Beverly Hills Cop 4 Movie Review

Eddie Murphy Returns in Netflix’s ‘Axel F’ 3.5/5 Stars

Introduction to Axel Foley’s Comeback

Eddie Murphy’s iconic character, Axel Foley, makes a much-anticipated return in the Netflix sequel, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F. Fans have waited for decades to see Murphy slip back into the role that catapulted him to stardom. This film marks the fourth installment in the Beverly Hills Cop franchise, a series beloved for its unique blend of comedy and action. Let’s dive into a detailed Beverly Hills Cop 4 review and see how this latest chapter stacks up.

The fourth outing brings back not just Murphy and Reinhold to the Axel Foley Cinematic Universe, but also long-time co-stars Paul Reiser, John Ashton and Bronson Pinchot. Kevin Bacon, Taylour Paige and Joseph Gordon-Levitt make their debuts.

The plot is pretty simple: Murphy’s Foley is living his best cop life in Detroit — destroying things spectacularly — when he’s asked to urgently return to Beverly Hills to help his estranged daughter, played with real grit by Taylour Paige. He then gets caught up in a murder case that has dirty cops and lets him make fun of snooty Beverly Hills.

Axel Foley: A Veteran Detective

Axel Foley is visibly weary. In one of the film’s early scenes, he abandons his usual playful tactics to secure a room at the Beverly Palms Hotel, opting instead for a straightforward approach. This moment symbolizes the film’s theme of a seasoned detective who has seen and done it all, reflecting a sense of fatigue not just in Foley but perhaps in the franchise itself. Has the series, dormant for nearly three decades, run out of steam?

The Return of a Cult Classic

Since the announcement of this made-for-Netflix sequel, excitement has been palpable, especially among Gen Xers who grew up with the original films. The trailers sparked concern, however, about whether the focus had shifted too much toward action at the expense of comedy. This Beverly Hills Cop 4 review aims to address those concerns and more.

The Legacy of Beverly Hills Cop

It’s been almost 40 years since Eddie Murphy first appeared as Axel Foley in the 1984 classic, Beverly Hills Cop. Murphy’s performance was pivotal, making the film the highest-grossing movie of its year and spawning two sequels in 1987 and 1994. Despite numerous attempts, a fourth installment eluded fans until now. Finally, with Jerry Bruckheimer on board as producer, the right mix of nostalgia and new creative input was found.

Plot Overview

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F sees Axel Foley back in action, this time to protect his daughter, Jane, who is embroiled in a dangerous legal case. Jane, a public defender, is threatened due to her involvement with an accused cop killer. This storyline brings Axel back to Los Angeles, teaming up with familiar faces and new characters to unravel the mystery and save his daughter.

Familiar Faces and New Additions

Returning Cast Members

The film brings back several beloved characters. Judge Reinhold returns as Billy Rosewood, now a private investigator. John Ashton reprises his role as Taggart, now an LAPD police chief, and Paul Reiser returns as Jeffrey, Axel’s boss at the Detroit PD. Bronson Pinchot also makes a memorable appearance as Serge.

New Characters

The cast also features new additions like Taylour Paige as Jane Saunders, Axel’s daughter; Joseph Gordon-Levitt as LAPD Detective Bobby Abbott; and Kevin Bacon as the head of a narcotics task force. These new characters bring fresh dynamics to the storyline, enhancing this Beverly Hills Cop 4 review.

Action and Comedy: A Balancing Act

Action Sequences

The film opens with a high-octane sequence involving a snowplow chase, reminiscent of the cement truck chase from the first film. However, the action-heavy scenes sometimes feel out of place, overshadowing the comedic elements that defined the original series. The balance between action and humor is a critical point in this Beverly Hills Cop 4 review.

Comedic Moments

Despite the action, the film retains some of its comedic charm. Murphy’s knack for improv shines through, particularly in scenes where Axel adopts various personas to navigate obstacles. Yet, these moments are fewer and far between, leading to a sense that the film doesn’t fully capitalize on Murphy’s comedic talents.

The screenwriters — Will Beall, Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten — leave plenty of places for Murphy to improvise but also craft some surprisingly strong dialogue between Foley and his 32-year-old daughter, both nursing hurt feelings.

“You didn’t fight. I’m your daughter. The only thing you’ve ever fought for is your job,” she tells him. “Look, we both messed this thing up. All right? Let’s just call it even.” Come for the explosions, stay for the heart-to-hearts.

Murphy uses Mary J. Blige’s “Family Affair” and proves it. In one scene, Foley is arrested while trying to drive away in a comically small cop car. One of the traffic cops is played by Murphy’s daughter, Bria, one of his 10 kids. Another cop who later tases him is a son-in-law.

A lot has changed in the three decades since Foley was breaking rules and skulls and there’s the feeling of a requiem as these aged men go into battle again. “They don’t want swashbucklers out there anymore. They want social workers,” Reiser’s detective says.

There are jokes about Wesley Snipes, small yappy dogs and Spirit airlines, a scary shootout on Wilshire Boulevard, way too much synth played and an inside joke about the last sequel, a stinker: Gordon-Levitt goes through all of Foley’s brushes with the California police and says “’94, not your finest hour.”

“Axel F” is not exactly Murphy’s finest hour, either. But Murphy just saying “Jesus!” is funny. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another 30 years for our next Axel Foley fix. God, we’ve missed him.

Axel Foley’s Evolution

A More Mature Axel

Murphy’s portrayal of a more mature Axel Foley is a significant departure from the energetic young detective of the 1980s. At 63, Murphy imbues Axel with a sense of wisdom and weariness. This evolution is evident in his interactions with his daughter and the emotional depth he brings to the role.

Relationship with Jane

The father-daughter dynamic between Axel and Jane is central to the film. Murphy and Paige share some poignant scenes, exploring themes of estrangement and reconciliation. However, Paige’s character feels underutilized, not fully tapping into her potential until later in the movie.

Legacy and Nostalgia

Homages to the Original

The film pays homage to its predecessors with numerous callbacks. Classic tracks like “The Heat Is On” and “Axel F.” make a return, and familiar settings like the Beverly Palms Hotel evoke nostalgia. These elements are sure to please long-time fans, as noted in this Beverly Hills Cop 4 review.

Modern Twists

While rooted in nostalgia, the film also introduces modern twists. Axel’s fast-talking antics face new challenges in a contemporary setting, adding a layer of humor and commentary on how times have changed since the original films.

Supporting Characters and Performances

Judge Reinhold and John Ashton

Judge Reinhold and John Ashton bring a sense of continuity to the film. Their characters have evolved, but their camaraderie with Axel remains intact. Reinhold’s Billy Rosewood, now a private investigator, adds a new dynamic to the team.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Kevin Bacon

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, Detective Bobby Abbott, serves as a foil to Axel. Their interactions provide some of the film’s most entertaining moments. Kevin Bacon’s role as a narcotics task force leader adds a layer of intrigue, though his character feels somewhat stereotypical.

The Film’s Reception

Critical Response

The critical response to Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F has been mixed. While some appreciate the nostalgic elements and Murphy’s performance, others feel the film doesn’t quite capture the magic of the original. This Beverly Hills Cop 4 review reflects these varied opinions.

Audience Reactions

Fans of the original series will likely find much to enjoy, particularly in the familiar characters and settings. However, the film’s shift toward action may disappoint those expecting more of the comedic tone that defined the earlier movies.


A Worthy Addition?

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F is a mixed bag. It successfully brings back the beloved character of Axel Foley and pays homage to the original films, but it struggles to balance action and comedy. Eddie Murphy’s performance is a highlight, reminding audiences why Axel Foley remains an iconic character.

Looking Ahead

Murphy has expressed interest in continuing the franchise, hinting at a possible fifth installment. Whether this will materialize depends largely on the success of Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F on Netflix. Regardless, Axel Foley’s return is a nostalgic trip worth taking, even if it doesn’t fully recapture the magic of the original.

Detailed Character Analysis

Axel Foley: Then and Now

Axel Foley remains the heart of the Beverly Hills Cop series. In this latest installment, we see a more seasoned and reflective Axel. This maturity brings a new dimension to the character, contrasting with the brash, young detective from the earlier films. Murphy portrays Axel with a blend of nostalgia and depth, making him relatable to both old fans and new viewers.

Evolution of Axel’s Character

Axel’s character evolution is central to the film. His journey from a young, rebellious cop to a seasoned detective facing personal challenges is portrayed with nuance. The film explores his relationship with his daughter, adding emotional depth to his character.

Jane Saunders: A New Addition

Taylour Paige’s portrayal of Jane Saunders introduces a new dynamic to the series. As Axel’s daughter, Jane brings out a different side of Axel, highlighting his vulnerabilities. Despite being a new character, Jane’s role is integral to the plot, driving Axel’s actions throughout the film.

Jane’s Role in the Story

Jane’s involvement in a high-stakes legal case sets the stage for the film’s central conflict. Her relationship with Axel is explored in depth, providing emotional moments that enhance the story. Paige’s performance adds a fresh perspective, though it could have been developed further.

Returning Characters: Nostalgia and Continuity

The return of characters like Billy Rosewood, Taggart, and Jeffrey adds a sense of continuity. These characters have evolved over the years, but their interactions with Axel maintain the charm of the original films. Their presence serves as a bridge between the old and new, catering to long-time fans.

Billy Rosewood and Taggart

Billy Rosewood and Taggart bring a sense of familiarity and humor to the film. Their characters have matured, but their loyalty to Axel remains unchanged. Their dynamic with Axel provides some of the film’s most entertaining moments.

New Faces: Adding Fresh Perspectives

The inclusion of new characters like Detective Bobby Abbott and the narcotics task force leader adds fresh perspectives. These characters bring new challenges and dynamics, enriching the story. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Kevin Bacon deliver notable performances, though their characters sometimes feel underdeveloped.

Detective Bobby Abbott

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, Detective Bobby Abbott, serves as a foil to Axel. His interactions with Axel provide a fresh dynamic, though his character could have been explored further. Abbott’s role adds a layer of intrigue and humor to the film.

Plot Analysis and Themes

The Central Conflict

The film’s central conflict revolves around Jane’s involvement in a dangerous legal case. This plotline brings Axel back to Los Angeles and sets the stage for the film’s action and emotional moments. The father-daughter dynamic adds depth to the story, making it more than just an action-comedy.

Jane’s Legal Battle

Jane’s legal battle drives the plot, providing the stakes that propel Axel into action. This storyline adds tension and urgency, though it sometimes feels overshadowed by the action sequences. The legal aspect adds a modern twist, reflecting contemporary issues.

Themes of Family and Loyalty

Family and loyalty are central themes in Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F. Axel’s relationship with his daughter and his loyalty to his friends are explored in depth. These themes add emotional weight to the film, making it more than just a nostalgic return.

Axel and Jane’s Relationship

The father-daughter relationship between Axel and Jane is a highlight of the film. Their interactions are both poignant and humorous, providing some of the film’s most memorable moments. This relationship adds a new layer to Axel’s character, showcasing his growth and maturity.

Nostalgia and Modernity

The film balances nostalgia with modern elements, appealing to both old fans and new viewers. Classic callbacks and modern twists create a blend that pays homage to the original while introducing new ideas. This balance is crucial to the film’s appeal.

Homages to the Original

The film includes numerous homages to the original series, from classic tracks to familiar settings. These elements evoke nostalgia and provide continuity, pleasing long-time fans. The attention to detail in these homages is a testament to the filmmakers’ respect for the original.

Final Thoughts

A Mixed Bag

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F is a mixed bag, combining elements of nostalgia and modernity. Eddie Murphy’s performance is a highlight, and the return of beloved characters adds continuity. However, the film’s action-heavy approach sometimes overshadows its comedic roots.

Worth the Wait?

While it may not fully recapture the magic of the original, the film is a worthy addition to the Beverly Hills Cop series. It offers a nostalgic trip for long-time fans and introduces new dynamics for a modern audience. Axel Foley’s return is a reminder of why the character remains iconic, even if the film itself is not without its flaws.

It should have been in theaters where it could have thrived, but Netflix subscribers will love it.

Producers are Bruckheimer, Murphy and Chad Oman.

Title: Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F
Distributor: Netflix
Release date: July 3, 2024 (streaming)
Director: Mark Molloy
Screenwriter: Will Beall and Tom Gormican & Kevin Etten
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Taylour Paige, Kevin Bacon, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Paul Reiser, Bronson Pinchot
Rating: R
Running time: 1 hr and 55 min

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F is streaming on Netflix from Wednesday 3rd July 2024

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