Sunday, January 15, 2012

Beverly Hills Cop: AH-huh-huh-huh-HUH! (Or Why Eddie Murphy Ran the 80's)

The year is 1984. It's not quite as morbid and Totalitarian as George Orwell predicted, but still, it's pretty damn close.

Thankfully, it was an especially good year for Action-Comedy films. Why? Beverly Hills Cop came out. Rejoice, children, rejoice!
The blunt I just smoked was this big! I swear! Ah-huh-huh-huh!
This film is not only an excellent example of a renegade cop flick, but also the perfect example of why Eddie Murphy just totally owned the 80's. See in 1982 Eddie Murphy teamed up with Nick Nolte to do 48 Hrs., thus creating the buddy cop genre. Then in 1983 Murphy did a little comedy special known as Delirious which earned him instant fame and notoriety as a very edgy and very racy stand-up comedian. Homie was tellin' some jokes. Fuckin' funny ones, too. Like this one, about racism:

I reference these two incidents as they both highlight Murphy's on-screen personality which he develops and really defines in the protagonist of the film, Axel Foley. The story of Beverly Hills Cop goes like this: Axel Foley is a streetwise, foul-mouthed detective from Detroit who heads down to the sunny, smog-infested streets of Los Angeles after one of his longtime friends comes to town for a visit. Foley is forced to take a leave of absence from work and follows the killer to, as you may have guessed, Beverly Hills. What happens next is a hilarious trek through the streets of Beverly Hills and L.A. that sees Foley get into all kinds of trouble including, but not limited to: a fight in a strip club, getting thrown through a glass window, getting arrested multiple times, being shot at and being chased at practically every turn. Short of robbing a liquor store, punching a hooker, and kicking a baby, Axel Foley does just about everything a guy can do to get into trouble in L.A.

And anywhere else for that matter.

Oh shit. I know you did not just talk shit about the Detroit muthafuckin' Lions. Say somethin' again, I dare you. I'll tear your ass up like a muthafuckin' lion, see if I don't.

The film was a financial success with a worldwide net gross of $316,360,478 and would prove to be one of Eddie Murphy's most lucrative roles as he would go on to do a second and third installment. Murphy is also known in Hollywood as the actor with the most sequels under his belt, and no wonder when he brings such awesome characters like Axel Foley to life. But enough of this nonsense. Let's break this muthafuckin' thang down.
The Breakdown
  • Ridiculousness: As far as plots go this one isn't so far fetched. A police detective from one city goes looking for his friend's killer in another. That's not the ridiculous part. The ridiculousness of the film actually comes from the main character, Axel Foley, and his boisterous, fast-talking, silver-tongued, holy-shit-I-can't-believe-he-just-got-away-with-that attitude and personality. 3.5/5 Stars
  • Classiness: This is a classy film. Why? Because of how it's handled. This is the sort've film that, at the time, could have easily gone too far and been way over the top and exaggerated. Fortunately the execution of this film, from the action scenes to the comedic timing, are perfect. And Murphy is able to be both himself and a larger than life version of himself that's also down-to-earth and believable enough as a detective to make you think, nay, hope that there's at least one Axel Foley working in every police station. 4/5 Stars
  • Cheesiness: This film, thankfully, had very little cheese. If there was any one thing that was cheesy about this film, I'd say it was the music soundtrack. But that can't be helped. It was the 80's, man. And it's part of the reason we love it so much. 1/5 Stars
  • Hilariousness: This is a funny movie. It's downright hilarious, actually. In fact, I'd say this might be one of Eddie Murphy's funniest films. Bold, you say? If you don't believe me, take a look at the video below of some of the best scenes and then try to disagree with me. I dare you. 4.5/5 Stars
  • Awesomeness: an Awesome film. Not Totally Awesome. Not Awesomeness Prime. But with an average rating of 3.25 Stars, the film comes in at a solid Awesome rating. Well done Axel Foley. Well done, indeed.
And there you have it folks. Beverly Hills Cop. A film that helped shape (and would later become a quintessential icon) of the 80's, helped propel Eddie Murphy's film career, and also spawned a ridiculously catchy theme song.

Catch ya next time film fans.

- Duke

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