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Blu-ray Review: Beverly Hills Cop 3-Movie Collection

January 15, 2020

By John Corrado

Eddie Murphy has been enjoying a bit of a resurgence lately, from his explosive comeback performance in Dolemite Is My Name to the upcoming Coming to America sequel set to arrive at the end of the year.

Now one of Murphy’s most famous characters, the street-smart Detroit cop Axel Foley who ends up bringing his own way of doing things to California, is back in the spotlight as the Beverly Hills 3-Movie Collection arrives on Blu-ray, which was just released in honour of the first film’s 35th anniversary last year.

Released in 1984, and directed by Martin Brest, Beverly Hills Cop finds Axel Foley travelling to Beverly Hills to investigate the murder of his friend, Michael Tandino (James Russo), who has just gotten out of jail. Foley gets a rude awakening when he discovers that the cops in Beverly Hills are more straight-laced and do things strictly by the books, a far cry from how he’s used to operating in Detroit.

Foley finds himself butting heads with the Beverly Hills police department, before teaming up with the mismatched pair of Sergeant Taggart (John Ashton) and Detective Rosewood (Judge Reinhold), who are a great buddy cop duo. Released three years later in 1987, with Tony Scott taking over directing duties, Beverly Hills Cop II finds Foley returning to Beverly Hills, and re-teaming with Taggart and Rosewood, to investigate a munitions smuggling ring. The trilogy was completed with the release of Beverly Hills Cop III in 1994, which was directed by John Landis and resets the action mainly at an amusement park that is heavily inspired by Disneyland.

A mix of fish-out-of-water comedy and satisfying action movie, with as many car chases and shootouts as laugh out loud scenarios and a great soundtrack of technopop and funk music that matches the action perfectly, Beverly Hills Cop remains a classic for a reason. It’s interesting to note that Sylvester Stallone was initially attached to star in the film, but he ballooned the budget when he rewrote parts of the script to bring it in a more action-oriented direction, and was subsequently let go in favour of Murphy, who puts his own unique stamp on the role and brings so much energy to it.

This is one of the roles that really solidified the comedic actor as a bona fide movie star, and in hindsight, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Murphy playing the part and it certainly would have been a very different movie if that were the case. It’s filled with so many classic moments and great, quotable lines, with some of the best ones being improvised. In addition to Murphy’s dynamite turn in the leading role, Ashton and Reinhold also have great chemistry together, memorably embracing their roles as a sort of Laurel & Hardy tag team. Bronson Pinchot also shines in a memorably hilarious bit part.

While the first film is easily the best of the trilogy, parts two and three are entertaining as well, and I would say that all three films are fun to watch in their own ways. The second film becomes more of a straight action movie, and really embraces the buddy cop element, moving at a brisk pace. The third one certainly follows the law of diminishing returns, and received an extreme critical drubbing at the time of its release, but I think it’s still fairly enjoyable to watch and has some moments, including a really solid opening action sequence at a chop shop.

I watched all three films over the weekend, and had a really good time doing so. Featuring Eddie Murphy at the top of his game, Beverly Hills Cop is a genuine classic that still holds up really well. The second film is also quite a bit of fun in its own right, and even the third one offers a fairly enjoyable if admittedly weaker outing for Axel Foley. Whether you are new to this series or already an established fan, this is a solid set that provides a good deal of entertainment value and comes recommended.

The Blu-ray set comes with a good deal of bonus features on disc one to back up the first film, including a commentary track by director Brest, two deleted scenes (You Might Be on the Right Track and Axel Gets Ready for Beverly Hills), and a collection of four short “behind the scenes” interviews from 1984 (Axel’s Wild Ride, Detroit Cops vs. Beverly Hills Cops, Eddie’s Impromptu Lines, and Taggart and Rosewood) featuring Brest, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and members of the cast.

These are followed by the very solid half-hour featurette Beverly Hills Cop – The Phenomenon Begins, which provides really good background info on the film’s production, and the two shorter but equally worthwhile pieces A Glimpse Inside the Casting Process and The Music of Beverly Hills Cop. Finally, the disc has an interactive location map, the original theatrical trailer for the film, and a mixtape feature that lets you watch the music sequences separately. There are no bonus features on discs two and three.

Beverly Hills Cop 3-Movie Collection is a Paramount Home Media Distribution release. Beverly Hills Cop is 105 minutes and rated 18A, Beverly Hills Cop II is 100 minutes and rated 14A, and Beverly Hills Cop III is 104 minutes and rated 14A.

Street Date: January 14th, 2020

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