Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F – A Brilliant Return to the ’80s Classic with Eddie Murphy at His Best

Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy

Crafting modern sequels to classic ’80s or ’90s movies is an art, and “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F” has managed to get it right. This film smartly feels like a genuine continuation of the original trilogy, not an arbitrary reinvention or a toned-down version. With vintage Eddie Murphy set against a vintage soundtrack, the movie captures the essence of the series while introducing fresh elements.

The plot revolves around Axel Foley, whose defense attorney daughter is threatened unless she drops a case. This brings Foley back to Beverly Hills, now filled with influencers, to uncover the conspiracy.

The story, written by Will Beall, pits Foley against dirty cops, presenting a fresh challenge distinct from the original trilogy’s drug smugglers, gunrunners, and counterfeiters. The movie opens with a nostalgic homage to the original, reintroducing Axel in his Chevy Nova, setting the right tone from the start.

Eddie Murphy comfortably slips back into his role as Axel Foley, showing a character who is wiser and more tempered by age. While not as remarkable as his performance in “Dolemite Is My Name,” Murphy effectively brings back Foley’s savvy and streetwise detective skills.

Foley remains a masterful social engineer, though his overall attitude reflects his age in 2024. Importantly, Foley is never the butt of the joke and continues to lead the story, avoiding the pitfalls of some recent sequels.

Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy

Returning characters have modest roles but are reintroduced logically. Paul Reiser’s Jeffrey Friedman is now Foley’s exasperated superior officer, while Judge Reinhold’s Billy Rosewood and John Ashton’s John Taggart make brief but fitting appearances. Bronson Pinchot’s Serge also returns briefly but memorably. These familiar faces enhance the continuity and nostalgia of the series without overshadowing the new plot.

New characters like Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Detective Bobby Abbott and Taylour Paige as Foley’s daughter, Jane, bring fresh dynamics to the story. Gordon-Levitt is likable as a detective who respects Foley, while Paige delivers an assertive performance. However, her backstory feels a bit underdeveloped, making it harder to sympathize with her disdain for her father’s concern.

The action sequences in “Axel F” remain true to the ’80s and ’90s style, avoiding the over-the-top, video game-inspired aberrations of some modern action films. Director Mark Molloy nails the brief, creating combat and car chases that feel like an authentic continuation of the series.

The soundtrack, composed by Lorne Balfe, echoes the original films, maintaining the ’80s atmosphere. Despite a minor misstep with a Lil Nas X track, the movie’s tone, comedy, action, and synth riffs make “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F” a highly enjoyable return to form for Eddie Murphy.