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BEVERLY HILLS COP II

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Jurgen Prochnow, Ronny Cox, John Ashton, Brigitte Nielsen, Paul Reiser
Director: Tony Scott
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Paramount
Features: See Review
Length: 102 Minutes
Release Date: January 29, 2002

“What the hell is that?”

“After the shootout at the club, I figured I needed more firepower.”

“We need to have a talk, seriously. That’s a damn 44 magnum. Who do you think you are Clint Eastwood: Dirty Rosewood?”

Film ***

Beverly Hills Cop was the film that launched Eddie Murphy to blockbuster superstardom. It was his first leading role in a movie following his supporting work in 48 Hrs. and Trading Places. It was also one of the top box office hits of all time at the point of its release, illustrating that Murphy had truly arrived as a superstar sensation, so it was inevitable that a sequel should be made. Three years after the first film’s release, Beverly Hills Cop II arrived in theaters and like its predecessor, was an instant blockbuster. Re-teaming with producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, and under the hard-edged directing of Tony Scott, who at the time was just coming off the breakthrough success of Top Gun, Cop II makes for pure knockout entertainment. Many critics weren’t polite to the film, but audiences were clearly not deprived of entertaining satisfaction.

Murphy’s primary goal in making this sequel was to inject more laughs than the first film, and while this installment doesn’t quite match the level of the first one, Murphy should be rewarded for injecting as much energy in his return as Detroit cop Axel Foley, back once again thousands of miles from his home turf. While working undercover in Detroit on a credit card fraud case, Foley is informed that his friend in Beverly Hills, Captain Bogomil (Ronny Cox), has been gunned down. Foley then hurries to California to check on the Captain, and he is soon reunited with Beverly Hills detectives Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) and Taggart (John Ashton). The three then begin investigating ties to the prime suspect who tried to have Bogomil killed. The suspect is Maxwell Dent (Jurgen Prochnow), whose ties lead to the Beverly Hills gun club, where Foley encounters the mysteriously tall Karla Fry (Brigitte Nielsen) who is Dent’s associate and fiancée.

In the first movie, Rosewood and Taggart were reduced to chasing after Foley, and one of the pleasures of Cop II is watching the three working together and consistently bickering. I always get a kick out of the scene where Rosewood and Taggart discover Foley residing at a vacationing couple’s luxurious house, after convincing the construction workers that they are cleared to go home. They find him enjoying himself in the swimming pool, where which Taggart soon finds himself in after a slight slip. Another memorable funny moment occurs when Axel encounters hard-bitten Beverly Hills police chief, who’s always on Rosewood and Taggart’s case, who then tries to convince the chief that he is the renowned psychic extraordinaire, Johnny Wishbone. The numerous action scenes are a riot as well, in particular one where Foley orders Rosewood to get a fast car, and returns with a slow-as-anything cement truck.

The first movie remains the best of the trilogy, but Beverly Hills Cop II is an easy second place. Director Tony Scott’s knack for hard-edged sceneries with knockout action was first discovered here, and as since then led to such energetic masterpieces like True Romance and Crimson Tide. And Murphy’s neverending comedic rhythm simply has to be experienced to be believed. Beverly Hills Cop II is a prime example of what has made Eddie Murphy one of the greatest living comedic actors of our time.

Video **1/2

While I must congratulate Paramount immensely for bringing the Beverly Hills Cop movies to DVD, the transfers haven’t been as good as I expected. The transfer for the first movie left much to be desired, and the transfer for Cop II is only a tad bit better, but that’s not really saying much. While for the most part, this anamorphic presentation is alive with sharp imaging and colors, there are certain segments of the presentation contain scenes of grain and softness. In the end, it doesn’t really surprises me, since most of Tony Scott’s early work hasn’t faired too well on DVD in the video department, but Paramount does what it can.

Audio ***

A superior audio track, however, is at service here as Paramount issues a much impressive 5.1 audio mix. The audio track delivers on the scale of the plentiful of action and shootout sequences, as well as Harold Faltermeyer’s memorable music score, which is heard much better on this disc than that of the first Cop.

Features ***

Some nice little touches here in the extras department to make this release a nice companion to the loaded disc for the first Cop release. Included is a Cast and Crew Interviews segment, which is nicely informative on how this sequel came about, as well as the original brief behind the scenes featurette. Also included is a deleted scene with an intro by director Tony Scott, a brief featurette on the composing of Bob Seger’s theme song to the movie, “Shakedown”, and a trailer.

Summary:

Beverly Hills Cop II is a more than perfect follow up to the action comedy extravaganza that launched Eddie Murphy superstar career, and makes for a perfect second-half a double feature.

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