Thursday, November 16, 2006

Beverly Hills Cop

Beverly Hills Cop, also known as the only good movie Eddie Murphy made besides Coming to America, was in many ways a groundbreaking film that created new genres and showed how far an R-rated movie starring an African-American could go. When it was released in 1984, it became the highest grossing R-rated movie ever, and it stayed at the top spot until the release of Passion of the Christ 20 years later. It was the first of its kind, an action-comedy, and also paved the way for all the straight white cop-wacky black cop movies that would follow, a number of which would star Eddie Murphy himself.

Murphy's Axel Foley is a Detroit cop who heads to Los Angeles to solve the murder of his best friend. The film shows the glitz and glamour of life in LA in the 80's, particularly when Axel is visiting his friend in fashion and runs into Serge. Another scene that stands out to me is when Axel is walking down the street with "Neutron Dance" playing in the background, and he passes someone in a red leather jumpsuit and snickers to himself. Ironically, the suit closely resembles the outfit Eddie Murphy wears during his performance of Delirious. The fact that the villain is a major player in the cocaine trade is also typical of the 80's, when cocaine reached its peak in popularity.

Beverly Hills Cop would mark Eddie Murphy's rise to superstardom, establishing him as the premier actor/comedian of the 80's. Before Murphy was cast, Sylvester Stallone was in line for this role and the movie would have been a more straightforward action movie. Had that happened, the face of film would have changed quite a bit. Without Murphy's Axel Foley, it is possible that action-comedy films like Rush Hour and Starsky and Hutch might not have been possible.

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