The heat is on
Running Time: 105 minutes
UK Certificate: 15
Country: United States
As hard as it'll be to believe for the younger generation who've only ever seen him bounce painfully from one below-par comedy to the next, Eddie Murphy actually used to be pretty darn good. Ah, so it's evidence you want, is it? Well kids, look no further than the rip-roaring 1984 action comedy “Beverly Hills Cop” for the Murphster's finest piece of work (well, joint-finest at least “Coming To America” is also right up there).
Murphy is cocky, street-smart and above all funny as motor-mouthed Axel Foley, the Detroit detective who takes an extended vacation in the super-bling surroundings of Beverly Hills to investigate the murder of an old buddy (James Russo). Ever-accompanied by Harold Faltermeyer's irritatingly-catchy “Axel F” backing track, Foley ruffles more than a few feathers as he winds up waist-deep in a secret world of mobsters, drug-smuggling and extremely plush-looking finger buffets.
Judge Reinhold and John Ashton are the local detectives who end up working alongside Foley, via a banana in the tailpipe. Steven Berkoff is the curiously-accented villain-by-numbers Victor Maitland, whilst Jonathan Banks is Maitland's token lazy-eyed henchman.
Aside from an overlong opening car chase which appears to serve little other purpose than the provision of an extra plug for the soundtrack, director Martin Brest serves up a fast-paced ride which just about keeps up with Murphy's jive-talking wisecracks.
Murphy keeps us reminded that he's indeed no stranger to the letter 'F', though the swearies are generally infrequent enough not to interfere with the good comedic quality of the script.
And, if you're up for some unintentional humour, look out for the big-boned Daley Thompson look-a-like appearing on screen for a split-second as Murphy's double in the scene where Foley throws Maitland's henchman over a restaurant table. Had me in stitches first time I had that pointed out to me.
It's Got: An 80s-tastic soundtrack, complete with Glenn Frey, the Pointer Sisters, Patti LaBelle and the mighty Mr Faltermeyer.
It Needs: A stronger, less contrived plot.
DVD Extras Cast and crew interviews, location map, music featurette, casting documentary, photo gallery and theatrical trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 6/10
The definitive Eddie Murphy movie.