It’s a real shame this movie doesn’t decide to amp things up or go in any drastic change of direction for the sequel, as it falls under the spell of weak follow up movie. The same style, wisecracks and street smarts of Foley aren’t so cool anymore and the rehashing of near the knuckle comedy and humorous dialogue doesn’t come across as well this time around.
This film coming three years after the original sees the return of Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) in Beverly Hills on the news that Captain Bogomil (Ronny Cox) has been in a shooting. A serious crime sweeping through the place, involving the alphabet becomes the case Foley has to take on and with the help of returning duo Rosewood and Taggart (Judge Reinhold and John Ashton) he may just prove his Detroit backdrop can win the day once again.
I still enjoyed watching this film, though it’s in the first part of the movie that the fun and swift feelings come at you, by the wrapping up and clue piecing together, it starts feeling a string of slow. The story is simple enough with a group of criminals under a unseen boss robbing locations and leaving behind their alphabet mark. It’s not such a twist really in the actual person as Foley gets it straight away and the conclusions of the villains are a mad rush of bullets and fury.
A lot of this sequel in tone or plot feels like a patchy carbon copy of the first and that’s not a good thing at all. Putting to one side the snappy charisma Eddie Murphy brings, there isn’t the same wow hitting you in the face as first time round managed to provide. I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s terrible or lost the original’s heart but it has certainly slowed the impactful beat down a tremendous amount, even the funky reuse of Harold Faltermeyer’s theme can’t lift the film into the stratosphere I so hoped it would near.
A lot of unneeded extra focus becomes a draw back, what with Rosewood’s Rambo obsession becoming a character stitch on that does nothing aside from him going batty with weapons at the end. The constant scenes of Foley entering places otherwise unattainable to the public becomes less funny and more annoying as people buy into less creative ploys mastered by Axel. The best use of his smarts is when getting the Beverly Hills house for himself.
It’s just another film to give shine to Murphy as a lead character, don’t get me wrong he does it superbly well, balancing the more plain moments of police thoughts with the higher insane moments of Axel anarchy like a perfectly structured scale but apart from him, the other actors don’t get an awful lot to do that makes you overly appreciate them. The return of the buddy cop pairing to trio dynamic is okay but just peters out now and again. The villains, one of whom is played by a Basic Instinct-esque Brigitte Nielsen don’t really get their teeth into the bad side of actions. It’s all very run of the mill fare to let Murphy run riot.
The opening song ‘Shakedown’ with the shots of Detroit city is a great energetic sequence, the massive lorry smashing into fleets of squad cars is a fun barrel of crashing and wrecking and then there’s the rightful and happy comeuppance of a snot nosed uninterested chief of police. It’s cool to see a young Chris Rock appear on camera too. The silly cameo of Hugh Hefner isn’t really a positive or negative just a star turn in a mildly entertaining sequel.
Axel Foley and Eddie Murphy, there isn’t much difference. Fun, jerky, annoying, brilliant and quick, it’s a star show for the actor in this sequel but just because he may be having a laugh in it doesn’t mean we all are. Watch the first one instead.