The original Beverly Hills Cop is a movie that continues to entertain and holds up well over time. With a change of director, Beverly Hills Cop II sets out to try to replicate the experience of the original. But, it ends up with mixed results.
After a rather straight-forward story for the original, Beverly Hills Cop II’s story feels a bit more convoluted and that’s not a good thing. After Chief Bogomil (Ronny Cox) is shot, Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) returns to Beverly Hills to help investigate the shooting and work a case that is connected – the “Alphabet Crimes” which revolves around a series of robberies. Foley teams up again with the reluctant Taggart (John Ashton) and the over-zealous Rosewood (Judge Reinhold). Foley is again up to his antics which were probably a lot funnier in the late 80s than they are now.
Beverly Hills Cop II is clearly a product of the 80s. It is reflected in things like the new commissioner in Beverly Hills, Harold Lutz (Allen Garfield) who is abusive, loud and hard-headed – reminding me a lot of Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson from Die Hard. One wonders how he came to be in the position of power he is in. But, worse yet is that the part is written so over-the-top that it is remarkably terrible, even by 80s standards. Staples of 80s films like cars exploding when they crash are also on full display in this movie.
There are bits strewn throughout the film where Foley shows off and narrates how he does clever tricks Examples being the MacGuyveresque use of gum wrapper foil and gum to defeat an alarm system; and also how he uses glue to get finger prints off a matchbook. This all comes off as cheesy and forced. These scenes make the movie feel older than it should.
The movie, now helmed by Tony Scott, looks like a Tony Scott film – this is a good thing. Scott doesn’t seem to be able make the movie feel like one cohesive piece of storytelling though. The worse example of this is the Rosewood character that goes a bit too far off the cliff to be believable as a real human character – especially at the end when he becomes Rambo mixed with Dirty Harry and is completely out of character. Yes, I know they are playing it up for comedy, but it does not work.
Gil Hill is the best thing of all the Beverly Hills Cop films.
Harold Faltermeyer’s score continues to be epic.
The shootout at the end makes for a great way to compare and contrast 80s action movies to modern day movies. Even though the movie is rated R, the gun violence is a purely bloodless affair. Compared with something like John Wick and the differences are tremendous in the visceral way action is done nowadays – maybe not for the better either.
Beverly Hills Cop II definitely has not aged as well as the first one. And while this movie is not as good as the original, it is still a fun movie – and a nice way to experience what action movies were like in the late 80s.
Watched at home, streamed on Paramount+.