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Beverly Hills Cop II Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 January 2002

Beverly Hills Cop II

Paramount Pictures
MPAA rating: R
starring: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Jurgen Prochnow, Ronny Cox, John Ashton, Brigitte Nielsen, Allen Garfield, and Paul Reiser
release year: 1987
film rating: Four stars
sound/picture: Three-and-a-half stars
reviewed by: Mel Odom

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 mood.

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 coma.

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 poignant.

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 their collections.

more details
sound format:
5.1 Surround, English Dolby Surround, French Stereo
aspect ratio(s):
Widescreen (16X9 enhanced)
special features: New Exclusive Cast and Crew Interviews, Original Behind-the-Scenes Featurette, Deleted Scene with Tony Scott Introduction, "Shakedown" Music Featurette, Theatrical Trailer
comments: email us here...
reference system
DVD player: Pioneer DV-C302D
receiver: RCA RT2280
main speakers: RCA RT2280
center speaker: RCA RT2280
rear speakers: RCA RT2280
subwoofer: RCA RT2280
monitor: 42-inch Toshiba HD Projection TV

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