Whilst channel hopping the other night I came across Beverly Hills Cop being shown for the umpteenth time, but I was soon hooked and wondering why I had not covered this major film of the eighties before now.
I’m sure the film needs no introduction to you, but in brief it follows Detroit police detective Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) who comes to Beverly Hills to look into the death of his friend Mikey, as he believes he was murdered. Fast mouthed Axel causes mayhem for the Beverly Hills police department, in particular detectives Taggart (John Ashton) and Rosewood (Judge Reinhold), who end up getting unwillingly drawn into his investigation.
Of course, Axel’s hunch about Mikey was right, and leads him to art dealer Victor Maitland (Steven Berkoff) who turns out to be using his position as a respected business man to smuggle drugs.
Beverly Hills Cop was released in 1984, but by the time it made it on to UK television (a process which took far longer back then than it does today) it had become one of those films that were talked about at school as a must see. If you hadn’t seen it then you could find yourself ostracised by your mates for being uncool!
One problem with Beverly Hills Cop being show on British TV was the amount of swearing it contained (mostly courtesy of Murphy). This led to what I like to call the “specially ruined for television” version of Beverly Hills Cop, where Murphy’s profanities were dubbed over with other words, making him sound pretty ridiculous, it has to be said.
The film also had a great soundtrack, which still sounds fresh today, even if Harold Faltermeyer’s “Axel F” did get used to death during the late eighties on hacker group demos for the Commodore Amiga. Most of the car chases in the film are also accompanied by the brilliant “The Heat Is On” by Glenn Frey, which is one of those songs you can’t help joining in with, especially the oh-woh-oh-oh bits!
Whilst now the film can’t be mentioned without immediately thinking of Eddie Murphy, he wasn’t actually the first choice to lead the film. Initially Mickey Rourke was to be the lead, but when he dropped out Sylvester Stallone was brought in. He too dropped out as he wanted many more action scenes than film studio Paramount were prepared to splash out for. Al Pacino and James Caan were also potentials for the role. The coming of Murphy meant a massive rewrite to the film, but somehow I suspect if any of those other guys had got the part, the film wouldn’t have been half as entertaining.
Beverly Hills Cop was the highest grossing movie for 1984, narrowly pipping my personal favourite Ghostbusters to the top spot. It spawned two sequels, the first in 1987 and the third in 1994. There is even talk of a fourth movie going into production soon, which would be interesting to see given that much of Eddie Murphy’s more recent work has been much more family friendly fare.