out of 4
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Beverly Hills Cop
Review by Jerry Saravia
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The crux of the movie is Axel's need to apprehend the killers with the help of
the Beverly Hills police department. He does not play by the rules but the BH
boys do. This causes a conflict of interests but I think you can see where the
film is going. It is an action comedy in the strictest sense of the word, but
somehow very uneven. The comedy does not flow easily or smoothly with the action
scenes, especially the final shootout that seems to come from a different movie
entirely. There is some humor there with the bumbling Rosewood and Taggart team
but a bloody climax undermines the comedy and goes too far. Ever since I first
saw the film in 1984, I felt the ending was crude and unnecessary.
But that is the problem. Is this a comedy or an action picture? Roger Ebert
famously declared the fusion of the two genres as suspect and unworkable. The
screenplay by Daniel Petrie (which was shockingly nominated for an Oscar) is at
its best when we see Eddie at the center, acting drunk and foolish to nail a
suspected robber at a nightclub or, in general, bluffing his way out of any
Beverly Hills establishment and showing the rich, glamorous denizens of the
ritzy town who is the boss. That is what I remember best about "Beverly Hills
Cop." The lazily written, mediocre cops and cocaine dealers stuff is something
you would see in any "Starsky and Hutch" show. Had the film focused on Eddie's
attempts to mingle and bluff his way through Beverly Hills and completely
ditched the screenplay, then it might have been a real winner.
Martin Brest directs as well as he can, but he later proved to make a more
amiable and entertaining action-comedy in the classic "Midnight Run" four years
later. "Beverly Hills Cop" was a solid start for Eddie Murphy and it showed his
comedic talent skillfully. I just sense that it could have been so much more.
Copyright © 1990 Jerry Saravia
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