After a wild opening scene featuring a truck full of stolen cigarettes being pursued through the streets of Detroit by a dozen police vehicles, the film settles down into its main plot. Detective Axel Foley, portrayed by Emmy and Golden Globe winner Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls), comes back to his apartment thinking someone has broken into his place. As it turns out, the person inside is no intruder, but is one of his oldest friends, Mikey Tandino (James Russo). Even though Axel is a cop, Mikey is attempting to illicit his help, in order to sell stolen German bearer bonds. After spending time catching up, playing pool, and drinking beers, the two return to Axel’s apartment. Axel is attacked and Mikey is killed by Zack played by six time Emmy nominee Jonathan Banks (Better Call Saul). After Axel regains consciousness, he asks his boss, Inspector Todd (Gilbert R. Hill), to allow him to use vacation time. Axel has a lead on who might have wanted to have Mikey killed and he is headed to California to investigate the crime.
Axel winds up in Beverly Hills, seeking out Mikey’s former employer, Victor Maitland played by Steven Berkoff (Octopussy). Axel, to say the least, is not warmly received. After confronting Maitland, he is arrested. The two men assigned to his case are Detective Billy Rosewood, a role acted by Emmy nominee Judge Reinhold (Seinfeld), and Sergeant Taggart (John Ashton). Lieutenant Bogomil, played by prolific character actor Ronny Cox, has Foley released and warns him to stay out of police business in Beverly Hills. This will not be Axel’s first run in with those particular members of law enforcement.
Not everyone is unfriendly to Axel, Jenny (Lisa Eilbacher), is a friend of his from high school. Axel goes to see her at her job at an upscale art gallery. Jenny was also friends with Mikey and is the person who got him his job working for Maitland, who owns the art gallery. Jenny winds up being an ally to Axel as he investigates who killed Mikey and the reasons why. What Axel will discover, as his investigation unfolds, will go beyond just his friend’s death.
Trivia buffs take note: The movie was originally written for three time Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Sylvester Stallone (Creed). Stallone ultimately passed on the film. He later used some of what was written for him in the original screenplay for the the movie “Cobra,” (1986). “Beverly Hills Cop” was the first film to ever be released to over 2,000 theaters in the United States. The film marked the debut of four time Emmy nominee Damon Wayans (In Living Color). The American Film Institute recognized the movie as one of the 100 funniest American films of all time. The film was the first of seven Eddie Murphy movies in a row to open at number 1 at the box office: 1. Beverly Hills Cop (1984). 2. The Golden Child (1986). 3. Beverly Hills Cop II (1987). 4. Coming to America (1988). 5. Harlem Nights (1989). 6. Another 48 Hrs (1990). 7. Boomerang (1992). Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Paul Reiser (Mad About You), in his second film role, has a small part at the beginning of the movie as a police detective.
“Beverly Hills Cop” was directed by Oscar nominee Martin Brest (Scent of a Woman). The screenplay was written by Daniel Petrie Jr. based on a story he co-wrote with Danilo Bach (April Fool’s Day). Petrie Jr. and Bach received Oscar nominations for their work on the film. Parts action, comedy, and drama, the movie has a runtime of 105 minutes. The film premiered on December 1, 1984 in Los Angeles. The budget was an estimated $14,000,000. The movie was so successful that it surpassed the budget during its opening weekend. The approximate gross of the movie is a bit over $316,000,000. The film was followed by two sequels “Beverly Hills Cop II” (1987) and “Beverly Hills Cop III” (1994). As of the writing of this post, “Beverly Hills Cop IV” is in production and will star Eddie Murphy. The film, according to Murphy, will be the last in the franchise, but not much else is known about it at this time.
From start to finish, I thoroughly enjoyed rewatching this film. I have seen it a number of times, but it had been a few years since I last watched it. Eddie Murphy has perfect comedic timing and can easily transition between the comedy and when a scene contains action. The rest of the actors were well cast in their respective roles. If you’ve never seen this 1980s gem, or haven’t seen it in a long time and are looking for a temporary respite from 2020, now is the perfect time to watch.