- Movie Rating -

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

| December 5, 1984

When I heard that Eddie Murphy was playing a Detroit cop who goes to Beverly Hills to track down a killer, I kind of imagined a movie more like 48hrs.  That movie made my 10 best list for 1982 because somehow it felt real, like he and Nick Nolte were playing in a gritty crime drama laced with comedy.

This isn’t that movie.  Beverly Hills Cop is a much more conventional crime story centered on a performance from Murphy that, for the most part, I kind of loved.  For one thing they let the actor go.  Many of the scenes feel improvised as if they just gave him the scenario and he made things up as he went along.  That makes for some great moments when you can see director Martin Breast just trying to stay out of his way.

I wish the movie were more original.  He plays Axel Foley, a very good but unbridled cop who job is to get the job done.  How he gets there is not important.  When a childhood friend is murdered by some Beverly Hills out-of-towners, Foley travels to the clean-cut world of swimmin’ pools and movie stars to find the people responsible.

This, of course, gives him a lot of room to play.  Most of it very predictable in a story that has little to no common ground.  He gets involved with the more strait-laced cops of Beverly Hills who work strictly by the book and aren’t impressed with this uncouth manner.  And, of course, the movie ends in a shoot-out.

In the way, the movie let me down.  But in the way that it leaves Murphy alone to display his gifts much like John Landis did with Trading Places, the performance offers pure gold.  I just wish it were part of a better movie.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1984) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy