Five Pounds of Undigested Meat

Axel Foley deals in stolen cigarettes when in Detroit. That’s a high-dollar, high-crime gig in the north east. Pulled out west, a truck full of cigarettes is replaced by an international cocaine deal.

Beverly Hills Cop lays on the cultural divergence, but with an intelligent flair. Under the opening credits, a melting pot of personalities and types casually hang out on street corners or porches. Factory workers weld, getting by on a middle class salary. Around them is a crumbling city infrastructure.

Pulled to California after a murder, Foley (Eddie Murphy) drives on Beverly Hills streets, under a perpetual white cloud. One exception aside, Foley is the only black man in the entire city. No one stops to talk to one another, instead passing on the street, smugly, flaunting wealth. It’s comedic, but genuine too. With only visuals, Beverly Hills Cop produces evidence of inequality and racial disparity, all within the ‘80s economic bubble.

Beverly Hills Cop is of two worlds, divided by wealth, pulled together because one cop doesn’t fear money

Rather than draw this as fish-out-of-water, Foley breaks down proper channels with endless charisma; no one else could play this like Murphy. He’s witty, likable, and charming. It’s not so much his inadvertent partners Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) and Taggart (John Ashton) act stiff, rather they approach with measured caution – can’t have the upper echelon tax bracket angry. Cynic Taggart knows the uselessness in investigating the rich. Foley never had that sensibility instilled in him via Detroit.

Given energy by Harold Faltermeyer’s snappy, catchy Axel F. electronic theme, Beverly Hills Cop’s enthusiasm matches Foley’s own willingness to do right. There’s no fear in approaching Victor Maitland (Steven Berkoff) when this arrogant art buyer is a suspect. Process only delays things when dealing with the affluent, so Foley takes a working vacation, tracking down Maitland’s empire. Those drugs Maitland deals? They keep Foley’s home state broken.

In a decade swarming with buddy cop comedies, Beverly Hills Cop swims in buddy cop cliches, but breaks free because of these characters. When Beverly Hills Cop ends, the main trio bond over a mutual acceptance and understanding. Foley’s street smarts (and angry boss back home) allow him to mingle successfully in a place unlike his own. Beverly Hills Cop is of two worlds, divided by wealth, pulled together because one cop doesn’t fear money. Or, doesn’t associate money with power. He senses guilt, where those living among the rich assume all is okay. It’s clever culture shock, and with Murphy in the lead, a genuine comedy classic.

Video

Alongside the sequels (finally seeing US Blu-ray), Paramount gives Beverly Hills Cop a new 4K master in this box set. Initial impressions lean toward the positive. Impressions will stay there through the runtime, if dwindling slightly. For nearly each positive, there’s a negative in this new presentation.

As an example, grain seems pure and pristine. Encoding deals with the ‘80s grit, losing no clarity to digital noise. Subtly though, things begin to look amiss. A close-up causes grain to stick and hover. Small motion leads to smearing. It seems low grade filtering plays a role, enough to be noticed by sensitive eyes.

Then color draws some ire. While primaries flush from saturation, flesh tones take an awkward, chalky hue. It’s distracting in spots, yet other scenes pass without issue. Beverly Hills Cop slants toward the digital side rather than natural film hues. This becomes evident during the mansion raid where flowers unusually glow around the grounds.

If anything comes away unscathed, that’s contrast. Black levels bring their heft, with strong, consistent contrast helping to bring depth. Note too, even through the suspect grain, a visible jump in resolution creates better detail. The image looks clean. Definition keeps fine detail intact. An overall improvement from Paramount’s previously edgy Blu-ray, misgivings aside.

Audio

Going with DTS-HD, this is primarily a stereo track. The 5.1 printed on the package is more a suggestion. So be it. Beverly Hills Cop holds potent range, blaring “The Heat is On” when the movie starts. Clarity gives the music kick, along with overall fidelity. A pleasing, soft low-end drives the beat as required.

Stereos split wide, tracing gunshots. The opening car chase offers a few examples, including a bus spinning out. Tires squeal through the front soundstage when it passes. While limited to action, this track is almost certainly true to Beverly Hills Cop’s original mixing.

Extras

For this edition, Paramount digs up two deleted scenes lasting just under four minutes. Then, they dress up promotional interviews from ‘84 with new graphics, letting those run for under seven minutes. Kudos for adding some pizazz. The disc is otherwise the same as the previous release, with director Martin Best’s commentary in the lead.

That’s followed by a fun (if now dated) half-hour retrospective, Beverly Hills Cop: The Phenomenon Begins. A Glimpse Inside the Casting Process details Stallone’s involvement, followed by another piece on the music. A location map is what it says, linked to even more featurettes on how the set designers did their part. There’s a trailer for completeness sake too.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Beverly Hills Cop
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
5

Movie

Energized by Eddie Murphy, Beverly Hills Cop entertains while simultaneously bringing the ’80s inequality into the story.

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User Review
5 (2 votes)

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