Beverly Hills Cop III

Director: John Landis
Screenplay: Steven E. de Souza (based on characters created by Danilo Bach and Daniel Petrie Jr.)
Stars: Eddie Murphy (Axel Foley), Judge Reinhold (Sgt. Billy Rosewood), Hector Elizondo (Jon Flint), Timothy Carhart (Ellis DeWald), John Saxon (Orrin Sanderson), Theresa Randle (Janice Perkins), Alan Young (Uncle Dave Thornton), Stephen McHattie (Steve Fulbright), Tracy Melchior (Ticket Booth Lady), Bronson Pinchot (Serge), Gil Hill (Douglas Todd), Jon Tenney (Levine), Lindsey Ginter (Holloway), Dan Martin (Cooper)
MPAA Rating: R
Year of Release: 1994
Country: U.S.
Beverly Hills Cop III Blu-ray
Beverly Hills Cop III

Beverly Hills Cop III, the anemic third entry in the action-comedy franchise, reunited star Eddie Murphy and director John Landis, who had previously collaborated on the hits Trading Places (1983) and Coming to America (1988). Despite the conspicuous exit of mega-producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, who had overseen both Beverly Hills Cop (1984) and Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), it would seem that this belated third installment was in good hands. Unfortunately, at this time both Murphy and Landis were in significant career declines, as they had swung and missed multiple times since Coming to America, Murphy with his directorial debut Harlem Nights (1989) and the political comedy The Distinguished Gentleman (1992) and Landis with the Sylvester Stallone vehicle Oscar (1991) and the horror-comedy Innocent Blood (1992).

Both were probably hoping that Beverly Hills Cop III would put some juice back in their careers, but instead it had the opposite effect, as the resulting film is easily the worst entry in the series—an almost shockingly dull police procedural set in a fictional amusement park that lacks the first film’s brash fish-out-water comedy and the second’s visual bombast. Landis and cinematographer Mac Ahlberg, a veteran of Swedish soft-core erotica and low-budget science fiction and horror like The Dungeonmaster (1984) and Ghoulies (1986), give the film a flat, unimaginative look that frequently borders on a made-for-TV aesthetic (it is hard to believe that the film went well over its $55 million budget). And, even when Landis tries to put together something exciting, such as a vertiginous sequence in which Murphy saves two children from a malfunctioning amusement park ride, the action is so badly filmed and edited and the special effects used to place Murphy in the middle of the action are so shoddy that it becomes more embarrassing than exciting.

Murphy returns as street-wise Detroit police detective Axel Foley, who we first see at the beginning of the film heading up a sting on an illegal chop shop in the middle of the night. Unbeknownst to him, everyone in the chop shop is about to be massacred by a counterfeit money enterprise headed by Ellis DeWald (Timothy Carhart), who is also the much beloved head of security at Wonder World, a Disney-esque mega-amusement-park in Santa Clara. When Foley tangles with DeWald and his goons, a Very Important Person to Him is shot and killed, thus fueling (once again) his return to Southern California to find out who is responsible and exact revenge. Foley is reunited with Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold), the goofball police detective who has been promoted to head of an interdepartmental agency, a role in which he takes great pride. This, of course, robs Cop III of the amusing odd-couple element supplied by Billy and his partner John Taggart, who is conveniently explained away by retirement in Arizona. In his place we get Jon Flint (Hector Elizondo), a mild-mannered, middle-aged Beverly Hills detective who happens to be friends with DeWald, thus raising questions about his involvement.

The screenplay by veteran action scribe Steven E. de Souza, who had co-written Murphy’s feature debut 48 Hrs. (1982), as well as ’80s action staples Commando (1985) and Die Hard (1988), goes through the motions, but offers little that is innovative or even very interesting, and at times it is downright ridiculous (in the aforementioned action sequence involving the malfunctioning amusement park ride, we are meant to believe that the thing goes haywire because bad guys cartoonishly break off a handle from the control panel). Similar to the first Beverly Hills Cop, there is very little mystery here; we know who did it, and the only questions is when Axel Foley will get him, which robs the proceedings of anything resembling tension or suspense. Unfortunately, Cop III also lacks the attitude that fueled the first two films, as Murphy attempts to play Foley as older and more restrained (several times characters refer to him as a “maverick,” and there is something almost desperate in their words, as if they are trying to convince us against all the evidence on screen). There are still flashes of the familiar character and the story relies again and again on Foley causing a scene to get his way, but Murphy’s performance is strangely lacking in energy and dynamism. Murphy said in several interviews in the late 1980s that he had no interest in doing a third Beverly Hills Cop film, and one can’t help but wonder if he still felt the same way when cameras were finally rolling.

Beverly Hills Cop 3-Movie Collection Blu-ray Set

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 (Beverly Hills Cop)
2.35:1 (Beverly Hills Cop II)
1.78:1 (Beverly Hills Cop III)
AudioBeverly Hills Cop
  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround
  • German Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 kbps)
  • Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround
  • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
  • French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround
  • Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround
  • Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
  • Beverly Hills Cop II
  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround
  • German Dolby Digital 2.0 surround
  • Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround
  • French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround
  • Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround
  • Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
  • Beverly Hills Cop III
  • English DT-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround
  • German Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
  • Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround
  • French Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
  • Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
  • Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 surround
  • SubtitlesEnglish, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Korean, Norwegian, Swedish
    Supplements
  • Audio commentary by director Martin Brest
  • Deleted scenes
  • “Behind the Scenes: 1984 Interviews”
  • Beverly Hills Cop: The Phenomenon Begins” featurette
  • “A Glimpse Inside the Casting Process” featurette
  • “The Music of Beverly Hills Cop” featurette
  • Location Map (7 production design mini-featurettes)
  • Photo gallery
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • BHC Mixtape ’84
  • DistributorParamount Home Entertainment
    Release DateJanuary 14, 2020

    COMMENTS
    All three films in the Beverly Hills Cop 3-Movie Collection have been given new 4K transfers, which looks pretty great on the three BD-50 discs in this collection (apparently, the initial plans to release the films on 4K UHD, as well, have either been scrapped or delayed). The three films look quite different, as they are the products of different directors, cinematographers, and time periods, but each transfer looks appropriate to the individual film’s look. Beverly Hills Cop benefits quite a bit from the enhanced high-definition resolution and maintains a distinctly filmlike appearance, although interestingly Cop II, the most visually audacious of the trilogy, appears to have the heaviest film grain, which is in keeping with Tony Scott’s visual aesthetic. Cop III is the smoothest looking of the three films, which isn’t surprising given that it is the product of the mid-1990s, but unfortunately this means that the film has a distinctly flat and cheap look (not the fault of the transfer). All three films boast clean, well detailed images with good color saturation and natural skin tones. The soundtracks are all presented in lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mixes, which sound great. The mixes are clean and nicely separated among the multiple speakers, putting out a rich, full sound with a good bass level. The Beverly Hills Cop disc emphasizes the film’s music quite substantially; as music editor Bob Badami explains in one of the included featurettes, he and director Martin Brest intended for the music to drive the action, rather than the sound effects. Thus, during the 18-wheeler sequence at the beginning, the sound effects of crashing metal and breaking glass are notably subdued while the Pointer Sisters’ “Neutron Dance” dominates the aural space. This is not a mistake during the remix, but the intended sound of the movie.

    In terms of supplements, the Cop II and Cop III discs are completely barren, while most of the supplements on the Beverly Hills Cop disc were previously available on the 2002 “Special Collector’s Edition” DVD and then recycled on the 2011 Blu-ray. There are a few new additions, though, including two deleted scenes, both of which take place before Axel goes to Beverly Hills: one in which he visits with a Detroit crime boss to question him about Mikey’s murder and one in which he packs his bag and then drives off into the night. Both scenes look a bit rough and were clearly cut early in the editing process because they have no sound editing. There are also 7 minutes of video interview clips with Eddie Murphy and director Martin Brest recorded in 1984 that are padded out with clips from the film. The last edition is “BHC Mixtape,” which simply allows you to jump to the scene in the movie featuring one of six songs (“The Heat Is On,” “Neutron Dance,” “Do You Really,” “Stir It Up,” and “Nasty Girl”).

    Everything else on this disc we’ve seen and heard before, starting with director Martin Brest’s screen-specific audio commentary, which is unfortunately a bit sparse. Brest has some interesting comments and behind-the-scenes tidbits, but there tend to be large gaps where he doesn’t have anything to say. Next up are three featurettes on different aspects of the movie. The longest of the three, “Beverly Hills Cop: The Phenomenon Begins,” is a 29-minute making-of featurette that includes interviews with a large cross-section of the cast and crew, including Brest, coproducer Jerry Bruckheimer, screenwriters Daniel Petrie, Jr., and Danilo Bach, editor Billy Weber, and actors Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Lisa Eilbacher, and Ronny Cox. Eddie Murphy does appear in the featurette, but his contributions consist of about a minute of footage that was borrowed from an interview session for some other movie. Subjects covered here range from Sylvester Stallone’s involvement in the project, to reminiscences of the late Don Simpson, to how Reinhold and Ashton improvised much of their material during casting try-outs. “A Glimpse Inside the Casting Process” runs just over nine and a half minutes and focuses on an interview with casting director Margery Simpkin and how she went about casting all the various roles (Brest, Reinhold, Ashton, Eilbacher, and Cox also appear briefly in interviews). Lastly, there is “The Music of Beverly Hills Cop,” a featurette in which music editor Bob Badami talks about how he and Brest conceived of the soundtrack and where some of the various songs came from (other contributors here include Brest, Bruckheimer, and Reinhold). “Location Map” is a collection of seven 1- to 2-minute mini-featurettes in which production designer Angelo Graham talks about what was involved in creating the various locations, including the Beverly Hills police station, Victor Maitland’s mansion, the Biltmore, the warehouse, the art gallery, the Harrow Club, and the strip club. Unfortunately, this does not include any behind-the-scenes footage or production photographs, but Graham is good about explaining the processes involved in taking actual locations and making them work for the movie. Lastly we have an original theatrical trailer, although a previously included photo gallery of 32 color and black-and-white behind-the-scenes photographs has been dropped.

    Copyright © 2020 James Kendrick

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    All images copyright © Paramount Home Entertainment

    Overall Rating: (1.5)



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