Release Date: May 20th
Box Office: $153,665,036
If there’s one thing that the 80s film industry liked it was a sequel. Oh, sure, they had been around long before then but it was in the 80s that the studios started putting out more sequels then there were piles of cocaine in the executive offices.
Just think about the Friday 13th series, orA Nightmare on Elm Street or Police Academy or the Rocky films. If it made money at the box office or on home video, it would be back again as soon as possible. Especially when a film makes an awful lot of money.
Say hello to Beverley Hills Cop II (1987)!
Axel Foley is back! Yep, he’s coming back to Beverley Hills to team up with his old pals Judge Rhinehold and the guy with the moustache because their boss, Dick Jones from RoboCop (1987), is shot as they investigate a series of crimes taking place across the city that the media has dubbed the Alphabet Crimes. Guess that means we get more Eddie Muprhy back chat as his blue collar world collides with the glitz and glamour of Beverley Hills.
It’s essentially a clone of the first film, moving in a new boss who doesn’t like the cut of Murphy’s jib and having essentially the same structure.
The main difference is the director as Martin Brest didn’t return for the sequel. After his work on Top Gun (1986) the studio brought in Tony Scott to work his heavily filtered magic on this film. Initially it was to be set in London and Paris before Murphy decided he didn’t want to film abroad.
Also, whats the point of having Beverley Hills Cop if it’s not set in Beverley Hills?
The other thing that had changed since the first film was that Murphy had become a bona fide A-lister although that wasn’t without a caveat or two.
His last film, The Golden Child (1986) wasn’t quite the hit that the studio had expected, hence the return to a fairly safe bet with Beverley Hills Cop II. And a safe bet it was, despite not landing with the critics the audience lapped it up landing it in the top ten films of the year.
Not as high as the first film though. No, whilst it was a hit it was still out-grossed by a couple of other films. What this was was a chink. Yes the audience were they, but were they there for Murphy or Axel Foley? Were they there for the Axel F song and to remember how much they enjoyed the first film?
Over the next few years it would be confirmed that Muprhy had lost his golden touch and he would go on a run of films as bad as his early films were good.
But for now, in this film, he’s still a big star in one of the biggest films of the year. That grin and that laugh is full of undeniable charisma that hasn’t quite yet turned into smugness. Tony Scott is a good enough director to wring what he can out of a fairly humdrum story that carries everything along.
As sequels go, Beverley Hills Cop II is alright. It’s more of a re-tread, hitting the same beats for diminishing returns.
And with that you have a better of summary of Eddie Murphy’s film career after this point than anything else I could write.