Beverly Hills Cop [Blu-Ray] Martin Brest

Beverly Hills Cop [Blu-Ray] Martin Brest
Race is only explicitly invoked a few times in Beverly Hills Cop (1984), but it lingers unspoken throughout, giving the film a sense of danger. Since rooting for the underdog is so essential to comedy, it seems strange that Beverly Hills Cop launched a wave of star vehicles like Fletch, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and seemingly dozens of other less successful films in which a cocky, moderately attractive comedian gets to be the smartest guy in the room as a cop or private investigator. Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy), a Detroit cop in Beverly Hills, is virtually the only black character in the film, and this is the reason why there's still genuine electricity to the scenes where he talks his way into posh hotels and classy banquet halls in search of the villain who assassinated his friend. If Axel (and, for that matter, Fletch and Ace Ventura) has a trump card, it's that he doesn't particularly care what anyone thinks, and relishes using his ethnic "otherness" as a way of intimidating anyone in his way (in a scene where he pretends to be a gay male prostitute with an STD to a Maitre d', he becomes so "other" that the Maitre d' seems to regard him as a walking time bomb). One of the biggest hits of the '80s, and the peak of Eddie Murphy's superstardom, Beverly Hills Cop's arrival on Blu-Ray proves that it isn't as funny as you remember. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and originally conceived as a vehicle for Sylvester Stallone, it's almost as concerned with intrigue and violent action as comedy, and years of copycat detective comedies have muted the already formulaic film's impact, not to mention the two unremarkable sequels it spawned. Still, with modern-day Murphy content to waste his talent on the likes of Imagine That or that tired animated franchise where he keeps talking about "Makin' waffles!," revisiting Beverly Hills Cop is a refreshing reminder of what a potent and unpredictable screen presence he once was. Then there's that Harold Faltermeyer score, which should, objectively speaking, be terrible, but just try getting it out of your head. The forgettable Blu-Ray extras all come from a 2002 DVD release, including commentary by director Martin Brest and several documentaries. Conspicuously absent: Eddie Murphy. (Paramount)