Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F: Critics split on Eddie Murphy's new film (2024)

ByNoor Nanji,@NoorNanji,

Culture reporter

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F: Critics split on Eddie Murphy's new film (1)Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F: Critics split on Eddie Murphy's new film (2)Getty Images

Critics have given a mixed response to the fourth outing of Beverly Hills Cop, which sees Eddie Murphy and other cast members from the original 1984 film reunite.

Many reviews agreed Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F inspired feelings of nostalgia, with Murphy back in the iconic role of Detective Axel Foley 40 years after the first film smashed box office records.

In a three-star review, USA Today called the film "a true comfort-food throwback".

But The Guardian gave it just two stars, arguing there was "little energy to enliven their formulaic reunion".

The original Beverley Hills Cop made Murphy a superstar and led to two sequels over the following decade and a chart-topping soundtrack.

In the new film, released on Wednesday on Netflix, Foley is back on the beat in Beverly Hills and his estranged daughter's life is threatened.

The Independent's Clarisse Loughrey awarded it two stars, writing: "The film has the confidence to poke fun at the franchise’s infamously bad third entry, yet comes to the table with nothing to prove, nothing to say, and nothing for Murphy to work with."

She continued: "It has landed at Netflix, with a bloated $150m [£118m] budget, hot on the tail of Bad Boys: Ride or Die.

"Bad Boys owes a large chunk of its existence to Beverly Hills Cop, and yet that franchise has succeeded in maturing where this one has certainly failed. A lot of it has to do with the simple acknowledgement that time has passed."

There was more enthusiasm for the film from USA Today's Brian Truitt, who described it as "a confident fourth outing" in the action-comedy franchise.

Truitt praised the film's classic elements, including "retro Bob Seger and Pointer Sisters tunes, that signature Detroit Lions varsity jacket and the impressive commitment to on-duty ridiculousness".

"And while it's a very modern release – via streaming rather than movie theatres – everything else leans pretty old school," he noted.

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F: Critics split on Eddie Murphy's new film (3)Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F: Critics split on Eddie Murphy's new film (4)Netflix

In the LA Times, Glenn Whipp was similarly positive, commenting that from as early as the opening credits, "you realise that everyone involved understood the assignment".

"The solution to creating a new Beverly Hills Cop movie was to simply make the first one all over again."

He continued: "Murphy is effective, even if the tone has shifted from a brash swagger to nostalgic cheer. The heat is gone."

"While it’s easy to view Axel F as a calculated cash grab, it’s clear that Murphy possesses an affection for the title character."

Original cast members Judge Reinhold and John Ashton have joined Murphy for the fourth instalment.

The film also stars Taylour Paige, as Foley's daughter Jane, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as his new partner, detective Bobby Abbott.

However, Robert Daniels at The New York Times criticised the film, writing that Murphy "struggles to revive the moribund action-comedy franchise".

"Murphy returns with the same Detroit Lions jacket, his familiar chuckle and his movie star grin.

"But there’s little to smile about in this painfully lacklustre retread desperately trying to justify its own existence," he added.

Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian agreed, adding: "There’s something a bit tired and formulaic about this further go-around for his iconic Detroit cop Axel Foley.

He continued: "It’s still funny when Murphy does his “white people” voice, once a staple of his stand-up days. But like Murphy’s Coming 2 America, this feels a bit stale, and a mature guy like him can’t play the subversive anarchist comedy energy in the way he did.

"Murphy could still play comedy or drama with the right script, but this presumes a great deal on the audience’s brand loyalty."

The latest film is the first time Murphy has reprised the role, which paved the way to his stardom, in 30 years.

He was in his 20s when he shot the first film, and is now 63, with a string of films including The Nutty Professor, Shrek and Norbit under his belt.

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F: Critics split on Eddie Murphy's new film (5)Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F: Critics split on Eddie Murphy's new film (6)Netflix

In a four-star review, the Telegraph's Robbie Collin said: "Murphy’s comedy is stuck in the 80s – and that’s fine.

"First-time director Mark Molloy and his team uncannily recreate the original film’s rhythm, texture and spirit," he said, adding that "Murphy is on bright, lively form, and seems to be enjoying the experience".

The Hollywood trade publications broadly approved of the first new instalment in three decades, with Deadline's Pete Hammond commenting: "Thanks to Murphy and the cast reunion, [the film] is great fun and moves like a rocket.

"It should have been in theatres where it could have thrived, but Netflix subscribers will love it."

Variety's Owen Gleiberman suggested the film "might tickle your nostalgia bone", but added: "Of course, the difference between then and now is that in the 40 years since Beverly Hills Cop, there have been 400 action comedies spun out of these same tropes. Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F is just one more of them."

Ultimately, the film will "satisfy diehard fans," concluded The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney.

"But the shortage of fresh perspective, the absence of excitement and the slavishness with which the filmmakers stick to the original formula in one unimaginative action sequence after another makes the sequel seem past its expiration date."

Television

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Eddie Murphy

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Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F: Critics split on Eddie Murphy's new film (2024)

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