johnlink ranks BEVERLY HILLS COP (1984)

I feel like I’ve seen this movie recently enough to have written it about it, but apparently not. I guess it is just one of those movies that stays fresh in the mind. BEVERLY HILLS COP is certainly a classic of the action-comedy genre.


I watched BEVERLY HILLS COP (1984) on 7.9.13. It was my fourth viewing of the film, and probably the first in five years.

On the one hand, this is a marvelously dated movie. The hair, the cars, the clothes, the music; they all shout 1980s. Further, the plot and the concept are firmly planted in the 80s style of action-comedy (further, this movie helped shape the 80s style of action-comedy). The plot? Frivolous to the point of near pointlessness.

On the other hand, this is a funny, smart, tight little movie which does what it does really well. Eddie Murphy is, of course, Detective Axel Foley. His old friend gets killed while visiting in Detroit, so Foley goes out of his jurisdiction to track the case down in Beverly Hills.

Films and TV shows (and its audiences) are a little more sophisticated in terms of police procedure these days, so the things which Axel gets away with doing extend from unbelievable to outright impossible.

But, really, none of that shit matters because this movie isn’t about its plot or its procedure, or even its bad guys. Most of the first hour of this movie involves Foley antagonizing and then befriending a couple of white counterparts, Detective Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) and Det. Sgt. Taggart (John Ashton).

This is a movie about there being a way things are done. And then along comes this guy (who is not just incidentally black in 1984) who blows through Beverly Hills and challenges the way. What proves to be right, what proves to be wrong, and what proves to be a gray area? Ultimately, the establishment realizes it needs to bend its rules a little bit to let this clearly talented and clearly smart detective do things in a new way. I like that message.

While the plot of this film is not important, its development of relationships and its humor most certainly is. That’s why this is a solid script even though something as major as the plot is such an afterthought. In BEVERLY HILLS COP, the plot is the device in which to allow funny situations to play out between characters we grow to love more and more. That, sure, is just a definition of comedy in general. But so, so, so many movies (many of which have starred Eddie Murphy in the last decade) get it so, so, so, wrong.

BEVERLY HILLS COP stands the test of time. It is a classic of its genre, and should be heralded as such.



I’m not going to sit here and say that the score, including the main motif, is anything ground breaking or amazing. But it is memorable to the point that it has currently been revitalized by some DJ. Once you hear the BEVERLY HILLS COP theme, it is in your ear for at least three days.



~ by johnlink00 on July 10, 2013.

2 Responses to “johnlink ranks BEVERLY HILLS COP (1984)”

  1. […] the trash people like to drive that monstrous truck down the street on pick up day like they’re Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop leaving your bins strewn everywhere in their wake? I mean, is trash day really a cause for post […]

  2. I agree this is another Simpson/Bruckheimer film that does seem remain funny no matter hold old it gets. Eddie Murphy and company all do a great job. Yeah the plot is a thin as a porno, but it sure did make me laugh. Especially when I found out that the scene where Murphy describes Taggert and Rosewood as Super Cops, it too everything they had for the actors not to start laughing. One is pinching his leg and the other his trying to cover his face with his hand!!!

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