Beverly Hills Cop II

Director: Tony Scott
Screenplay: Larry Ferguson and Warren Skaaren (story by Eddie Murphy & Robert D. Wachs; based on characters created by Danilo Bach and Daniel Petrie Jr.)
Stars: Eddie Murphy (Axel Foley), Judge Reinhold (Billy Rosewood),Jürgen Prochnow (Maxwell Dent), Ronny Cox (Andrew Bogomil), John Ashton (John Taggart), Brigitte Nielsen (Karla Fry), Allen Garfield (Harold Lutz), Dean Stockwell (Chip Cain), Paul Reiser (Jeffrey Friedman), Gilbert R. Hill (Inspector Todd), Paul Guilfoyle (Nikos Thomopolis), Robert Ridgely (Mayor Egan), Brian Edward O’Connor (Biddle), Alice Adair (Jan Bogomil)
MPAA Rating: R
Year of Release: 1987
Country: U.S.
Beverly Hills Cop II
Beverly Hills Cop II

After Beverly Hills Cop (1984) became one of the highest grossing films of that year and cemented Eddie Murphy’s status as a mega-watt movie star who could carry a film squarely on his own shoulders, it was a no-brainer that a sequel would follow, especially since his subsequent project, the action-fantasy The Golden Child (1986), tanked critically and commercially. In returning to the character of Axel Foley, a fast-talking, street-wise Detroit police detective, Murphy was essentially reasserting his above-the-title stardom by giving fans what he assumed they wanted, which is everything that Beverly Hills Cop provided—primarily, attitude, attitude, and more attitude—and doubled down on it. The result was a box-office smash, but not a very good film. Beverly Hills Cop II essentially repeats everything from the first film, but louder and flashier.

Part of this has to do with the director. Replacing Beverly Hills Cop director Martin Brest, who had demonstrated a deft sense of comedy in his earlier film Going in Style (1979), was Tony Scott, fresh off the box-office smash Top Gun (1986), another slick, shamelessly adrenaline-pumped Don Simpson / Jerry Bruckheimer production. Scott was a consummate stylist with an acute sense of action and momentum and visual intensity, but nothing in any of his films prior to Beverly Hills Cop II or, really, anything after, suggested that he had any interest in comedy. And it shows in the film. While Beverly Hills Cop II looks very good—slick and polished and suave in a late-’80s music video kind of way—it is mostly unfunny, relying almost entirely on Murphy shouting at people and making them uncomfortable. Granted, there was plenty of that in the first film, too, but it was offset by both the film’s slightly rough-around-the-edges sensibility and Brest’s ability to guide and refine some of Murphy’s cruder instincts.

Those cruder instincts are on full display in Beverly Hills Cop II, which essentially reprises the plot of the first film, but lacks its fish-out-water sensibility. In the first film, Foley travels to Beverly Hills, California, in order to find out who killed a friend of his. In the process he uncovers a drug-smuggling operation masked by an art gallery, but that is really secondary to his desire to avenge his friend’s death. This scenario is re-enacted in the sequel when he returns to Beverly Hills to find out who shot down Captain Bogmil (Ronny Cox), the police captain he befriended in the first film. Thus, everything he does in both films (and, as it would turn out, the belated third entry seven years later) is framed by his individual need to find out who killed (or tried to kill) a friend and exact the proper punishment. Victory at the end is victory for Axel Foley and no one else, which is essential to Simpson and Bruckheimer’s view of the Hollywood action movie as a vehicle for “winners.”

Foley is reunited with Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) and John Taggart (John Ashton), the odd-couple Beverly Hills police detectives who started as his antagonists in the first film, but are now so friendly with Foley that they have spent the time between the two movies going on fishing trips together (the idea of Axel Foley sitting still and quiet long enough to fish is fundamentally ludicrous, but that’s the kind of detail this film could care less about). Scott doesn’t really know what to do with Rosewood and Taggart, so he allows them to repeat some of the same jokes that Brest used in the first film (including Rosewood gently chiding Taggart for his personal habits), but otherwise they are largely window-dressing on the edges of the Eddie Murphy show.

Unfortunately, Beverly Hills Cop II does not feature Murphy at his best, despite the fact that the film was released at the height of his popularity (he had just signed a six-picture deal with Paramount, which he promptly renegotiated to his benefit when Cop II became a smash hit). There is little timing or rhythm to the film’s humor, so most of it comes off as simply loud and boorish, which is accentuated by Scott’s flashy style and the visual glorification of conspicuous consumption, rather than its undercutting (Foley’s undercover assignment at the beginning of the film somehow requires that he drive around in a shiny red Ferrari, which makes no narrative sense outside of allowing the film to showcase a shiny red Ferrari).

The plot is again largely inconsequential, although screenwriters Larry Ferguson (The Hunt for Red October, Alien 3) and Warren Skaaren (Beetlejuice, Batman), working from a story by Murphy and his collaborator/producer Robert D. Wachs, actually give Foley a few discoveries to make. They also supply a flashier villain in Brigitte Nielsen’s Karla Fry, although whatever malfeasance she’s engaged in matters little except that it is in the way of Foley getting even for Bogomil’s being shot. There are lots of shoot-outs and car chases (including one involving a cement truck), and Scott manages the action proceedings with style and flair, which is almost enough to make us forget how lacking the rest of the film feels.

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: (2)



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