Beverly Hills Cop (1984)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Classic Eddie Murphy

This film was selected from ‘The 250’

Really? That’s the response I usually get when I tell people I haven’t seen this movie or that. For instance, I haven’t seen any of the Beverly Hills Cop movies – which is where Eddie Murphy pretty much got movie famous.  This was his series, and his rise to fame, so it shocks even me that I haven’t seen any of these films. I guess a few things that had me on the fence was film age and a possible warn-out, cliché plot. To be fair, it does have those things as well, but it’s still a pretty decent picture, and I’ll try to explain why.

So basically, you have Axel Foley. This guy is a cop in Detroit and he doesn’t exactly follow the rules. He does what he feels is right – but ignores the rest. Before he was a cop, he led a bit of a criminal life. He knows, and is friends with, other criminals from his past. Well, when one of his friends was murdered after showing up for a few hours in Detroit, Axel finds it his duty to backtrack his friend’s whereabouts to find out who killed him, why, and put a stop to it before it furthers. The one place his buddy lived before visiting detroit…was Beverly Hills. That’s Axel’s first step. The only problem is… his chief won’t allow him to work the case. So he has to find some other way to get the job done.

Here’s the thing, I really like the story. It starts a little slow and seems like a typical cop going against orders movie – but it has a lot more depth than you might think. When he goes to Beverly Hills, he has to act like he’s on vacation when he’s clearly working a case – and because of that, everything he does is genuinely funny. But past that, his character is incredibly loveable. He cares a lot about this case. It’s personal and he just wants to do right by his friend, which is commendable. As far as balancing heart and humor, this does an amazing job. It’s older than I am, and it’s still pretty darn hilarious.

The story is good, but yes…it really is surrounded by a lot of cliches and stuff we’ve seen before. I’m part of the modern audience – and I can say that a good portion of the movie doesn’t translate very well. The whole idea of a cop going against orders because it’s the right thing to do is a hugely overdone concept. Either it’s done in comedy or drama, but it’s always the same basic idea. The movie is also old, and you can tell. It has aged a bit, and there are some era jokes that don’t click as well anymore. Like…Michael Jackson was famous then, so there was this whole segment that people would have died laughing about in the ‘80s that they won’t anymore. Stuff like that.

Surprisingly, the age of the film isn’t too big of an issue, the main issue comes with annoying repetitious elements. First, I want to mention Eddie Murphy’s laugh. It was funny the first three times, and then it became to be a real annoyance. Sorry, Ed. Secondly, and most importantly, what the heck is up with the soundtrack to this movie? I swear to you – they had one song on the whole soundtrack – and they played that over….and over….and over again. I can sill hear the synthesizer echoing in the confines of my brain. It’s like…a torture tactic – playing the same things over and over again to make you literally go insane.

The Good:

There is a lot of great things about this movie. This was where Eddie Murphy really got is start in film – it’s his most classic and memorable film – and it’s really funny. It has a lot of great messages and the story itself still feels at least halfway original.

The Bad:

A few things, but seriously – the soundtrack. I would have enjoyed the movie at least 10% more if they didn’t play the same synthesizer song every 10 minutes or so.

The Random:

This was the highest grossing R rated film in the US until The Passion of the Christ(2004) came out 20 years later. This film was later “beaten” again by The Hangover(2009).


5 thoughts on “Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

  1. BHC is one of my favorite Eddie Murphy flicks. Glad you enjoyed it. Much of it works just based on his sheer personality. As for that score, it was more common to play one song a number of times in a movie (though it still happens from time to time) so it wasn’t quite so annoying back then. It even became an iconic theme song. Coming into it fresh 30 years later I totally understand your position. I still can’t get it out of my head.


    1. Ehhh, I disagree. More or less, you have movies that use one song, and make a variation of the same song. Slow, fast, different instruments, reprises – to fit with each scene. This was just the same song


      1. Actually I think we agree. I’m just saying that back in the day it didn’t bother us, but when I watched it recently it is definitely an annoyance.


  2. What ever happened to Eddie Murphy’s career? I totally agree with you on that soundtrack…yuk. Those synthesizer songs are pretty commonplace in 80’s films, and they can completely knock a movie down on terms of enjoyment. Great review on a classic action flick!


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