Plot: What’s it about?
With the amazing success of Beverly Hills Cop, we knew there would be a sequel. Of course, this was back in the day when they made sequels to movies that were actually successful (unlike today). Murphy, interestingly enough, wasn’t really interested in a sequel. As sequels are supposed to do, they must entertain the audience and give them something that they had not seen in the first installment. While the Bruckheimer/Simpson duo had gained even more momentum since the first (with the help of a little movie called Top Gun), they made Tony Scott the director of the second installment. Murphy had taken a chance at the script, but to no success. By his own admission, Scott essentially admits that he had no idea what he was doing on the movie as he had only experience with one other big-budget movie in the past (Top Gun). Still, the movie was a big money-maker and though not quite as original as the first, gave the audiene it’s money’s worth.
Now with the cast all returning (even Paul Reiser stops in for a cameo), we need someone else to die! Right? It so happens that Captain Bogomil (Ronny Cox) who had been Axel’s nemesis in the original, has just been murdered. He had been jogging and was getting a little too close to uncovering a gun smuggling scheme. It’s then that Axel has to head back out to Beverly Hills and re-establish his contacts with Rosewood and Taggert (the three of them made the movie work in the first place, so it would seem logical that they would all return to do the sequel). Giving a bit more insight into Rosewood’s (Judge Reinhold) character, it’s evident that he’s a real gun nut (ironically, the plot of the movie revolves around guns). The movie does take a bit of time to develop the relationship between the three, instead of us relying on Murphy’s laugh to get us through the movie. Look for Brigette Nielsen (at the time, Sylvester Stallone’s main squeeze) and Dean Stockwell to show up as well.
While Beverly Hills Cop II does deliver on most all the levels, it’s not the same as the first one. Tony Scott did a decent job directing, but as with most sequels, it can never equal the original. Odds are that if you liked the first, then you’ll have no problem enjoying the second one as well. The picture is a bit brighter, the sound a bit better and most all of the cast returns to give us more of what we want. Paramount has not included as many extras as the first one, but it’s not a bad package (especailly considering it’s a Paramount title, whose ‘Special Editions’ are few and far between). Fans of the movie will love it and though it might not be an “automatic buy” like Beverly Hills Cop, it’s on my shelf!
Video: How does it look?
Beverly Hills Cop II was directed by Tony Scott, who almost always uses a wider scope for his movies. Thus, the second installment is presented in a 2.35:1 which is indeed anamorphic. Looking a bit better, sharper that is, than it’s predecessor, the colors are very bright and vivid. Naturally, with the success of the original, the sequel must be more ambitious in as many aspects as it can be. This is. The level of detail is very good as are the black levels, which are nearly perfect. There is a slight bit of edge enhancement to be found, but it’s not distracting in the least. This is, far and away, the best the movie has looked. There are a few spots in the movie in which I spotted a bit of artifacting, but no compression errors are present. Quite simply…this looks great.
Audio: How does it sound?
Made in 1987, three years after the original, there is usually a curve for how movies sound. For example, movies made today will almost naturally always sound better than if that same movie were to have been made 15 years earlier. They just benefit from technology. That being said, the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is very good and very aggressive, even moreso than that of the original. Then again, Scott had just come off Top Gun which still stands as one of the reference points in home theater when it comes to sound. The range is very dynamic and the surrounds are used sparingly and rather effectively. Dialogue is very consistent and free of distortion as well. While not a top notch soundtrack, the 5.1 mix is better than that of any LaserDisc incarnation and vastly superior of that to the VHS tapes. Diasppointment should not be an issue here!
Supplements: What are the extras?
Not as feature-packed as the original (are they ever), Beverly Hills Cop II does feature some rather interesting supplements. First off is a 20 minute featurette entitled “Beverly Hills Cop II – The Phenomenon Continues”. Much like the one in the original, this features new interviews with the stars (minus Murphy whose footage is very dated) and tell of how the movie almost became a television series instead of a big budget sequel! This brings us to a lesser featurette entitled “Original Production Featurette” which I thought was highly original! Running about 7 minutes, this features Hugh Hefner and the inevitable comparisons drawn between 48 hours and Beverly Hills Cop (hint: Murphy). A deleted scene is also shown. Basically an extenstion of the break in scene (into the Beverly Hills Gun Club), I can see why it was deleted and really am unaware of why only one deleted scene was included. Still, it’s nice to have anyway. A Bob Seger music video of “Shakedown” is also included, this was the film’s signature song as “Axel F” was to the original. An original theatrical trailer shown in anamorphic widescreen is also included.