MOVIE REVIEW | ***DUD SEQUEL WEEK*** Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)

Beverly Hills
What happened to Eddie Murphy?  He ruled the 80s.  Watch any best of Saturday Night Live compilations from that period and all the stand out sketches will be chock full of Eddie.   Look for the most successful stand up comedy specials of the day and you’ll find Raw and Delirious.  And despite the odd comment about aids being transmittable by kissing gay man, most of the jokes still hold up.  Think about your favourite comedies from the 80s.  If your short list doesn’t include titles like Trading Places, 48 Hours, Coming to America and Beverly Hills Cop, than I say good day to you, sir.  But all good things come to an end, and soon after that golden decade of hair metal, acid wash and a black Michal Jackson shuffled off, so did Eddie Murphy’s charisma and sense of humor.

After an iconic start to the series in 1984 and an OK follow up in 1987, the Beverly Hills Cop franchise made the character of Axel Foley an action comedy icon.  They made the total killer synth-tastic character’s theme, Axel F even more so.  When movies like The Golden Child and Harlem Nights started to pop up, it was obvious Murphy’s ego was on the rise.  Then came Beverly Hills Cop III, the action comedy that forgot to include any hint of comedy.

Axel Foley is the original wise cracking cop who plays by his on rules.   And his Detroit station Chief is the original screaming cop boss who’s had it up to here with Foley’s cowboy antics, but really respects it deep down. Well, he dies, and there’s a paper thin reason for his murder to take Axel back to Beverly Hills for an increasingly improbable third time.

Back in LA, he reunites with Judge Reinhold’s Billy, the fresh faced rookie from the earlier films.  In a great example of one thing I love in haldf assed sequels, the absence of his partner Taggart, an integral character in the first two outings, is explained in one lazy, throw away line of dialogue.

The murder of his boss leads Axel to an amusement park based on Disneyland and to the old man who runs the place, based on Walt Disney.  How does a murder in Detroit lead to this place? I have no idea, I’d long since stop paying attention when some character got the thankless job of hauling out that clunky and awkward mountain of exposition.

Beverly Hills Cop III is not a good comedy.  It’s not even a good B grade actioner.  The violence is so full on and the body count so high, Murphy’s default setting of smartass makes him seem psychopathic.  No one should be able to joke after doing and seeing the horrible things he does and sees in this movie.  If Axe Foley is still on the Detroit PD, you know he’s killed a few innocent people over the years, just so he could watch the light go out their eyes.

Beverly Hills Cop III
Directed By – John Landis
Written By – Danilo Bach, Daniel Petrie Jr

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