“How the f*** can you steal a house? This…my uncle’s house!”
You can take the man out of Detroit but you can’t take Detroit out of the man. Beverly Hills Cop II reintroduces us to Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy), a wisecracking, eccentric, but extremely knowledgeable police officer. It has been about two years since Foley went over his superior’s head and solved his best friend’s murder out in Beverly Hills, and he has settled back into life in the Motor City.
Meanwhile in the 90210, the city is being hit left and right by highly precise robberies dubbed as the “Alphabet Crimes” due to what the criminals leave behind. Familiar faces Rosewood & Taggart (John Ashton, Judge Reinhold) are hot on the trail, but are quickly cast aside and demoted by their new and egotistical police chief. The case soon becomes personal, which Axel catches note of back in Detroit. Like before, Foley must again venture out into Beverly Hills and reunite with old partners to bring justice to those responsible.
The first Beverly Hills Cop firmly established itself as a fun, simple, and sort of bubbly comedy-action film, while simultaneously cementing its legacy as a 1980’s staple. With the box office numbers it brought in, it only made sense that a sequel was made. Beverly Hills Cop II like most second installments is bigger, louder, and more star filled. Unfortunately, it is also lazier, shoddier, and just less of a good time.
It isn’t a requirement for a comedy to have an amazing plot. But if it features sizable action and crime elements it is important for it to be at least respectable. With BHC II, the plot just comes off as so hackneyed and cobbled together that it severely lessens the enjoyment to be had with the movie. Additionally, there is one long subplot that involves Foley, a Ferrari, and his tag-a-long partner that a terrible waste of time. It would not be such a huge issue if this plot didn’t take itself so sternly, but this does carry more seriousness than it probably should. Within 30 minutes, I was uninterested in how things would play out. Like the first movie, there is no mystery as to who are the perpetrators are, making the bulk of this an elongated cat and mouse between cops and robbers.
If only the humor could offset the tepid story. Try as it may, there just isn’t enough on hand to do so. Eddie Murphy does bring the rawness to hilarious levels in certain scenes, but others scenes rely on Murphy simply being loud, as if that is enough to be funny. Axel Foley depends on characters and hijinks to get him to where he needs to go, and some elicit amazing comedy while others should have been left on the cutting room board.
His partners in crime are back again in Rosewood and Taggert. The two along with Murphy are the best things about the film, but even their act is worn. The film gives them more character aspects, but they are completely random (Rosewood now a big gun nut?) or lazy and cliche (Taggart as a cop with marital problems).
It would be nice if BHC II possessed some intriguing villains for our heroic trio to battle with, but alas, it isn’t meant to be. These Alphabet Crime baddies are so generic and plain that it hurts to think about. Again, the lack of solid villains could be forgiven more if the story didn’t take itself so hard, but since it does, there has to be more substance in this area. Though the writing or lack thereof is certainty a factor for the unappealing foils, the actors portraying these foils do no favors either.
They all are really dry, monotone, and indistinguishable (except for Brigitte Nielsen). Nielsen especially only serves as a pretty face. Maybe it is better this way as she isn’t someone who has ever been revered for her performances. Still, this points towards a larger problem in the movie: All women that appear here are either strippers, femme fatales, or behind desks, most all voiceless.
From a cinematic presentation standpoint, the movie falls awfully short as well. It switches more between Detroit and Beverly Hills, but you would never know by looking. Both places aesthetically look the same, so Detroit’s expanded inclusion is really unnecessary. Visuals aside, there never seems to be any cohesive direction. Many scenes just linger on and on with no end in sight for no reason. And yet, this problem pales in comparison to the editing. The editing itself is easily some of the worst I have ever witnessed. There is a laundry list of fails and gaffes and one wonders how so many stayed in or were unseen.
Even with an expanded budget and a comedian in his prime Murphy Beverly Hills Cop II lacks the freshness and endearment that made the first a classic, making this return trip much less memorable.
Photo credits go to Imdb.com, cnn.com, and moviepostershop.com.
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