Movie review: 'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.'

This is the official poster for "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F." The OSV News classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (OSV News photo/Netflix)

NEW YORK (OSV News) – The last time Eddie Murphy appeared in the guise of Detroit police Det. Axel Foley, President Bill Clinton was in the second year of his first term, and recent names in the news included skater Nancy Kerrigan and traitorous CIA official Aldrich Ames. After a hiatus of three decades, what results from Murphy's return to the role?

Overall, not much. "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F." (Netflix), director Mark Molloy's fairly routine addition to the action comedy franchise, offers a few laughs, car chases in unusual vehicles and a mostly unconvincing subplot about tension between a flawed father and his resentful offspring.

That strand of the story does reach a pleasing conclusion, and the mayhem is mostly kept bloodless -- at least until a splatter-stained climactic shootout. But the dialogue hardly contains a single sentence unmarred by vulgarity.

What unfolds amid the relentless verbal blue streak is Axel's fourth visit to the luxurious locale of the title. This time, his trip west is prompted by the danger in which his estranged daughter Jane (Taylour Paige), a crusading Los Angeles defense attorney, finds herself when she begins to uncover corruption at a high level of the LAPD.

Recurring series characters are woven into the plot while Axel gains an impromptu partner in the person of Beverly Hills-based Det. Bobby Abbott (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who is also -- as it happens -- Jane's ex-boyfriend. Small world.

As the bullets fly, Axel and Jane spar over who was responsible for the breakdown in their relationship. The fact that Jane has changed her last name to Saunders is meant to be symbolic of the gulf that has opened between the two.

Obviously, however, the real order of business here is not emotional analysis but for Axel to break every available rule and wreak havoc generally. Oh, and to remind viewers that Foley isn't the only word that starts with F.

The film contains much violence with some gore, drug use, a few sexual references, more than a score of profanities, about a half-dozen milder oaths, pervasive rough and crude language, occasional crass talk and obscene gestures. The OSV News classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.



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