×

Beverly Hills Cop III

The third installment of the "Beverly Hills Cop" series boasts a return to form by Eddie Murphy and a breezy and witty first half. And though the film runs out of steam before the end, it should satisfy "B.H. Cop" fans, even if it doesn't provide a full reversal of Murphy's recent box office misfortunes.

With:
Axel Foley - Eddie Murphy
Billy Rosewood - Judge Reinhold
Joe Flint - Hector Elizondo
Ellis DeWald - Timothy Carhart
Steve Fulbright - Stephen McHattie
Janice - Theresa Randle
Orris Sanderson - John Saxon
Uncle Dave Thornton - Alan Young
Serge - Bronson Pinchot
Minister - Al Green
Ticket Booth Girl - Tracy Lindsey
Todd - Gil Hill

The third installment of the “Beverly Hills Cop” series boasts a return to form by Eddie Murphy and a breezy and witty first half. And though the film runs out of steam before the end, it should satisfy “B.H. Cop” fans, even if it doesn’t provide a full reversal of Murphy’s recent box office misfortunes. Competition from two highly visible non-sequels, “Maverick” and “The Flintstones ,” will give “Cop III” a run for its money, perhaps blunting its ultimate gross potential.

The film gets off to a brisk start with a sting-gone-bad at a Detroit stolen-car chop shop. Director John Landis gets a mighty chuckle out of two overweight thieves mimicking a vintage Supremes tune and then quickly shifts moods with an efficient St. Valentine’s Day-style massacre and a chase in which Murphy drives a snazzy sports car that disintegrates piece by piece. Murphy’s trademark grin and lithe acrobatic skills dominate here. Thankfully, he’s left behind the air of indifference that permeated many of his recent efforts. When he lets go, which is not often enough here, he reminds us why he became a superstar.

The bad-guy trail inevitably leads to Southern California, where Murphy is reunited with an old Beverly Hills crony, Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold), and a new cop buddy played by Hector Elizondo. The focus of the action is a theme park called

WonderWorld, on the order of the Disney and/or Universal parks (it’s actually a dressed-up Great America in Santa Clara, owned by Paramount Communications).

Screenwriter Steven E. de Souza has a lark lampooning the squeaky clean Americana atmosphere of these entertainments as well as those overwrought Universal crash-bam-boom thrill rides. There’s even a pseudo-Uncle Walt, here named Uncle Dave Thornton, played by Alan Young, best known as Mr. Ed’s straight man. Great in-joke is the park’s official theme, “The WonderWorld Song,” written by veteran Disney tunesmiths Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman.

Unfortunately, the villains are not as interesting as the milieu in which they thrive, which dissipates the tension. One of the better set pieces in the film occurs on a theme park ride gone haywire in which Murphy adeptly executes some of his own stunts. Another first-half highlight is thereturn of the impossibly effete Serge (Bronson Pinchot), who has moved from hawking cappuccino on Rodeo Drive to selling designer guns.

Pinchot is given free rein and is hilarious. There’s more action in his wrists than in some of the film’s climactic moments.

If the ending flattens out, it seems a calculated move to make the film more accessible and genial than its brutally cynical predecessor.

The restrained carnage could have been satisfying if it had been offset by a little more cleverness on the order of the sequence in which the Universal-style thrill ride is used to incapacitate several villainous goons.

A lot of top-flight craftsmanship went into the film, particularly Mac Ahlberg’s cinematography and Michael Seymour’s production design.

Aces too are the costumes by Catherine Adair with deserved special mention to Kelly Kimball, who executed the garb for the park animal characters.

The soundtrack is chock-a-block with good tunes, new and old.

And Nile Rodgers’ score effectively complements the action.

Beverly Hills Cop III

Production: A Paramount release of a Mace Neufeld and Robert Rehme production in association with Eddie Murphy Prods. Produced by Neufeld and Rehme. Executive producer, Mark Lipsky. Co-producer, Leslie Belzberg. Directed by John Landis. Screenplay, Steven E. de Souza, based on characters created by Danilo Bach and Daniel Petrie Jr.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe color), Mac Ahlberg; editor, Dale Beldin; music , Nile Rodgers; production design, Michael Seymour; art direction, Thomas P. Wilkins; set decoration, Marvin March; costume design, Catherine Adair; sound (Dolby), Joseph Geisinger; associate producer, Ray Murphy Jr.; assistant director, Arthur Anderson; casting, Jackie Burch. Reviewed at the National Theater, L.A., March 19, 1994. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 109 min.

With: Axel Foley - Eddie Murphy
Billy Rosewood - Judge Reinhold
Joe Flint - Hector Elizondo
Ellis DeWald - Timothy Carhart
Steve Fulbright - Stephen McHattie
Janice - Theresa Randle
Orris Sanderson - John Saxon
Uncle Dave Thornton - Alan Young
Serge - Bronson Pinchot
Minister - Al Green
Ticket Booth Girl - Tracy Lindsey
Todd - Gil Hill

More Film

  • marvel

    Marvel Phase 4 Plan Revealed, But Comic-Con’s Big Winner is Disney Plus

    In a triumphant return to the San Diego Comic-Con main stage, leadership at Marvel Studios managed some splashy surprises and showed off risky creative bets for the next two years of content coming from the superhero operation. But the biggest takeaway from the Saturday presentation inside Hall H was how important Marvel will make Disney [...]

  • Florence Pugh, O. T. Fagbenle, Rachel

    'Black Widow': Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh Go Head-to-Head in First Footage

    Marvel’s “Black Widow” has only been in production for a month, but studio president Kevin Feige still delivered the goods for fans at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. Filmmakers brought an intense sizzle reel of on-location shots, kicked off by a dazzling and bone-crushing fight sequence between lead Scarlett Johansson and her on-screen sister Florence [...]

  • Natalie Portman Thor

    Natalie Portman Returns for 'Thor: Love and Thunder' as Female Thor

    Natalie Portman is coming back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but she’s no one’s love interest this time around. The Oscar winner will play a female god of thunder in the fourth film from the Chris Hemsworth series, titled “Thor: Love and Thunder.” Portman hit the stage at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday to great [...]

  • Fantastic Four

    New 'Fantastic Four' Movie in Development at Marvel

    Marvel is going back to the Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige announced that a new movie based on the superhero group is in the works at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. Further details, however, including a release date, were not revealed. It marks the first Fox property for Disney to mine since the [...]

  • Mahershala AliMarvel Studios panel, Comic-Con International,

    Mahershala Ali to Star in Marvel's 'Blade' Reboot

    Marvel is rebooting the “Blade” series, and has cast Mahershala Ali to star. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige announced the news at Comic-Con on Saturday as the panel’s big ending surprise. Ali also took the stage at the announcement to massive applause, donning the Blade baseball cap. Wesley Snipes previously played the half-vampire superhero in [...]

  • Doctor Strange

    'Doctor Strange' Sequel Billed as First MCU Horror Film at Comic-Con

    A sequel to “Doctor Strange” was announced as expected on Saturday at Marvel’s Comic-Con panel — what we didn’t see coming was the tone. Director Scott Derrickson said the film, titled “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” will mine the original comics and play up “the gothic, the horror.” Derrickson said it will lead [...]

  • Simu Liu Shang-Chi

    Marvel's 'Shang-Chi' Finds Its Lead

    Marvel has found its next superhero. The studio announced that Simu Liu has been tapped to star in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” during its Hall H presentation at Comic Con, joining cast member Awkwafina, who was also announced during the presentation. Additionally, Veteran actor Tony Leung has joined the film as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content