[Un]Wonder World

The first 20 minutes or so of Beverly Hills Cop III seems like this trilogy-maker will be okay. It’s a fast-paced shootout, opening with a Diana Ross-based dance number with the right amount of energy and kitsch. The action that follows pairs well to the series, and ends with an emotional send-off.

Yet, there’s an exact moment where Beverly Hills Cop III begins to collapse. Back in Los Angeles and chasing counterfeiters, Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) begins chatting to a police intercom. The joke riffs on obnoxious customer service calls, the droning voice telling Foley to press buttons to speak Finnish. The gag takes too long, is out of place, and frustrating. That precedes a truly awful action sequence on a Ferris wheel, with obvious stunt doubles, pitiful composites, and sloppy editing. It’s all downhill from there.

As the story goes, Murphy and director John Landis didn’t gel on set, despite coming together for the classic, Coming to America. Landis pointed the camera at Murphy, asked him to be funny – exactly the same technique as their prior collaboration – and Murphy just… didn’t. It’s not that Beverly Hills Cop 3 isn’t ever funny. It has moments. A one-liner here or there and Murphy’s ability to distract do still contain the series’ aura. The rest is trying, even desperate.

For instance, Detroit art gallery employee Serge (Bronson Pinchot), a terrible gay archetype (but memorable character), from the first Beverly Hills Cop returns. Now he’s somehow a weapons dealer in Los Angeles, and in an excruciatingly long foreshadowing sequence (where you can practically here Landis screaming from the background for Murphy to do something funny), Serge shows off a blinding, personal protection flashlight. Then, a gun, complete with a microwave, CD player, and radio. It’s the worst kind of comedic reach.

Gone too is John Ashton, a critical blow, replaced by the capable Hector Elizondo, but who is unfortunately stuck with the same basic character framework (playing alongside Judge Reinhold) but will less influence on the story. Stuffed with action, the number of dead inside a Disney Land-like theme park reaches absurd numbers, a means to likely offset the meandering, increasingly implausible plot from attracting too much attention. Smart, but not enough to save this awful sequel that joins Jaws 3, Superman III, and other notorious “threes” in cinematic ruin.

Video

A stellar bit of work from Paramount is a refreshing change of pace for the studio, even if they waste the work on Beverly Hills Cop III. Oh well. We’re here for texture and detail, of which this transfer has mountains of. Sensational clarity exists behind a wafer thin film stock, producing little grain overall. Therefore, the encode doesn’t have any issues, and the mastering doesn’t tinker with the source.

Also splendid? The color. It’s rich, nuanced, and bright. Saturation remains high, and flesh tones glow without overstepping boundaries. Axl’s vibrantly red car is a consistent stunner.

Beverly Hills Cop III sports fantastic contrast too. It’s bright, vivid, and flush with depth. Black levels properly accentuate. The dimensionality makes this all look new. Not just the master, but the entire movie (aside from the technology and fashion).

Audio

Sloppy low-end causes some problems in this DTS-HD mix. A train rolls by in the opening frames, the throbbing engines sounding murky and loose. The bass improves when accentuating gunfire, adding a pleasing jolt to each blast.

In 5.1, the mix offers plenty of ambiance and motion inside Wonder World. Kids laughing, rides passing by, and underground, the sounds bounce around the soundstage flawlessly.

Extras

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Beverly Hills Cop 3
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
2

Movie

Beverly Hills Cop III tanked the series after two successful entries, and it hasn’t turned into a forgotten classic after 30 years.

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User Review
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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 33 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:


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