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A Nostalgic 80s-esque Comfort Film — Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F (Film Review)

3 min read
Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop Axel F

Legacy sequels to beloved 80s-90s franchises are increasingly common in the current Hollywood landscape. The Matrix ResurrectionsScream and Top Gun: Maverick perhaps being the most notable of recent. However, announcements of such sequels aren’t always met with audience anticipation. It’s acceptable to say the Beverly Hills franchise was not in desperate need of a new instalment, but can the Netflix-distributed flick justify its existence?

In short, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F is a nostalgic, 80s-esque comfort film that captures the magic of the original. Axel F showcases our Detroit detective’s resilience in a fast-firing love letter to 80s Comedy/Action films. On top of this, translating the characters and story to a modern environment seamlessly. Eddie Murphy’s (Shrek) wit and charm as Detective Axel Foley is as loveable as ever. Said charm allows Axel F to feel incredibly and positively retro, from enthralling cop shoot-outs to wisecracking detectives acting on a hunch to the beat of memorable themes.

Whilst the majority of praise rightfully belongs to the stars of the original films, the fresh additions to Beverly Hills are perhaps what allows this Comedy/Action to flourish. The inclusion of Taylour Paige (The Toxic Avenger) as Axel’s estranged daughter Jane lends a delightfully fresh dynamic. Exploration of their relationship is directed with care throughout the film, never unnecessarily intruding on the over-arching plot. Just as comedic relief never distracts from such a dynamic but instead enunciates their lack of connection to one another. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s (The Dark Knight Rises) involvement as Detective Abbot aids such scenes, often acting as a third party with an outside perspective. The tremendous quality of such an emotional journey was rather unexpected going into this new release, yet stands out as a highlight once the credits roll.

Appreciation for the 2024 instalment may stem from how natural the story progression feels. Legacy sequels can often be overly ambitious, equally, they can over-rely on nostalgia. However, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F measures a near-perfect recipe for success by balancing both. Whilst references to past are garnished throughout, the film recognises the roots of its success, never straying too far away, but enough to feel new. The comedic partnership of Eddie Murphy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt breathes life into Beverly Hills for near all 115 minutes. With cinematographer Edu Grau (Buried) maximising the delivery of Murphy’s proficient comedic abilities, often capturing quick-witted glances down the camera lens following zingy one-liners.

To conclude, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F is an easy, comforting and nostalgic watch. Whilst not necessarily inventive of the genre, it knows how to achieve recognition as a crowd pleaser. It adapts a perhaps outdated genre to modern cinema with ease. Swaggering with a familiarly loud personality, it’s the sort of film your Dad watches whilst he reminisces about how brilliant Eddie Murphy is. Moviegoers that click ‘play’ anticipating just half the quality of the original films will be delighted with this latest instalment.

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F is streaming on Netflix now.