Dedicated To Monique and Unique

For most of Beverly Hills Cop II’s runtime, Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) is faced with a logistical challenge. Foley needs to improvise his way through, and a clue is discovered. That’s repeated about six times – up to and including a Playboy Mansion visit. It’s absurd. And absolutely hilarious.

This is Eddie Murphy in his prime, an eccentric and comedic mastermind. Subtleties evident in Beverly Hills Cop fade into the background despite the sequel retreading ground. Credit where due, Beverly Hills Cop II finds a sensible reason to put Foley back in California, and adding an empathetic side to this character.

The hook now is another west coast, wealthy tycoon trying to hold on to his status. That’s everything in Beverly Hills, unlike Detroit where Foley sniffs out a low-rent credit card forgery scheme. There, people try anything to get by; in Cali, the rich only seek to become richer. Beverly Hills Cop II maintains that lifestyle comparison, if with far less visibility than the first movie. Per sequel rules, the goal here is to recreate rather than embellish.

Beverly Hills Cop II – like its predecessor – is about accepting new ways of doing things

With Tony Scott directing, Beverly Hills Cop II gains endless energy. It’s manic this time. A chase through public streets in a cement truck sends cars careening off the road, building the action and pace over the original film. This doesn’t come with a cost. Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) and Taggart (John Ashton) develop their characters, with Rosewood exhibiting fresh confidence, enamored by the chance to act out. Taggart ditches the by-the-book procedures, willing going along on Foley’s plan.

While a new Chief of Police, Harold Lutz (Allen Garfield) chastises all this trio do, there’s a sense in doing right. Foley brought that to the coast. No longer is there fear in taking down the powerful, although Foley still bends rules outside of the conservative comfort zone.

Beverly Hills Cop II swoons for Foley. It should. He’s a well built character with personality for days. Foley represents a ready-made movie fantasy, so smart and funny as to only be fictional, yet a perfect fit in this medium. He enjoys making people suspicious and uncomfortable, if always with purpose. Where there’s a shell, Foley will break someone free. Beverly Hills Cop II – like its predecessor – is about accepting new ways of doing things, going for it, and trying whatever might work. The rich act proper, the Detroit working class just want answers.

Video

A gorgeous transfer debuts with Beverly Hills Cop II’s overdue US Blu-ray release (included in a trilogy set only). Shot in Super35, grain structure thickens, if always under control via Paramount’s encode. Even with heavy smoke, grain stays visibly grain. This presentation is transparent to the film stock and unlike Beverly Hills Cop’s master, suspect filtering is absent.

Bringing extensive definition to the screen, facial texture shows en masse. Sharpness delivers exteriors in both Michigan and California with perfect detail. This is emboldened by natural color saturation. Primaries hit with force, accentuating Foley’s red Ferrari and palm trees when out west. Flesh tones hit their mark too. Being Tony Scott, sunsets drop orange in bunches. It’s beautiful.

Emboldened contrast provides depth, with accurate (yet cautious) black levels. Even without pure black, shadows do not succumb to noise. And when featuring pure black, detail holds and avoids crush. Imagery keeps its perkiness strong. Consistency like this is appreciated.

Audio

Generally a stereo mix, a few surround pieces enter this DTS-HD track. An occasional bullet will move from the fronts, the score widely separates, and an active strip club employs heavy ambiance. However, the stereo split is audibly more aggressive, adding to the chaos as Rosewood drives the cement truck. Smashing metal pans across the speakers with no opportunity missed.

It’s also a well managed, pristine mix. Fidelity gives dialog pleasing crispness. Even stock gunshots lack a muffled trait common to ‘80s action. This is helped with unexpectedly tight LFE activity. Both the music and shootouts push the sub, ensuring constant weight.

Extras

Nothing. Paramount doesn’t even transfer the DVD features.

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 II
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

Full of the same energy and wit, Beverly Hills Cop II loses only the lightest subtext in exchange for more (and bolder) action.

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