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The Beverly Hills Cop Trilogy

The Beverly Hills Cop Trilogy

Axel Foley's various adventures mark the second successful movie trilogy (the Godfather was the first) Paramount has given us in the last four months.

Not only was Beverly Hills Cop the movie that confirmed Eddie Murphy's movie career, it was also the beginning of a brand new franchise. Now, we've been treated to the release of all three films in fairly decent DVD versions.

After one of Axel's friends is murdered in Detroit, Axel travels to Beverly Hills to try and find the killer. There, he must contend with the bad guys as well as the Beverly Hills police department, who clearly don't want him there. But after Axel proves himself to be an exceptional cop, they realize the best thing to do is work together - even if it means breaking a few "rules."

Eddie Murphy is perfect as Axel, bringing equal parts comedian and action hero to the role. The supporting cast, including Judge Reinhold, Ronny Cox and John Ashton are also good.

In Cop II, Axel must once again travel to Beverly Hills after getting word that his now-friend Lt. Bogomil (the guy who kept getting in his way in the first film) has been shot. Not only that, it appears to have been the same group that robbed a jewelry store. So Axel must team up once again with Rosewood (Reinhold) and Taggert (Ashton) to find the bad guys.

Much of Cop II plays exactly like the first one, except that some of the humour is replaced by more action. But I guess that's to be expected when you get Tony Scott to direct.

Cop III is a big disaster. It is revealed in the cast & crew interviews that they didn't have a story or a script before they were ready to start filming which, while not absolutely the kiss of death (Casablanca is said to have been written on the fly) certainly doesn't help.

This time, Axel goes back to Beverly Hills to try and find out who killed his boss.

If they keep making more movies, there's not going to be anyone left to get shot in order to keep Axel going back.

Anyway, much of the movie takes place in an amusement park, but this time Axel is on the run from the police. You know you have a weak story when you have to incorporate that kind of thing.

Cop III is nowhere near as good as the first two (neither of which are really spectacular to start with), and is nothing more than a cheap attempt at reviving an old franchise.

The quality of the discs varies. The first movie has quite a few extras, but a merely decent transfer; the second has less extras, but a slightly better transfer; the third has the best transfer, but pretty much no extras.

Interestingly enough, Cops I and III are presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, but II is 2.35:1. The picture on the first film is pretty good, but is showing a bit of age. It is a bit grainy in parts, but overall is quite good.

The second film still exhibits some grain, but the picture is clearer than the first.

The third Cop movie has the best transfer of them all, but again I suspect that's only the case because it's newer. The picture seems clear of grain or fuzz, and is actually pretty good.

All three movies are treated with a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack, and once again, the quality improves from first the third film. The first two, like many older movies, sound like stereo tracks that were made into 5.1 tracks. The third film's track actually sounds genuine.

Working in exactly the opposite way to the transfers, the extras get worse from Cop I to Cop III. The first film features some decent extras, including the only audio commentary in the trilogy. The commentary is by director Martin Brest, and is a pretty good track. He enjoys the film and is pleased with the result, which is really all you can ask of a director. There are also some cast & crew interviews, a "Casting Beverly Hills Cop" featurette, a "Music of Beverly Hills Cop" featurette, a location map, a photo gallery, and the trailer.

The second film features almost as many features, but no commentary. There are more cast & crew interviews (obviously taken from the same interviews as those from the other films), a behind-the-scenes featurette, a deleted scene with Tony Scott's introduction, a "Shakedown" music featurette, and the trailer.

Cop III includes still more cast & crew interviews, the trailer, and that's it.

All things considered, I'd say a fairly good job was done with these movies, and it's nice to have another famous trilogy finally on DVD.

Hardcore fans of the franchise will definitely want to buy the three pack. But since it's priced at ten cents more than it would cost you to buy them individually, I'm not really sure where the deal is. Besides, without some sort of incentive, how many people are actually going to buy Beverly Hills Cop III?

Now if only Paramount and George Lucas would give us Indiana Jones already.

Beverly Hills Cop I, II & III, from Paramount Home Entertainment
105, 102, 104 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1, 2.35:1, 1.85:1) 16 x 9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Starring Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Ronny Cox, John Ashton and Paul Reiser
Produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, Mace Neufeld and Robert Rehme
Screenplay by Daniel Petrie Jr., Larry Ferguson and Warren Skaaren, Steven E. De Souza
Directed by Martin Brest, Tony Scott, John Landis


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Updated May 13, 2006