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‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F’ Movie Review: A nostalgic ride with few speed bumps

Eddie Murphy reprises his role as Axel Foley in 'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F' after 30 years, alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kevin Bacon, and Taylour Paige. The Detroit detective tackles a personal case, thrusting him back into action.

Rahul Pratyush Updated on: July 03, 2024 7:55 IST
Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F
‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F’ Movie ReviewPhoto:TMDB
  • Movie Name:Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F
  • Critics Rating: 3 / 5
  • Release Date: July 5, 2024
  • Director: Mark Molloy
  • Genre: Action-Comedy

Hollywood has recently been focused on reviving old franchises, hoping to recapture or even surpass their original success. Netflix's new action-comedy film, ‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F,’ is one such attempt. It's been a long wait, but Axel Foley is back. After nearly thirty years, Eddie Murphy reprises his iconic role in Axel F. This long-awaited sequel throws the street-smart Detroit cop back into the opulent world of Beverly Hills, this time with a personal stake in the game. While the film might not recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle magic of the original, it delivers a heaping dose of nostalgia laced with action and humour, offering a fun, albeit slightly bumpy, ride for fans of the franchise.

Story:

The story centres around Axel's estranged daughter, Jane (Taylour Paige), a criminal defence attorney in her own right. When she becomes the target of a mysterious threat after taking a pro bono case, Axel rockets back to Beverly Hills, determined to keep her safe. Axel gets on the case trying to save his daughter and find his old partner and friend, Lt. Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold), who has disappeared. This throws him into the company of an old friend, the increasingly exasperated John Taggart (John Ashton) - and a new partner, the by-the-book Detective Abbott (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) along with the franchise favourite Serge (Bronson Pinchot). 

The film's focus on family brings a new dimension to Axel's character, revealing a softer side to the usually wisecracking cop as he navigates his complicated relationship with Jane. This emotional depth is a refreshing addition, although it isn't always fully explored. The main storyline, however, feels somewhat repetitive, with the villain's motivations being predictable and the plot twists easy to anticipate. The narrative relies heavily on well-worn tropes and references to the earlier films, featuring the lavish villain's mansion, a high-speed chase through pristine streets, and Axel's knack for getting into trouble. Despite this, Jane's prominent role brings new life to the story. The dynamic between Axel and Jane, characterized by a blend of fatherly protectiveness and playful banter, adds an emotional connection that was missing in the previous films.

Direction and Writing:

Director Mark Molloy skillfully navigates the challenge of respecting the previous films' legacy while infusing new vitality into the series. He vividly captures the lively atmosphere of Los Angeles and brings back the beloved action scenes in a refreshing way. Molloy expertly balances honouring the franchise's roots with his own creative vision, resulting in action sequences that are both thrilling and humorous, relying on practical effects for old-school excitement. 

Will Beall's script walks a fine line, at times falling into the trap of overusing old references and catchphrases. However, the film also brings in some fresh humour, particularly through Axel's comedic misadventures. The father-daughter dynamic is a standout, offering both laughs and surprising emotional depth. The film excels when Murphy is free to improvise, delivering his classic one-liners with impeccable timing. Still, Beall's script isn't always consistent. Unfortunately, there are stretches where the jokes fall flat, relying on cliches that come across as more outdated than nostalgic.

Actor’s Performances:

The true star of the show remains Eddie Murphy. Despite the years, he effortlessly slips back into the role of Axel Foley. His comedic timing is still impeccable, and he brings a surprising amount of emotional depth to the character. Taylour Paige matches Murphy's energy as Jane, creating a believable and dynamic father-daughter duo.

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The returning cast members are a delight to see again. Judge Reinhold and John Ashton bring their signature comedic stylings to Billy Rosewood and John Taggart, reminding us why these characters were so beloved in the first place. Joseph Gordon-Levitt provides a solid foil for Murphy as the straight-laced Detective Abbott, though his character doesn't have a lot of room to shine. Kevin Bacon is appropriately menacing as the film's antagonist, even if his role feels somewhat underwritten.

Verdict:

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F is a film that thrives on its nostalgia factor. It's a clear love letter to the original films, packed with familiar faces, recognisable locations, and the infectious energy of Eddie Murphy at his best. While the plot is predictable and the humour occasionally misses the mark, the film delivers a good dose of action, laughs, and a heartwarming father-daughter dynamic.

The film might not be a revolutionary sequel, but it's a welcome return to a beloved franchise. It's a film that will likely resonate most with fans of the originals, offering a chance to revisit a world they hold dear. For newcomers, it provides a solid, albeit unspectacular, action-comedy experience. So, crank up the Harold Faltermeyer score, grab some popcorn, and prepare for a fun, if slightly bumpy, ride down memory lane with Axel Foley.

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F streams on Netflix from July 3, 2024

Watch the trailer:

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