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Beverly Hills Cop(1984)
A freewheeling Detroit cop pursuing a murder investigation finds himself dealing with the very different culture of Beverly Hills.
For more about Beverly Hills Cop and the Beverly Hills Cop Blu-ray release, see Beverly Hills Cop Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 2, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Lisa Eilbacher, John Ashton, Ronny Cox, Steven Berkoff
Director: Martin Brest
» See full cast & crew
Beverly Hills Cop Blu-ray Review
A top 80s favorite finally arrives on Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, May 2, 2011
You've got great potential.
Beverly Hills Cop is a movie made successful entirely on the performance of its star. The film is fairly shallow when it comes right down to it -- really, it's a whole lot of talk, a fair bit of comedy, and only a little bit of action -- but Star Eddie Murphy's (48 Hrs.) charisma and complete mastery of his character is what makes Director Martin Brest's (Midnight Run) movie a fan-favorite success. Outside of Murphy, Beverly Hills Cop is as routine as routine gets; a standard cops-and-robbers plot, no mystery, and point-and-shoot and in-the-raw direction make for an otherwise dull picture, but Murphy saves the film from its own shortcomings with so much flair and genuine excitement that this might be the all-time best of any of the "actor-singlehandedly-makes-the-movie" movies. Beverly Hills Cop is the very definition of a "star vehicle," a movie that's nothing without its lead -- this specific lead at that -- but with him? It's a movie that's always masking its mistakes behind Murphy's big smile and quick-to-the-punch comic style and timing that he's got going on no matter the time, place, or circumstances in the story, selling the character and his actions with a startling effortlessness that transforms him into Axel Foley in every scene.
Axel Foley (Murphy) is a slick, smooth-talking Detroit detective who's disobedience and disregard for procedure has once again landed him in hot water with his Chief, and a promising career is on the brink of disintegration. Foley returns home to find someone in his house, unexpectedly. Turns out it's an old friend named Mickey (James Russo) who's out of prison and back home to share his news with Foley: he's been working in Beverly Hills where he's managed to get his hands on thousands of dollars worth of untraceable German bonds. The only problem is that a pair of Beverly Hills thugs are on to him. Mickey is shot and killed in front of Foley, who is refused the opportunity to take the case and avenge his friend's death. Instead, Foley takes a vacation to Beverly Hills where he meets up with an old friend and Mickey's one-time employer Jenny (Lisa Eilbacher). It doesn't take long for Foley to sniff out the trail that leads to local crime lord Victor Maitland (Steven Berkoff) and his profitable dope operation. Unfortunately, Foley finds himself in hot water with the local law; Beverly Hills Police Lieutenant Andrew Bogomil (Ronny Cox, Total Recall) wants him out of town, so Foley turns to local Detectives John Taggart (John Ashton) and Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) for help, but he has to convince them of the validity of his case and that he's trustworthy enough to put their lives on the line for what will be a potentially deadly bust.
Beverly Hills Cop is always on the precipice of disaster, the picture teetering on the edge but always pulled back from the brink by Murphy's contagious enthusiasm and pure comic timing. About half the film, it seems, is constructed almost exclusively of scenes featuring Murphy's character being chewed out for his actions that take place in the other half of the film. Whether he's defending himself in front of his superiors or defending his life on the streets of Detroit and Beverly Hills, Murphy consistently and perfectly juggles the film's requirements for action (as sparse as the action may be) with what is almost always subtle but extraordinarily effective humor that always flows from the story and feels genuinely off-the-cuff, rather than force-fed into the plot just to try and squeeze out a laugh from its audience. It's the film's sense of real, genuine storytelling, then, that outside of Murphy, is its greatest asset. The film is awfully standard, yes, but it's never mechanical, instead playing as completely organic. The interplay between characters seems perfectly natural, as does the humor, and it's all thanks to Murphy's uncanny ability to carry the movie with so much natural swagger and charm that Beverly Hills Cop is so much fun in spite of what would otherwise be a forgettable loser of a movie.
Oh, right. The music. It's pretty sweet, too. Has there ever been a decade with so many great soundtracks as the 1980s? Beverly Hills Cops's is one of the best; it's defined by just a few repetitive synthesizer beats, but how electrically catching and, more importantly, suited to the movie they are! It's like the music is an extension of Murphy's performance: incredibly upbeat, always on the move, easy to love, but with just enough of an edge to know it means business. Certainly, few films can boast of a score that so perfectly defines the movie's basic currents; Star Wars comes to mind as one, and maybe the best, example. Beverly Hills Cop is certainly much smaller in scope than that, of course, and it's really only got the one theme as opposed to an entire score's worth of perfectly-synced music, but then again Beverly Hills Cop is really just a one-trick Eddie Murphy pony to begin with, which makes the music, stylistically simple but infinitely catchy as it may be, the perfect companion for and the best definition of the movie. Even the repetitive cadence of the music reflects the greater film's procedural feel; there's a no-frills sensation to both, but that jolt of energy is still ever-present in every scene, and no matter how much of the same it might be, it just never, ever, gets old.
Beverly Hills Cop Blu-ray, Video Quality
Paramount sends Beverly Hills Cop to Blu-ray, and the results are quite good, but not fantastic. This 1080p, 1.78:1-framed transfer exhibits some fairly heavy wobble at open, but the image stabilizes nicely once the film gets going. A hint of edge enhancement is visible in a few scenes, but noise reduction, compression-related issues, or severe print damage are non-factors. A fairly rough layer of grain and a fair bit of background noise both appear over the entirety of the transfer, the grain more often than not giving Beverly Hills Cop a strong film-like texture that's accentuated by relatively good detailing, evident throughout the movie in areas such as facial textures, the grimy odds and ends around Foley's Detroit apartment, or the wear and tear on his blue beater automobile. Colors aren't extraordinary, but the palette is naturally stable and never too dulled in appearance. Flesh tones are natural, and blacks are of a generally high quality. Beverly Hills Cop doesn't "wow" in quite the same way as do newer, slicker transfers, but this is a rock-solid catalogue transfer that should satisfy fans.
Beverly Hills Cop Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Unfortunately, Beverly Hills Cop's 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless soundtrack comes up short in most every regard. Music fluctuates between suitably crisp, stable, and clear and crunchy, raw, shallow, and lacking energy. Sound effects are mushy and sometimes even barely register; a truck slamming into various obstacles at the beginning of the film plays with a lifeless, dull thud, and a pair of gunshots a few minutes later -- even in a cramped apartment building hallway -- sound more like a cheap child's toy than the real deal. In fact, the final shootout is only marginally more energetic, but even those shots lack much raw power. The low end seems stifled throughout, but some stip club beats as heard in chapter six do manage to bring some life and verve into the track. Surround use is limited, and natural and supportive ambience doesn't factor much into the track. Dialogue is fine, center-focused and clear but maybe a little lacking in volume, as is the case with the rest of the track. This isn't a terrible listen, but it is, certainly, a letdown, particularly given how music is such an important part of the Beverly Hills Cop experience.
Beverly Hills Cop Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Beverly Hills Cop features a serviceable but entertaining assortment of extra content.
Beverly Hills Cop Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Beverly Hills Cop wouldn't be worth the time of day without Eddie Murphy. There's nothing here, except for the music, that's not made exponentially better by Murphy's enthusiasm and mastery of not only the specific role but also the style that's made him and the movie such a gargantuan success. Fortunately, the film's two best assets compliment one another like peanut butter and jelly, a classic combination that's made Beverly Hills Cop a superior movie where one would otherwise not exist. Beverly Hills Cop finally makes its Blu-ray debut and features good video and a nice assortment of extras, but the lossless soundtrack lags behind. Still, Paramount's Blu-ray comes highly recommended based on all other factors.
Beverly Hills Cop: Other Editions
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Beverly Hills Cop Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Paramount Dates Next Beverly Hills Cop Film - May 2, 2014
The next Beverly Hills Cop film will arrive in U.S. theaters on March 25, 2016. Paramount Pictures officially dated the upcoming film earlier today. Brett Ratner will direct it.
• Eddie Murphy and Paramount Team Up for Beverly Hills Cop 4 - July 29, 2013
Paramount Pictures has asked Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec to write a script for a new Beverly Hills Cop film. According to early reports, Eddie Murphy has already agreed to return as Detective Axel Foley.
• Beverly Hills Cop Trilogy Blu-ray - October 3, 2012
Paramount Pictures will release on Blu-ray the three Beverly Hills Cop films in the Gallic markets on December 5th. Gathered in a box set, the three films, starring Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold and John Ashton, will be available for purchase on December 5th.
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