This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Beverly Hills Cop II
Written by Mel Odom
Tuesday, 29 January 2002
|Beverly Hills Cop II
||Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Jurgen Prochnow, Ronny Cox, John Ashton, Brigitte Nielsen, Allen Garfield, and Paul Reiser
Eddie Murphy, as Detroit police detective Axel Foley, returns to the
scene of the crime in Beverly Hills Cop II. After the first movie in
1984 turned into a hit, a sequel definitely was in the cards. During
the time between the first movie and the sequel, there had been talk of
producing a television series based on the movie. However, Murphy was
booked up with other projects and the producers felt they couldn’t find
anyone with the same creative verve and improv skills that Murphy had.
So they waited three years to film the sequel.
With Martin Brest out of the picture to direct the sequel, Simpson and
Bruckheimer tapped director Tony Scott (SPY GAME, ENEMY OF THE STATE,
TOP GUN, THE LAST BOY SCOUT, DAYS OF THUNDER) to take the helm. Scott
brought his interest in making action films to the sequel, and fans of
the original movie agree that BEVERELY HILLS COP II amps up the action,
intensity, and the stakes.
When Scott agreed to take the director’s seat, the stakes were already
high. Paramount had already figured the sequel for a tent movie, a
movie that would make enough money to cover other shows that had been
produced at the same time that hadn’t done much more than cover the
expense of being made.
With a background in art, Scott brought stunning visuals to the movie.
While the stars and crew called a day of production to an end at
midnight or one in the morning, Scott went home and worked up
storyboards for the next day’s work. Beautiful scenes that make the
most of the Beverly Hills sets (some in Beverly Hills and some not) are
shown, advancing the plot, establishing character, and are cut to
heighten suspense. The DVD reproduces those scenes without a flaw,
bringing the movie to the audience with the same crisp smoothness as
shown on the big screen.
Scott’s vision also added dramatic emphasis to the sequel that wasn’t
present in the original. Where Axel Foley breezed into Beverly Hills in
the original and stepped into a fluffy world of idealized perfection,
the sequel begins in orange and tangerine colored terror. Brigitte
Nielsen (RED SONJA, ROCKY IV, COBRA) stars as a villainess leading a
violent robbery of an upscale jewelry store. The original opened with
Murphy in a dangerous sting operation that turned into a deadly chase,
but the action—though violent—quickly turned humorous. And the driving
beat of the Pointer Sisters in the original film helped lighten the
Ronny Cox (THE AGENCY, MURDER AT 1600, AMERICAN OUTLAWS) returns as
Captain Andrew Bogomil of the Beverly Hills PD. Bogomil’s working on
the Alphabet Robberies and is closing in on the bad guys. Brigitte and
bad guys ambush Bogomil. The police captain, near-death, ends up in a
In Detroit while working undercover, Foley spots the news story about
Bogomil getting shot. The audience learns that the friendship between
Foley, Bogomil, Taggart, and Rosewood has continued after the Detroit
detective’s first foray among the elite and pampered of Beverly Hills.
Although working on a tight schedule on a bust of his own (which
includes a cameo by Frank Pesce who was the cigarette buyer in the
original film), Foley takes off for Beverly Hills. This kind of
behavior isn’t surprising. After all, Axel Foley "fractured a law or
two when I was a kid," and doing so has become a trademark.
As stated, the action pieces of the sequel are on steroids compared to
the original. Where Beverly Hills Cop had one serious stunt during the
whole film (the runaway truck at the beginning of the film), Beverly
Hills Cop II goes nitro. Car chases, fender-benders, and explosions run
rampant, giving the surround sound system a great workout. In Chapter 7
of the DVD, there’s a nice effect with an unseen helicopter that is
circling overhead. The listener knows the helicopter is circling
because the rotor noise bounces through the individual front and rear
speakers while the dialogue flows through the center speakers and
subwoofer. The carnage that Scott brought to life in the film is
faultlessly reproduced on the DVD. Crashes crash through the speakers,
and gunfire echoes.
At the heart of the sequel is the story of the three men seeking
vengeance for their fallen friend. Judge Reinhold (FOUR EYES AND
SIX-GUNS, THE SANTA CLAUSE) and John Ashton (MIDNIGHT RUN—done with
Martin Brest to be released in 1988, HARDBALL, MEET THE DEEDLES) return
as their signature characters. Where they were opposing forces in the
original movie, now they’re the Three Musketeers.
Eddie Murphy’s improv skills, first honed to perfection on Saturday
Night Live and his own stand-up comedy, shine when he’s on stage with
Reinhold and Ashton. The genuine affection between the three men is
palpable. The scene where Foley recovers Chip Cain’s fingerprint from a
book of matches is interesting in its own right (a touch of early CSI
in the making), but the impromptu addition of the three performing the
theme song to "The Dating Game" makes the scene funnier and more
Don’t miss the homage paid to COBRA, the film Sylvester Stallone moved
on to after the lead role on Beverly Hills Cop didn’t pan out, when
Foley sees the movie poster in Billy’s bedroom. When first offered the
role of Axel Foley, Stallone rewrote the original script, renaming the
character Cobretti so he could be called Cobra. Brigitte Nielsen,
Stallone’s wife, played the romantic lead in COBRA before she did
Beverly Hills Cop II.
There’s not quite as much of Eddie’s improv shtick in the sequel, or
maybe it only seems that way because the plot in this movie is more
densely plotted, outweighing the comedy. In the original, Foley only
had to figure out what the bad guys were doing and catch them. In the
sequel, the audience watches Foley doing actual police work (at least,
Hollywood style) as he pieces together clues to build the trail to the
villain. That trail even has an interesting kink, showcasing Dean
Stockwell (QUANTUM LEAP, AIR FORCE ONE, THE RAINMAKER) as Chip Cain,
the manager of the Beverly Hills Gun Club and the guy the real villains
set up to take the fall for the Alphabet Robberies. Of course, Foley
and Rosewood leave a trail of bent, flattened, broken, shattered,
and—sometimes—flaming destruction in their wake. In this movie, their
improv is on the go, at sixty-plus miles an hour. If the laughs don’t
get you, the action will.
Murphy’s improv skills also led Scott to film with two cameras. Scott
says that Murphy never did a scene exactly the same way, and that he
learned after the first week of working with the young comedian that
using two cameras was a necessity. Nowadays, such filmmaking is simply
the way to do things, but Scott and Murphy helped pioneer that practice
in this film.
As in the original movie, Harold Faltermeyer scored the music,
delivering another smash CD soundtrack to the music-conscious 1980s.
Not only do the plot, directing, and acting streamline the movie into a
sleek, racing bullet that never slows, but the music kicks in the
afterburner. A surround sound system makes the experience totally
awesome. The soundtrack also delivered long-time rocker Bob Seger his
first #1 hit with "Shakedown." The special music featurette on the DVD
talks about the song’s genesis and what Faltermeyer, Simpson, and
Bruckheimer looked for as they began their search for the right song.
Besides Brigitte Nielsen, Murphy was also up against Jurgen Prochnow
(DAS BOOT, WING COMMANDER, THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS), who played a dark,
brooding bad guy Maxwell Dent. Story credits are given to Eddie Murphy,
Robert D. Wachs, Larry Ferguson, and Warren Skarren. David Giler and
Dennis Klein also worked on the script but were uncredited.
Along with the excellent visual and audio performance offered by the
DVD, the disk offers a host of special features. The interviews with
cast members regarding this film were obviously done at the same time
they were interviewed about the original. While the special features
are a decent enough package, the lack of the voice-over commentary by
Tony Scott is noticeable after seeing the voice-over on the original
that Martin Brest offered.
The sequel also offers glimpses of young comedians in the making just
as the original film did. Paul Reiser (MAD ABOUT YOU, ALIENS) returns
as Foley’s partner. Gilbert Gottfried (USA UP ALL NIGHT, ALADDIN,
DOCTOR DOLITTLE) plays a tax accountant working for the bad guys that
Foley blackmails. Chris Rock (LETHAL WEAPON 4, OSMOSIS JONES, BAD
COMPANY) plays a parking valet. Robert Pastorelli (MURPHY BROWN, SISTER
ACT 2, CRACKER series, BAIT) puts in an appearance as a small-time
Detroit hood. Hugh Hefner and Carrie Leigh even show up and star as
themselves when Foley tracks the bad guys to Playboy Mansion.
Like the original movie that spawned it, Beverly Hills Cop II offers a
fun, well-greased ride that careens through familiar paces, but the
film also offers a darker, edgier side that wasn’t present in Axel
Foley’s first outing. Fans of the action genre, police stories,
comedies, and Eddie Murphy will want to snap up this DVD and add to
|5.1 Surround, English Dolby Surround, French Stereo
|Widescreen (16X9 enhanced)
Exclusive Cast and Crew Interviews, Original Behind-the-Scenes
Featurette, Deleted Scene with Tony Scott Introduction, "Shakedown"
Music Featurette, Theatrical Trailer
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||42-inch Toshiba HD Projection TV