Axel F Takes Away Eddie Murphy’s Most Powerful Weapon

Some might say the biggest surprise here is the idea that anyone was clamoring for a fourth “Beverly Hills Cop” movie. This was clearly a concern for producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who, after wisely abandoning John Landis’ uninspired “Beverly Hills Cop III” (which was no match for Murphy)he shot several scripts and a failed TV pilot before settling on a script credited to Will Beall, Tom Gormican, and Kevin Etten. By hiring director Mark Molloy (a commercial vet making his feature-length directorial debut here), Bruckheimer signaled a return to the high-octane mayhem of Tony Scott’s “Beverly Hills Cop II,” a safe choice that, if nothing else, perfectly complements the show’s lavish setting.

As for how Axel Foley fits into our post-social media world, where a teenage influencer from Duluth can seem as savvy as a spoiled brat from Beverly Hills, the fish-out-of-water hook is no longer novel or, frankly, applicable. Foley’s challenge now is to navigate a world where bullshit is the coin of the realm and experience is nice but hardly essential.

Molloy kicks off the film by having Foley, in true franchise tradition, wreak havoc in his hometown of Detroit. Foley is still Foley, only this time his trail of destruction in the Motor City is a headache for the now-promoted Chief Jeffrey Friedman (Paul Reiser, replacing the late Gil Hill’s Inspector Todd). At first, it seems as if nothing has changed in Foley’s life. But we quickly discover that, while he hasn’t grown beyond his reckless antics, he has lived a life between sequels. And when he’s forced to confront it, he finds himself terrifyingly, uncharacteristically, at a loss for words.

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