Movie Review: BEVERLY HILLS COP: AXEL F Relies Heavily On Nostalgia

To set the record straight, I like this installment of the Beverly Hills Cop franchise, but much of that love comes from my previous adoration of the first two installments of this movie saga. Director Mark Molloy and his screenwriters Will Beall, Tom Gormican, and Kevin Etten have much love for the first two movies of the series, but they also seem to want to rest on the laurels of what made those movies capture the hearts of those fans.

The film takes place in our present, and Detective Axel Foley continues to work in Detroit and infuriate his superiors in a town riddled with crime. Of course, Foley must intervene in Beverly Hills when his daughter Jane (Taylour Paige), a defense attorney, faces blowback from both crooked police and the cartel they are helping support. This problem is brought to Foley’s attention by his Beverly Hills friend, Rosewood (Judge Reinhold), a former detective-turned-private investigator who aims to take down the drug cartel and the corrupt police working for the criminal organization.

Overall, I had a great time revisiting this franchise. In this movie, most of the beats work well. Still, simultaneously, the filmmakers struggle to maintain the same level of entertainment and amusement that make the first two installments of this series so lovable. Watching this movie was an interesting experience for me. I could see an homage to visual styles presented by directors Martin Brest (Beverly Hills Cop) and Tony Scott (Beverly Hills Cop II) in this film, but with heavy leanings towards Brest’s movie.

Regarding the writing, the movie has a solid story and script, but Eddie Murphy does not appear wholly invested in this film. Of course, he does a solid job of portraying a more mature Foley, but he lacks the same level of zeal he brought to the previous movies with this character. If the filmmakers wished to rely on some level of nostalgia, it would have helped some if Murphy had, at least, delivered the signature laugh that Axel Foley is known for.

As far as the rest of the cast is concerned, everyone else performs just fine. I could have been more impressed with Taylour Paige, who portrays Axel’s daughter Jane. She is dull despite her character’s passion for her latest cause. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is adequate as police detective Bobby Abbott, who helps Axel with his investigation. I will say that actor Kevin Bacon seems to have some fun with his villainous turn as Captain Cade Grant, a Beverly Hills police official connected with this story’s criminal element.

As I previously stated, I enjoyed this movie. It is better than Beverly Hills Cop III, which I tried to watch but have not yet finished. Usually, I would want this type of movie to hit theaters, but I am actually glad that I watched this screener at home. This movie is a decent and enjoyable sequel tailor-made for streaming. Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F is now available to stream on Netflix.

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