Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F

Axel Foley must return to Beverly Hills 40 years since his first visit. This time, his daughter Jane’s (Taylor Paige) life is in danger and he must get back together with his old partners, Taggart and Rosewood, to uncover the conspiracy in “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F”

Laura's Review: B-

Forty years after the original and thirty years after the much maligned "Beverly Hills Cop III," Australian commercial director Mark Molloy makes his feature debut by reuniting the original cast for a big blast of Axel Foley nostalgia crafted by writers Will Beall (Bad Boys: Ride or Die") and "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent's" Tom Gormican & Kevin Etten.    Glenn Frey’s ‘The Heat Is On’ over the film’s opening credits dump us right back into the 1980s, yet this Axel, while still up to his usual outrageous antics, has also grown a bit wiser, his strained relationship with his daughter a newfound vulnerability in the present.

While Axel’s making Mike sweat with tales of his great grandfather’s role in the Negro Hockey League with the Winnipeg Black Boys, his daughter’s taking a pro bono case for a drug kingpin’s nephew, Sam Enriquez, being framed for the killing of a cop she believes was crooked.  Billy, now a P.I., is also on the case, having located an SD card from a hidden camera in the car Enriquez was found in next to the body with the weapon in his lap.  But there’s a dirtier cop higher up in the food chain and John Taggart (John Ashton) believes in Captain Grant (Kevin Bacon in sleazebag mode), despite his former partner Billy’s claims.  It’s Grant’s hired thugs who dangle Jane’s car off the side of a parking garage on a tow line with her in it and Axel sees him for what he is as soon as he meets the man in the Gucci shoes.

But Axel to the rescue is the very type of behavior Jane hates, his focus on his job coming at the cost of his family.  Having just commandeered a garbage truck in Detroit, Axel picks a fight with a meter maid and hijacks her vehicle, a stunt that lands him in jail being questioned by Det. Bobby Abbott (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who just happens to be Jane’s ex and who ends up becoming Axel’s partner in L.A.  He’ll end up arrested too, for his trouble, when the duo end up stealing an LAPD helicopter Bobby, a former pilot, is ill equipped to fly.  Meanwhile, Billy, who was supposed to pick up Axel at the airport, hasn’t been seen since he went to surveil a shipyard.

The corruption plot is just the underpinning for this group of actors to get back together and they’re all clearly relishing the reunion (Bronson Pinchot’s Serge also reappears to get them access to a mansion next door to Grant’s drug operation, featuring a hilarious cameo by former SNLer Nasim Pedrad as its ditsy, wealthy owner).  Murphy may have mellowed a bit, but he slips right back into Foley’s skin and I’d forgotten how much fun this character can be, something Jane finally relents to as well – she may resist his parental entreaties but cannot resist his jokes.  Paige and Gordon-Levitt enjoy nice chemistry, their romance clearly not over, more material for Axel to work with.  Watch too for Luis Guzman as Enriquez’s outlandish uncle, located singing in a club by Axel and Bobby.

Molloy, a fan of the original two films, was intent on filming everything in camera to recapture the original feel, including that bonkers helicopter escape.  “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” composer Lorne Balfe provides a twist on the original film’s theme.  Detroit’s urban winter is contrasted with sunshine in a Beverly Hills largely defined by a multitude of miniature accessory dogs.  “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F” isn’t anything original, nor will it be particularly memorable, but it’s fun spending time with the old gang in the moment.

Robin's Review: B

Axel Foley must return to Beverly Hills 40 years since his first visit. This time, his daughter Jane’s (Taylor Paige) life is in danger and he must get back together with his old partners, Taggart and Rosewood, to uncover a police conspiracy in “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F”

1984. That is the year we met a very young Axel Foley when he went to Beverly Hills to kick ass and stop crime. Axel is a lot older now but he is still the same sassy character we met oh those many years ago. He is just slower and, during those action scenes, seemed to wince more with the effort. But, the sass is still there and it is harnessed by the formula used for the fourth Axel Foley yarn in the franchise.

You will spend a good bit of time putting names to the faces that are several decades older than when we first met. And there are quite a few – Paul Reiser as Axel’s form colleague, now his boss and soon to retire, Judge Reinhold and John Cabot as Rosewood and Taggart and Bronson Pinchot as the unforgettable Serge.

Of course, there are newcomers to the franchise with Kevin Bacon as corrupt cop Captain Grant, Taylor Paige as Axel’s long-estranged daughter, Jane, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as good cop Bobby (and Jane’s former significant other). This allows the stories to be numbered and catalogued.

Story One is the family tale with Axel trying to repair the damage he caused to his relationship with Jane. She has had nothing to do with him for years but now her life is in danger and she has to accept his help to keep from being killed. Two is about Jane and Bobby, their past and possible future.

The third leg in the BHC4 saga has Axel, Jane and Bobby joining forces, with Rosewood and Taggart, to put a stop to the deadly corruption and crimes led by Captain Grant. Finally, kind of like an epilogue, they must save Billy Rosewood from the bad guys.

We have been here before several times and things familiar play out all along the way. The music, from the original, is still very much in play throughout. The arriving-in-BH montage is very much the same as it was 40 years ago - and different with its 2024 flair of silliness.

For those of us who remember the early days of “Beverly Hills Cop,” this is like comfort food in its nostalgia of a younger Axel Foley, We are all getting older and Axel is, too.

Netflix will release "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F" for streaming on 7/3/24.