Written By: Wayne Broadway
An interesting thing happens at the beginning of Beverly Hills Cop. As up-tempo ’80s pop plays over the opening credits, director Martin Brest and cinematographer Bruce Surtees provide establishing shots of Detroit, protagonist Axel Foley’s hometown. But, where many comedies might opt to highlight and exaggerate Detroit’s derelict parts — especially in comparison to Beverly Hills’ glamour — Beverly Hills Cop, instead, provides these images in addition to showing smiling faces inhabiting them. There are the people hard at work at the auto plant; there are the folks of all colors brown-bagging liquor and hanging on the stoop; there are kids playing in front of burnt out buildings, oblivious, or unconcerned, with their surroundings. If this sounds depressing, it isn’t.
Beverly Hills Cop is a comedy that, with all its sincere moments and parodying of uptight upper-class attitudes, inadvertently celebrates Detroit in all of its grit and grime.
Enter Axel Foley, a young detective and a product of this industrial city. Like many ’80s action film detectives, he doesn’t play by the rules: his boss has had it with his actions, and his latest exploit involved a car chase, a couple explosions, and just about every cruiser owned by Detroit PD. Still, he’s the best man for the job, and when the job requires him to investigate his childhood friend’s murder, he’ll take his street knowledge from the Motor City to Rodeo Drive in order to uncover the truth.
Eddie Murphy shines as Axel Foley. His performance, along with Judge Reinhold’s as Detective William “Billy” Rosewood, may be the main reason to watch the film. These two, supported by John Ashton as the surly Sergeant John Taggart and Jonathan Banks (Mike from Breaking Bad) as a dead-eyed assassin, give heart and levity to a film that, with lesser-known actors, would have fallen flat.
Foley travels to LA after witnessing his friend Michael “Mikey” Tandino (James Russo) murdered by hit men who claim he stole 10,000 in Deutschmarks from their mysterious employer….