Thursday 4 July 2024

REVIEW: Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F (2024 Film) Starring Eddie Murphy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Taylour Paige

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F

Review by Jon Donnis

"Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F" is a delightful return to the beloved action-comedy series that first made waves in the 1980s, and was a favourite of just about everyone at the time, me included. Directed by Mark Molloy and penned by Will Beall, Tom Gormican, and Kevin Etten, this fourth installment has been a long time coming, especially after being stuck in development hell for over a decade, and fans will be pleased to see Eddie Murphy back in his element as the street-smart Detroit cop, Axel Foley.

The plot centers on Axel's return to Beverly Hills after his estranged daughter, Jane Saunders (played by Taylour Paige), is threatened. This setup allows the film to blend the familiar with the new, as Axel teams up with Jane's ex-boyfriend, Detective Bobby Abbott (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and his old friends, Chief John Taggart (John Ashton) and Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold). Together, they unravel a conspiracy that ties the past to the present, providing a narrative that feels both fresh and nostalgic.

Eddie Murphy shines as Axel Foley, bringing back his signature wit, infectious smile, and razor-sharp one-liners. Despite being in his 60s, Murphy's performance retains the energetic charm that made his character a cultural icon. The film smartly integrates new dynamics, particularly through the character of Jane, whose development and relationship with Axel add emotional depth and a modern touch to the story. Paige delivers a compelling performance, balancing the film's comedic and dramatic moments with ease.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Detective Bobby Abbott is a worthy addition to the series, providing a solid foil to Murphy's Axel. Their chemistry is palpable, and the interplay between the old and new characters adds a refreshing layer to the narrative. The return of Judge Reinhold and John Ashton as Billy Rosewood and John Taggart, respectively, brings a wave of nostalgia, reminding viewers why they fell in love with the original films. Appearances from Paul Reiser as Jeffrey and Bronson Pinchot as Serge further enrich the nostalgic experience.

Visually, "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F" excels with impressive stunts and special effects that enhance the action sequences. The film maintains a brisk pace, ensuring there is never a dull moment. Each scene is packed with either action, comedy, or both, keeping the audience engaged throughout its runtime.

However, the film is not without its flaws. While Murphy's energy and charisma are undeniable, the attempt to present Axel as anything other than a man in his 60s is somewhat unconvincing at times, the first time he walks down some steps, it is pretty evident he is no longer a young man, not to mention the black hair dye and botox injections. Embracing his age and incorporating it into the storyline could have provided more authenticity and additional humour. Additionally, some fans might miss Murphy's famous laugh, which is notably absent in this installment. Apparently, he hated that people would impersonate him, and use the laugh as the main part of the impersonation, so he retired the laugh a while ago.

Despite these minor shortcomings, "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F" stands as a strong entry in the series. It captures the essence of the original films while introducing new characters and relationships that could potentially set the stage for future sequels. Eddie Murphy's return as Axel Foley is a nostalgic treat, proving that even decades later, he still has the comedic timing and charm that made the character so beloved.

And a quick special mention has to go to the awesome soundtrack.

"Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F" is a fun, action-packed comedy that brings back the magic of the original series. Eddie Murphy's performance, supported by a talented cast and impressive action sequences, makes this film a must-watch for fans of the franchise. It earns a solid 8.5 out of 10, promising an enjoyable experience filled with laughter, action, and a touch of nostalgia.

Out Now on Netflix