Plot: What’s it about?
Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) has been through a lot of tight spots, but a recent shootout in a chop-shop has left him quite shaken. In front of his own eyes, his boss was gunned down and with his last breath, the man asked Axel to avenge his death. So now Axel is trying to make good on his promise, but the trail of evidence has led him to a most unusual place, the popular amusement park Wonder World. This park happens to be located in Beverly Hills, so he looks up his old friend Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) and learns that a lot has changed, including Billy’s status in the department. As Axel checks out Wonder World, he meets the owner “Uncle” Dave Thornton and his head of security Ellis DeWald, whom he already recognizes. But Axel knows him not from this amusement park, but from the chop-shop incident, as Ellis was the man who killed his boss in cold blood. Now Axel has to come up with some proof that Ellis was involved in that crime, as well as expose some additional crimes that could be taking place in the park, all while trying to stay alive and test the romantic waters.
A lot of times, fans of a movie franchise will purchase all the installments of that series, if just to have the entire collection. But with Beverly Hills Cop III, I think even the biggest fans of the first two pictures will probably skip this third volume. Yes, Beverly Hills Cop III has garnered a reputation as a bad, bad movie over time, but can it be that miserable? Although it is not even close to being one of the worst flicks of all time, Beverly Hills Cop III is pretty lame and when compared to the previous installments, shrivels up even more. It is hard to say what went wrong with this picture, as Eddie Murphy and other cast members returned, but the proof is in the pudding, if you take a second or two to look it all over. The writing is often thin, sucker punch type stuff and that holds back the actors, while John Landis (Animal House, Kentucky Fried Movie) simply couldn’t supply the right kind of direction, so the ship sank. I am not saying to avoid this movie at all costs, but even for fans of the previous Beverly Hills Cop flicks, I think this one is a rental at best, especially given the lack of bonus materials here.
As we’ve seen time and again, Eddie Murphy can spin comedic gold when given the chance, but even he couldn’t salvage this stinker. I sort of expected him to just improvise new, better lines in some cases, but he seems to have stayed with the written lines, perhaps due to lack of passion for the project. No, Murphy doesn’t seem as into the character as he did in the prior installments and that also decreases the picture’s impact, I think. But then again, even if Murphy enhanced his performance and added some good lines himself, I doubt it would have been enough to bring this one back from the dead. I have to admit, it is cool to see him back within the role a third time, but I think this film paints a bad finale to the series, without a doubt. Other films with Murphy include Vampire in Brooklyn, Bowfinger, The Nutty Professor, Boomerang, Trading Places, and The Golden Child. The cast also includes Judge Reinhold (The Santa Clause, Vice Versa), Theresa Randle (Girl 6, Bad Boys), and Hector Elizondo (Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries).
Video: How does it look?
Beverly Hills Cop is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is an excellent visual presentation, with minimal flaws to report and as expected, it looks the best out of three films in the series. The print is clean and shows no serious problems, while edge enhancement is kept to a minimum also, which is good news. I found the colors to be vivid and never flawed, flesh tones were natural, and black levels seemed rich and refined throughout. I knew this would be a good looking effort and as per usual, Paramount delivers.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included Dolby Digital 5.1 option has some good moments, but in the end, stands as a basic, run of the mill track. It starts off well enough, but unless there is action on screen, the audio stays kind of flat and in the front channels. So the action driven scenes have some juice, but there isn’t much in terms of ambient, atmospheric presence. The dialogue is crisp and always clear however, so this is by no means an ineffective track. This disc also includes an English 2.0 surround option, a French language track, and English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a featurette with cast & crew interviews, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer.