on the force. He travels to Beverly Hills to work for the Beverly Hills Police Department and turns the force upside down with his aforementioned character traits.

Murphy is ideal for the role of Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop. Murphy’s mile-a-minute conversational humor and rapid-fire wit keeps things moving at a breakneck pace, and the man has enough charisma to keep a story like this moving. Furthermore, writer Daniel Petrie, Jr. makes sure to give Murphy an ample amount of screentime so his Axel Foley character rise is given moments to be fiercely likeable and someone we grow to like.

And even after giving us an energetic central character, Petrie, Jr. is sure to give us terrific action sequences. For example, the film opens with a fantastic chase scene between numerous police cruisers and a large, eighteen-wheeler carrying dozens of cartons of Lucky Strike cigarettes with Axel being thrown every which way in the back of the truck. The scene goes on for about three minutes and possesses the same kind of excitement and practicality of The Blues Brothers‘ famous action scenes in the regard that digital effects don’t seem to be interfering with the film every chance they get.

Instead, the chase scene feels much more natural and real because of the fact that it’s as if we’re watching a real-life car chase on TV. Another scene similar to this one is the shootout scene between Axel and two other detectives and several other goons using high-powered machine guns. The scene operates like a realistic shootout and is simply a lot of fun to sit back and watch.

Another thing levying the entire film is the soundtrack, which blends the likes of electric pop and techno music that allows for an exciting mix of things. For 1984, this was an uncommon thing, and the film’s frequent use of one specific techno song allow for a nice consistency and an inane catchiness to the film all around.

The Beverly Hills Cop franchise is an interesting footnote in film mainly because all three films are directed by three different directors, who’ve had strong and prolific experience in the action genre. The first sequel was directed by Top Gun director Tony Scott, while the second sequel by John Landis, who directed The Blues Brothers. As for this film, Martin Brest mans this ship, a man whose entire career has pretty much been devoted to action comedies that pack a wallop. His camerawork and filmmaking techniques are continuously impressive, and with the help of Daniel Petrie, Jr., the story at hand never becomes shackled by the confines of dreary storytelling or even a romance. In a world where it seems buddy cop films can barely establish actor/character-chemistry and a credible plot, it’s almost shocking to see what Beverly Hills Cop does and does so well.

NOTE: As of this writing, Beverly Hills Cop is available to stream on Netflix.

My review of Beverly Hills Cop II
My review of Beverly Hills Cop III

My review of Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Lisa Eilbacher, and Gil Hill.. Directed by: Martin Brest.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

About Steve Pulaski

Steve Pulaski has been reviewing movies since 2009 for a barrage of different outlets. He graduated North Central College in 2018 and currently works as an on-air radio personality. He also hosts a weekly movie podcast called "Sleepless with Steve," dedicated to film and the film industry, on his YouTube channel. In addition to writing, he's a die-hard Chicago Bears fan and has two cats, appropriately named Siskel and Ebert!

© 2024 Steve Pulaski | Contact | Terms of Use

Designed by Andrew Bohall