Patience rewarded. As expected, Hulu finally came through and made this one available. Here it is, the one, the original, Beverly Hills Cop, starring Eddie Murphy. This came out in 1984. People, that’s 32 years ago. How time does fly. It’s from Paramount Pictures (distributor), and it set a standard of sorts in its time. It answers the question, “What happens when a street-wise cop from a rough and tumble rust-belt city comes to tweak noses in overly swank Beverly Hills?” We find out.
First a rough outline. I do not believe, considering the 32 intervening years, that I am giving away the plot. You know how this is going to go even before the credits have rolled. Here Detroit Police Detective Axel Foley (Murphy) is working to scam some dudes hoping to purchase supposedly stolen cigarettes. And this is where the lessons of the street come into play. The price for the shipment is $5000. They offer $2000, and the deal is done, and the dudes get the cuffs. Foley knows that if he accepts $2000 they’re going to know he’s a cop, and they’re going to pop him right there. It’s no deal.
Too bad for Foley. He hasn’t cleared his scam with his chief, and a police cruiser happens onto the scene and spoils the party. There follows a wild chase involving a dozen squad cars and a tandem trailer stocked with cigs. It’s a riot.
Back at the squad room Foley gets the ream job from his boss and comes home to his classy (sarcasm alert) apartment, where he finds school chum Mikey Tandino (James Russo) waiting. Mikey, recently out of the slam and working security for an enterprise in Beverly Hills, shows Axel the load of German bearer bonds he has filched.
Detective Foley lets slide that his school chum is packing stolen merchandise, and they go to do some heavy partying. Back at the apartment some pros from the West Coast knock Axel on the head and double-tap the unfortunate Mikey.
Alex is heavy to get even and drives out to the West Coast to look up another school chum, Jenny Summers (Lisa Eilbacher), giving her the sad news about Mikey.
Jenny puts Axel onto her boss, who is up to no good, mainly smuggling hot goods into the country through inside ties with a bonded warehouse. Alex’s tom foolery gets him crossways with the Beverly Hills police. The contrast is striking. He is jeans, sneakers, and sweat shirts, and shows a wise-guy mouth. They are strictly Brooks Brothers and talk like Madison Avenue lawyers.
The Beverly Hills PD puts two detectives, Detective Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) and Sergeant Taggart (John Ashton) on Axel’s tail. He returns the favor by taking them to a local hot spot, where they catch a glimpse of another life and also foil an armed robbery. But that’s just icing.
Cutting to the chase, Alex and the Beverly boys get the goods on Lisa’s boss, Victor Maitland (Steven Berkoff ). Maitland kidnaps Lisa, taking her to his lavish Beverly Hills estate, the cops infiltrate the grounds, touching off a fierce exchange of ammunition and attracting the attention of half the BHPD. Here Rosewood and Taggart are pinned down by machine gun fire, and Rosewood takes the opportunity to recall the final scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. That’s funny.
Naturally, Alex and the two BH cops, using their service pistols and a shotgun, lay waste to half of Maitland’s armada, who have only machine guns at their disposal. Axel finishes off Maitland’s hit man and stalks Maitland, in what remains of his elegant mansion.
Then… Maitland’s got Jenny. He has a pistol pointed at her head. Jenny pulls free. Alex and BH Police Lieutenant Bogomil (Ronny Cox) both cut loose at once. The perforated Mr. Maitland tumbles down the stairs.
A creditable performance by Murphy, completing his transition from stand-up comedy. He previously established his screen persona in 48 Hrs. For the immediate future he would give a face to brashness and audacity, which may actually be synonyms. Eilbacher appears to have been drafted into this production to provide some eye candy, a softness to contrast Murphy’s grit. She speaks her lines well.
Since March I have been reviewing movies from Amazon Prime Video and from Hulu. Amazon’s video management has a lot to offer, including ease of locating and freezing a frame for capture. Hulu, for some reason, has seen fit to thwart easy frame grabbing. When I hit the pause button on Hulu I don’t get the image I was seeing. Hulu dims the image and pastes an informative note on top of it. What is required to snap an image from Hulu is to start the stream a few seconds in advance of the frame and then hit the Print Screen button at just the right time to capture the image. This does not endear me to Hulu. Hopefully the hint will be taken.