Axel Foley is back
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Axel Foley is back

Netflix delivers a dose of nostalgia as Eddie Murphy returns to play the iconic cop

Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley. photos © Netflix
Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley. photos © Netflix

Following closely on the heels of nostalgic sequels like Bad Boys: Ride Or Die, Netflix surprised audiences with the return of Eddie Murphy in his iconic role as Axel Foley.

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F has landed on the streaming platform to evoke the spirit of the original trilogy rather than merely reinvent it. This outing delivers vintage Murphy accompanied by a familiar soundtrack that promises fans nothing more than a nostalgic fun, casual watch.

Decades after the last instalment of the original Beverly Hills Cop trilogy in 1994, Axel Foley finds himself back in action when his defence attorney daughter, Jane Saunders (played by Taylour Paige), faces threats unless she drops a case. Still a Detroit cop, Axel returns to the familiar yet transformed streets of Beverly Hills to uncover a dangerous conspiracy. His mission takes him deep into the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles, a sharp contrast to the glitzy city the original films often portrayed.

Screenwriter Will Beall, who recently co-wrote the equally entertaining Bad Boys: Ride Or Die, skilfully navigates Axel's return, pitting him against a league of corrupt cops. Beall's script is a roller-coaster ride that meshes action and comedy seamlessly, much like its predecessors. Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F distinguishes itself by tackling new adversaries such as drug smugglers, gunrunners and counterfeiters. Yet it pays homage to the original film with an opening that reintroduces Axel in his element, cruising through Detroit in a blue Chevy Nova -- a nostalgic treat that sets the right tone for the film.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F. NETFLI

Axel F caters unabashedly to longtime fans of the franchise, leaning heavily on familiar characters and settings. Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Paul Reiser and Bronson Pinchot reprise their roles from earlier films, joined by newcomers Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Taylour Paige and Kevin Bacon in fresh roles. Reinhold and Ashton in particular bring back the lovable duo of Billy Rosewood and John Taggart, whose chemistry with Axel remains as infectious as ever. Their presence adds a layer of nostalgia and continuity that bridges the decades-long gap between the films.

True to the franchise's formula, Axel quickly becomes entangled in outrageous and often predictable mayhem upon returning to Beverly Hills. High-octane car chases, large-scale shootouts and the trademark banter among the cast ensue. Joseph Gordon-Levitt shines as Bobby Abbott, a modern and relatable Beverly Hills detective forced to collaborate with Axel to solve the case. His character brings a fresh dynamic to the mix, balancing respect for Axel's unorthodox methods with a contemporary sensibility. Paige delivers a nice performance as Axel's assertive daughter Jane, though her character's backstory lacks depth, making it difficult to fully empathise with the strained relationship with her father. Her disdain for Axel's concern appears somewhat unjustified given the film's limited exploration of their past.

The film successfully taps into the dysfunctional camaraderie between classic characters -- Axel, Billy and Chief John Taggart -- to elicit nostalgic chuckles from viewers. However, the overall storyline follows a predictable trajectory, relying heavily on familiar tropes. The narrative's saving grace lies in its adrenaline-pumping action sequences, featuring spectacular car chases that feel right at home in the franchise and pay homage to 80s and 90s action cinema. While the setup may stretch plausibility, they contribute to the film's fun and entertainment value.


The soundtrack, featuring both classic hits and contemporary tracks, bridges the generational gap, appealing to both old fans and new viewers. It excels as a casual watch, offering entertainment that doesn't aspire to reinvent the genre but instead celebrates its roots. However, those seeking a revival of the uproarious and action-packed films of past decades may find it falls short of expectations.

Despite its flaws, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F is a testament to Eddie Murphy's enduring charm and comedic timing. It's a well paced mix of action and comedy, and the new characters help keep the story relevant and relatable to today's audiences. This isn't bad at all for a casual watch, but if you're looking for something on the same level as previous decades, this isn't going to be nearly as satisfying.

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