Starring: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton
Director: Tony Scott
Running Time: 98 mins
Beverly Hills Cop II is an American film and the sequel to Beverly Hills Cop. After returning from Detroit, Axel and his fellow cops scour Beverly Hills to investigate the near-fatal shooting of the police chief and a series of other crimes with a connection.
We say it all the time, but the truth remains that comedy sequels are really hard to get right, and it shows again in Beverly Hills Cop II. While it’s by no means a bad film, it suffers from trying to live up to its predecessor, and yet doesn’t manage to have that same spark of originality that made the original so memorable, suffering from a slightly lighter atmosphere that lands this in a more generic cop comedy category than the grittier and more engaging first film.
However, if there’s one thing that hasn’t changed between the first and second films, it’s Eddie Murphy’s performance. His energy and wit was the leading light of the first film, and it’s no different second time around, with a fantastically loud, confident and hugely charismatic turn as Axel Foley, making the character even more likable as he squares off against the bad guys and the incompetence of the Beverly Hills Police Department.
In fact, Eddie Murphy alone easily makes up for over half of the film’s best laughs throughout, all the while keeping a little bit of the crime intrigue alive with that very confident and incisive performance throughout, helping the film to stay alive when it’s trying to be a little more serious and gritty with its crime story.
Alongside Murphy, Judge Reinhold is a fairly entertaining sidekick once again, along with a collection of bumbling police officers that make for a few laughs from time to time, all of which contributes to the overall lighter feeling of the film, and perhaps cheapening its attempts to work as a slightly more serious and intriguing crime story in the same way as the first.
For me, that’s where this film really falls down. It’s a pleasant watch, and fans of the first film should see it for more hilarity from Eddie Murphy, but it can’t compare on the same level when it comes to intrigue and genuine entertainment beyond simple comedy.
The first film managed to make you laugh while keeping you fully engrossed in its story, and you wanted to see whether the cops could actually get to the bottom of the mystery and bring down the bad guys, leading to that hugely memorable shootout at the end, whereas the sequel doesn’t have that same intrigue, and any part of the story that spins off as a result of that just isn’t that enthralling in all honesty.
Overall, I did enjoy Beverly Hills Cop II, what with its strong central performance and overall light-hearted humour, but I can’t say it stands anywhere near the original, failing to grab you in the same way on a deeper level of intrigue, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.1.