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Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Beverly Hills Cop is a 1984 American comedy-action film directed by Martin Brest and starring Eddie Murphy, Lisa Eilbacher, John Ashton, Judge Reinhold, and Ronny Cox. Murphy stars as Axel Foley, a street-smart Detroit cop who heads to Beverly Hills, California to solve the murder of his best friend. This first film in the Beverly Hills Cop series shot Murphy to international stardom, won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture, was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical, and even received an Oscar nomination in 1985. It earned an estimated $234 million at the domestic box office, narrowly making it the biggest hit of 1984 (ahead of Ghostbusters). Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) is a young, talented, but reckless Detroit police detective who had previously been a delinquent. His latest act of attempting to catch crooks through an unauthorized cigarette smuggling sting operation goes sour when some uniformed officers show up, questioning their suspicious activity, and earns him the wrath of his boss, Inspector Douglas Todd (Gilbert R. Hill).
Beverly Hills Cop is actually a bit of a nutty idea -- combine a standard cop actioner with a fish out of water tale. Who would've thought that would be any good? But it works, and how, with Murphy turning in perhaps his funniest performance ever -- mocking the supporting cast at every turn (favorite targets: gay men, uptight men, and gay/uptight men) and tossing off one-liners like he's got a wad of them stuffed in his pocket. His Axel Foley, one of the most widely impersonated characters in film (remember the popularity of the 'Mumford Phys. Ed.' sweatshirt?), heads from rough-and-tumble Detroit to prim-and-proper Beverly Hills to investigate the murder of his best friend, uncovering a much bigger plot, of course.
Judge Reinhold, as a rather hapless junior cop in L.A., made enough of a mark here to carry a career of duds for a full decade, and the soundtrack, including the ubiquitous instrumental 'Axel F,' was full of what would become 1980s smash hits. If the plot wasn't such a throwaway, Cop might have stood as one of the greatest action comedies ever made, but it does stand as Murphy's funniest work and the inspiration for dozens of knockoffs (including two throwaway sequels, each worse than the last).
At last, Cop comes to DVD, with commentary by Martin Brest (suitably shocked at his own success), plus a smattering of interviews and other extras. If the comedy doesn't get you, the nostalgia certainly will. Recommended.