Monday, June 22, 2015

25: Beverly Hills Cop

I know that to some extent, the inclusion of Beverly Hills Cop is like including T'Pau songs in the music Top 40. It's mid-80s pop-culture and on reflection may seem a little dated, or at least seem like you haven't paid any attention to it since about 1993 and mostly forgotten it ever existed.

But here's the thing: Beverly Hills Cop won an Oscar, and not just any Oscar, but "Best Writing (Original Screenplay)" which is frankly a pretty big deal. The fact that Eddie Murphy wasn't involved with the project until two weeks prior to filming seems impossible to believe: it seems to have been written especially as a vehicle for the kind of character he played for the next ten years. Fast-talking, so clever, so funny and perfect for the role which was originally supposed to be a straight action hero, probably played by Sylvester Stallone.

And that's why it's in the Top 40. Murphy's portrayal - able to slip so easily between humorous and seriously dramatic - brings a relatively two-dimensional storyline to life (although not as two-dimensional as the sequel movie) (and we're not even going to talk about the third movie, which was unimaginably awful compared to the first). The direction keeps everything at a good pace, the supporting actors are good and overall it's re-watchable many times over - but all the time you're looking at Eddie Murphy, dominating the screen with his tremendous charisma, and wondering what on earth he's going to do next.

And put the soundtrack on there - "Axel F" is standout, obviously, but Glenn Frey's "The Heat Is On" was a huge hit back then also - and you have a winner, all round. Yes, there are 24 above it in the list, but this one is seriously good and worth another look after all these years.

1 comment:

Kevin Sawers said...

Wow, I didn't know Murphy only got involved very late in the production. That's seriously impressive!