What's that wisecracking young black guy (Eddie Murphy) in that beat-up Chevy Nova doing in lily-white Beverly Hills? He's Axel Foley, a Detroit detective who's been sent on involuntary vacation because he refuses to drop his intention of avenging his friend's murder. Warned by Beverly Hills police chief Ronny Cox to stay out of trouble, Foley nonetheless dogs the trail of above-the-law Steven Berkoff, the British crime czar who was responsible for the murder of Foley's friend. With the help of sympathetic local cops Judge Reinhold and John Ashton and lady friend Lisa Eilbacher, Foley attempts to corner Berkoff in his mansion, which leads to a wild slapsticky shootout. When Clint Eastwood turned down Beverly Hills Cop, it ended up in the hands of Eddie Murphy, who with only two films under his belt was the hottest film star of 1984. The film enhanced Murphy's already lofty reputation, and made a mint at the boxoffice; later on, it prompted a mad rush on rental stores when the videocassette version became available. Beverly Hills Cop also served as a leg-up for the career of Bronson Pinchot, who has a screamingly funny cameo as a fey, weirdly accented art gallery clerk.
By the time of Beverly Hills Cop II, Detroit cop Foley has seemingly smoothed out his differences with his Beverly Hills superior Bogomil (Ronny Cox), but there's trouble ahead for both men, not to mention two other holdovers from the first Cop film, officers Rosewood and Taggart. The "untouchable" heavy this time out is masterminding a series of violent robberies, committed by leather-freak hoods Dean Stockwell and Brigitte Nielsen. Unaccumstomed to this nastiness, Bogomil entreats street-smart Foley to help find the miscreants. But mean-spirited chief of police Lutz (Allen Garfield) will brook no interference from outsiders-especially the profanely insouciant Mr. Foley.
The third entry in the popular Beverly Hills Cop series finds Foley returning yet again to Southern California, this time on the trail of two car thieves turned murderers. As he teams up again with L.A. cop Billy Rosewood (Reinhold), Foley's investigation leads him to Wonder World, a theme park that is also the front for a major counterfeiting ring. More action and less wit are the trademarks of this film, which features Murphy dishing out his usual wisecracks, but with slightly less flair and freshness than in the original film. Alan Young plays the old man who runs the amusement park, an interesting setting that still adds little to the tired premise.
Hal Erickson and Don Kaye