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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.5%
Worth A Look: 2.5%
Average: 12.5%
Pretty Bad: 15%
Total Crap62.5%

3 reviews, 22 user ratings

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Beverly Hills Cop III
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Killed the 'Beverly Hills Cop' franchise for good, one hopes."
1 stars

Following the Peter Principle, 'Beverly Hills Cop III' rises to its level of incompetence in its first scene and stays there.

Once again, we're in Detroit, and maverick cop Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) is staking out a ring of carjackers. Director John Landis, working for the third time with Murphy (after Trading Places and Coming to America), adds a touch that promises a return to the pop-fed wit that distinguished Landis' Animal House. While Axel crouches outside the garage, mapping out a strategy with some other cops, a pair of rotund mechanics inside begin gyrating and lip-syncing to a Supremes oldie blaring from a tape deck. This sudden musical interlude has a wonderful randomness. But it leads nowhere: In a few minutes, the dancing duo will be machine-gunned to death.

Beverly Hills Cop III is a depressing, abhorrent spectacle -- big-studio cynicism incarnate. Products like this roll out of Hollywood every summer, while filmmakers with something valid to say languish in obscurity. In the past, the shrewd barracudas of Tinseltown could put together a lowest-common-denominator package and still manage to come up with something entertaining. I honestly don't know whom Cop III is meant for, except the executives at Paramount, who have watched their other franchises (the Indiana Jones series, the Star Trek series with the original crew, the Friday the 13th series) come to a close and want to revive the Axel tentpole. Why is Axel returning to Beverly Hills after seven years? The script, credited to Steven E. de Souza, puts Axel on the trail of a corrupt security mogul (Timothy Carhart) who operates a counterfeit ring out of the theme park Wonderworld -- a bald swipe at Disneyworld, which has been parodied beyond death, as has the 90210 lifestyle. Axel is returning to Beverly Hills because Eddie Murphy and John Landis need a hit. Cop III is as soulless as they come.

Landis is a past master of contrast, as he showed in the horror-comedy An American Werewolf in London, and in that great elevator scene in The Blues Brothers -- Landis kept cutting from the heroes standing in an elevator playing peaceful Muzak to an army of cops outside noisily preparing to nab them. In Beverly Hills Cop III, Landis tries to bounce between action and comedy, but he leans more heavily towards the action, which isn't very well staged. When Axel, trapped in an amusement-park ride, leaps from one car to another to save a couple of kids, the scene has no snap, no tension, and obviously no plausibility. Landis is good at bashing vehicles together, but any of us could do the same given $60 million. He fails to do what Martin Brest, who directed the first Cop, did so deftly: contrast the streetwise Axel with the foppish pretentiousness of Beverly Hills. The only contrast Landis achieves here is explosion/one-liner/explosion.

Has Eddie Murphy completely lost his comic gifts? He's occasionally amusing here, but he lets his big, horsey grin do too much of his work. Murphy played straight man to visiting lunatics Bronson Pinchot in Cop I and Gilbert Gottfried in Cop II; he seems to play straight man to everyone in Cop III. Where are the inspired ad-libs that made even the bloated Cop II bearable? Given the chance to score points off a pair of grim-faced Wonderworld security guards the way he did off a couple of cops in the original ("You're not going to fall for the banana in the tailpipe?"), Axel just cracks a few lame jokes. Cop III does bring back Pinchot as Serge, gallery owner turned weapons dealer (huh?), but this time it's a breeze for him to steal his scenes from Murphy. The star looks tired, demoralized, in it for the money.

Murphy once swore never to make another 'Beverly Hills Cop' movie and never to work with John Landis again. He should have kept both promises.

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originally posted: 01/02/07 12:20:49
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User Comments

12/29/17 morris campbell decent best i remember 3 stars
1/25/10 Chad Dillon Cooper Three strikes, you're out !!! 1 stars
6/16/09 Andrew I actually walked out of the theatre when i was 13 to this. 1 stars
10/23/06 JM Synth Wasn't the same Axel; has it's moments though 2 stars
5/27/06 William Goss Am I allowed to have a soft spot for this? Because I do. 3 stars
5/05/06 mr.mike not good 2 stars
2/13/06 Anthony Feor Eddie Murphy should consider retirement 1 stars
7/29/05 the dude Awesome just awesome,but not as good as 1 and 2 5 stars
7/30/04 Stuart Third time lucky? no, no magic just shite, watch the first one 2 stars
3/25/04 Matthew Dickson I think it was absolutely brilliant and awesome 5 stars
2/10/04 Whatevr Just watch the first two, forget about this one. 1 stars
10/08/03 Charles Tatum An appropriate end to an overrated series 1 stars
10/03/03 Samuel Justus One of my favorite movies to watch, better than the the first two!!! 5 stars
8/12/03 Sam Moszynski Weakest of the series, but still fun 3 stars
3/09/03 Jack Sommersby The filmmakers are reaching, and the effort shows. 2 stars
5/19/02 Monster W. Kung Nothing but a complete disaster. 1 stars
9/03/01 Butterbean Part one ruled...Part two was even better...Part three was the worst. 2 stars
8/07/01 Joe Zappa A major, entertaining improvement over "BHC2," which was sort of a mild bash on the senses. 4 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk This is shit...if the smell of shit makes you sick, stay away from this movie. 1 stars
12/06/00 Cristopher Revilla the weakest of the series, wasn't that believable 3 stars
11/04/99 Mickey "Father Death" MacJohnstmyster Foley, get it over with and move to B' Hills,there obviously isn't enough crime in detroit. 3 stars
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  02-Jul-1994 (R)



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