Beverly Hills Cop is quintessential 1980s action from the electronic score to the basic look and feel. It also was the perfect vehicle for a then on the rise Eddie Murphy who probably was at his best. The Blu-ray itself has a passable audio track, video that is certainly ahead of the curve compared with the DVD and features which are nice but nothing special.
Genre(s): Action, Comedy
Paramount | R – 105 min. – $24.99 | May 17, 2011
Directed by: Martin Brest
Writer(s): Danilo Bach and Daniel Petrie Jr. (story), Daniel Petrie Jr.
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Lisa Eilbacher, Ronny Cox
Theatrical Release Date: December 5, 1984
Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Theatrical Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): Region Free
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
Beverly Hills Cop is a film as engrained into 1980s cinema as any of the others like Ghost Busters, Lethal Weapon and Back to the Future (to name a few). Is it particularly fantastic like the aforementioned films? I’d say no, but thanks to Eddie Murphy, it certainly has the entertainment value to make it as memorable as it is. The sequels on the other hand…
Axel Foley (MURPHY) is a wise-cracking, fast talking Detroit police detective who often takes it upon himself to solve crimes without the approval of his supervisors as we first meet him trying to sell stolen cigarettes. After getting chewed out by his boss, he goes home to find an old friend, and felon, Mikey (JAMES RUSSO) inside his apartment. The two catch up on old times and upon their return, the two are ambushed, Axel is knocked unconscious and Mikey takes a bullet to the head. You see, Mikey stole some expensive bearer bonds from some bad people. Now, despite being told not to involve himself in the murder investigation, Foley takes some vacation time and goes out to Beverly Hills where Mikey had been working for a ruthless man named Victor Maitland (STEVEN BERKOFF) and quickly discovers that Vic is involved with his friend’s murder.
While in Beverly Hills, between taking in the sites, odd fashions in the glitzy town and reconnecting with old friend Jenny (LISA EILBACHER) who had gotten Mikey the job to begin with, he also runs into the local detectives Billy Rosewood (JUDGE REINHOLD) and John Taggart (JOHN ASHTON) who have been assigned by their boss (RONNY COX) to tail Foley knowing he’s in town on unofficial business.
The movie isn’t a great movie by any stretch but as a vehicle for rising star Eddie Murphy, coming off of 48 Hours and Trading Places in ’82 and ’83 respectively – not to mention the turkey Best Defense starring Dudley Moore –, it’s pure entertainment balancing the sometimes obnoxiousness with the character and great charm which makes me question where Murphy’s career has gone in the 2000s. So while a character like Axel Foley doesn’t quite measure up to Riggs or Murdoch in Lethal Weapon, it’s still the a fun part to watch even when the story isn’t particularly in-depth.
Beverly Hills Cop was helmed by Martin Brest whose body of work is fairly limited with only 8 films on his resume dating back to 1972 and ending in 2003 with the notoriously awful Jennifer Lopez/Ben Affleck crime-comedy, Gigli. Brest also has done some decent work with Scent of a Woman, the moderately underrated Meet Joe Black and of course probably his second best known movie, Midnight Run.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3/5
All the features from the DVD have been ported over.
Feature Commentary – Director Martin Brest provides an informative, albeit low-key, track. Brest keeps things light while offering up his recollections of making the film. It’s not a great commentary and it would’ve been better if there were others included but you do get an idea about filmmaking at least.
Beverly Hills Cop – The Phenomenon Begins (29:11; SD) chronicles the origins of the film from script to casting (who they wanted in the roles and who almost took the roles) to filming. It’s a basic by-the-numbers making-of but still provides some info on the movie. It features interviews with Jerry Bruckheimer, Martin Brest, Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold and others.
A Glimpse Inside the Casting Process (9:37; SD) – As the title suggests we look at how BHC was cast from the casting director and what they look from the big roles to the extras.
The Music of Beverly Hills Cop (7:49; SD) tackles the iconic score and theme we associate with the film and, in fact, with the 1980s.
Location Map (TRT 12:01; SD) is a several mini-featurettes talking about the various locations/sets used throughout Beverly Hills.
Last up is the theatrical trailer (2:33; HD).
VIDEO – 3.5/5
Beverly Hills Cop laughs and cons its way onto Blu-ray in a part murky/part nice looking 1080p high-definition. The picture, presented with a 1.78 aspect ratio, is mostly a mixed bag. In some scenes, especially darker ones, it’s a tad muddy with an abundant amount of noise but ill defined detail level while others, mainly in the lighter shots, come off a little better and even in a couple others look pretty damn brilliant. I did a quick comparison with my DVD and the biggest variation, outside of it being clearer, is I didn’t notice much in the way of dust marks (and there was plenty in the DVD version). So while this is a better transfer over the DVD it’s not a huge difference.
AUDIO – 3.25/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio track doesn’t exactly boast a kick ass soundtrack but certainly it’s suitable. The dialogue levels were alright though pretty flat as are some of the audio effects like gunfire but the music, including the catchy BHC theme, comes through each channel quite nicely. Compared with the DVD version, it’s more of a wash but having lossless audio to go with the HD picture makes for a good combo.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Overall, Beverly Hills Cop is quintessential 1980s action from the electronic score to the basic look and feel. It also was the perfect vehicle for a then on the rise Eddie Murphy who probably was at his best. The Blu-ray itself has a passable audio track, video that is certainly ahead of the curve compared with the DVD and features which are nice but nothing special.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2.