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Beverly Hills Cop Blu-Ray



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#1 of 11 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted May 10 2011 - 02:09 PM

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Beverly Hills Cop


Studio: Paramount Pictures
Year: 1984
US Rating: Rated R
Film Length: 105 Mins

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Video: MPEG-4 AVC 1080P High Definition
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 2.0 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese


Release Date: May 17, 2010

Review Date: May 10, 2011


Disturbing the peace? I got thrown out of a window! What's the f*@#ing charge for getting pushed out of a moving car, huh? Jaywalking?


Introduction


Fast talking, irreverent, and unabashedly smart-mouthed pegs perfectly the gift and fun of Eddie Murphy’s performance as Det. Axel Foley. Eddie Murphy had already begun his stratospheric rise to stardom when he donned the simple blue jeans and t-shirt garb of this character, but the story of a gritty Detroit cop turning Beverly Hills on its head in pursuit of a killer – with a disregard for procedure and a cheeky penchant for mockery along the way – hit the perfect tone in 1984 making Beverly Hills Cop the number one box office earner for the entire year – narrowly edging out Ghostbusters. Not all films from the 1980’s hold up so well, but Beverly Hills Cop (and other Eddie Murphy classics like Coming to America and Trading Places from that decade) remain as funny today as when they were first released.


The Film: 4 out of 5


Beverly Hills Cop begins in the back of a semi-truck, in a container filled with federally stamped but stolen cigarettes in one of Detroit’s many grimy alleys. When a squad car interrupts the negotiations and a carnage-filled chase ensues with a good portion of the motor-city’s automotive product being crushed by the indiscriminate steering of the crook at the wheel of the truck (before it comes to a crashing halt), we soon realize that what we’ve seen is a failed attempt at a one-man undercover sting. Soon, the undercover detective, Axel Foley, is dutifully chewed out by his less than impressed or forgiving captain and clocks out for the night. When an old friend makes an unexpected visit, Foley enjoys an evening out on the town, but when he and his friend – visiting from his new job in California – return to Foley’s apartment, his friend is executed and Foley is knocked unconscious. Before long Foley begins to investigate by driving his beat-up car to Beverly Hills – where his friend was working – and quickly finds himself on the radar of both a criminal organization and a by-the-book couple of detectives, Rosewood and Taggart, assigned by the Beverly Hills lieutenant, to make sure he behaves – which of course he does not.


Beverly Hills Cop’s journey to the theaters is perhaps more storied than many would suspect. Sylvester Stallone is one of the many names attached to star at one time or another. His vision for the film imagined a grittier tale with a ‘man on a mission’ body count to match (that film would become Cobra), and Mickey Rourke was originally considered for the part but left when the project continued to languish in pre-production (co-story creator Danilo Bach had turned in his draft to the studio in ’77). Frequent script changes and uncertainty in how to make the film work forced its journey to take a long and varied road. Once Eddie Murphy was on board, the rushed script and a still ill-prepared production seemed to find its groove. With a terrific comedy mind, Murphy’s improvisational proclivities set scenes ablaze, creating another production issues – people unable to keep a straight face forcing retakes – but that’s a better problem to face than predictable dialogue lacking verve and energy. And that is exactly what Murphy brings to the table. An unrelenting wise-crack machine with a naughty streak and a disregard for authority – all done with a wink and a smile – give the film the two tones that have made it universally loved. At one level, an avenging detective story seeking to bring down vicious criminals, and on the other, a playful, approachable comedy about a scruffy, likeable cop from the hard lines of Detroit who does everything he can to make the sunny, wealthy area of California concede to his style and approach. Who can forget his banter with Serge (Bronson Pinchot), the art gallery employee who nearly steals the scenes he is in as he tries to wrap his thick European accent around Foley’s fist name (Ahmed, Ackmed, Ack…), or how he takes in stride with untethered sass the verbal lashings he receives from an his acerbic Inspector Todd (Gilbert Hill), or how he ingeniously stops Taggart and Rosewood from tailing him with fruit in the tailpipe of their car, or gets a suite at a fine hotel by pretending to be a Rolling Stone reporter interviewing Michael Jackson – all classic stuff that helped make Cop a smash hit.


Beverly Hills Cop remains a genuine highlight in Eddie Murphy’s career. Having starred in 48hrs, the classic Trading Places, and his legendary standup, Delirious prior to his casting (as well as the hiccup Best Defense), this film represents the first unequivocal career footstep of a bona fide comedy movie star.    Martin Brest provides merely adequate direction and the screenplay by Daniel Petrie, Jr., was undoubtedly saved by Murphy’s charisma and comedic inclinations, but the performances and Harold Faltermeyer’s unforgettable synth score saved the day. The casting of the goofy Judge Reinhold as Rosewood and the gruff, mildly rotund John Ashton as Taggart provided Murphy with a clever dynamic of characters to play off, sealing the ripe mixture and delivering one the funniest films of the 1980s.




The Video:  3.5 out of 5


Beverly Hills Cop makes its debut in 1080p High Definition framed at 1.85:1 and the results aren’t spectacular but are biased on the stronger end. Emerging from a noisy, more muted-color opening sequence in Detroit (perhaps an artistic choice), the transfer finds time to shine when Foley hits the West Coast. The image is generally dust and debris-free that can sparkle with clarity and definition. This isn’t a vibrant transfer, the image does not pop, but owners of the DVD release will immediately notice an improved image and will admire the lack of processing interference. Don’t expect shiny and you won’t be disappointed. This is a mid-eighties film with an image on par with Paramount’s release earlier this year of another early Eddie Murphy classic, 48 hrs.



The Sound: 3 out of 5


The first test for Beverly Hills Cop’s English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio comes during the opening chase sequence as an entire precincts squad car fleet vigorously pursues a truck carrying stolen cigarettes while the most famous of song of the film provides cover for the carnage – Glenn Frey’s The Heat Is On, and the results of this test are representative of the level of success for the entire audio. As the song plays it is apparent that it is clear, free of any real audio issues – no hiss, drop-outs or audio fluctuations, but it isn’t particularly dynamic. Certainly, there is plenty of bass (perhaps more than you might remember from previous the previous DVD release), and even a little rumble courtesy of the LFE, but it all seems somewhat lifeless. Dialogue is free of issues out of the center channel, but generally speaking, this audio is entirely unremarkable which is especially disappointing for those out there (like me) who were looking forward to a solid sound mix for Faltermeyer’s awesome (yes I pulled that word right out of the 80s) score.



The Extras: 3.5 out of 5


All of the special features have been ported over from the previous DVD release


Commentary by Martin Brest: The commentary, recorded for the DVD release back in 2002, provides a relatively interesting look back at shooting the film, though adding Eddie Murphy to the commentary would have been gold.


Beverly Hills Cop – The Phenomenon Begins (29:12): A relatively good look at the creation of the original film and the sequels it spawned with good perspective provided on the storied road to production which, as I noted in my review, included various different actors (and associated approaches) for the film.


A Glimpse Inside the Casting Process (9:35): Margery Simkin – casting director – discusses casting for the film.


The Music of Beverly Hills Cop (7:50): Fun by brief look at the hard-to-forget score for the film (though I will personally always prefer Faltermeyer’s score for Fletch)


Location Map: Find filming/scene locations and learn a little about each (7 in total)


Theatrical Trailer (HD)



Final Thoughts


Without Eddie Murphy, Beverly Hills Cop could have been dull; a fairly routine mixture of car chases and plucky detective work buoyed by a fish out of water premise. Fortunately, Murphy was cast and despite the lesser immediate sequel and an entirely forgettable (and dreadful) third entry in the series, it remains an iconic accomplishment in popular American cinema.



Overall 4 out of 5



Neil Middlemiss

Kernersville, NC


"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science" – Edwin Hubble
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#2 of 11 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted May 10 2011 - 05:42 PM

Thanks Neil.  I'm a big fan of Beverly Hills Cop.  I plan on upgrading my DVD to the Blu-ray for sure!



#3 of 11 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted May 10 2011 - 11:39 PM

Thanks for the review, Neil. I already have this on pre-order as an upgrade to the SD-DVD. Eddie Murphy is terrific in this film.



#4 of 11 OFFLINE   Ron Reda

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Posted May 11 2011 - 08:19 AM

As a HUGE Eddie Murphy and BHC fan, this is a day one, must-have. Posted Image


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#5 of 11 OFFLINE   Osato

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Posted May 24 2011 - 10:06 AM

I like this movie as well. I think it's curious that Paramount didn't release all 3 films at once.

Not sure why studios do this at times. Just release 1 film of a series...




#6 of 11 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted May 24 2011 - 11:47 AM



Originally Posted by Tim Haxton 

I like this movie as well. I think it's curious that Paramount didn't release all 3 films at once.

Not sure why studios do this at times. Just release 1 film of a series...




At least they didn't make us buy all three films at the same time as I'm only interested in the first film as I suspect that's the case with many others.








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#7 of 11 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted May 27 2011 - 06:16 PM

One thing that I noticed on the Blu-ray that hadn't occured to me before:  During the major truck chase in Detroit, it is now glaringly obvious that the stunt truck driver looks nothing like the man he is doubling.   The stunt driver has a full head of black hair.  The actor in the closeups behind the wheel is balding...


This is a movie I've always liked, but I do have to credit Martin Brest's direction for a lot of it.  At his most proficient, Brest had a real eye and ear for casting - and an attention to character detail that makes things a lot more interesting.  This same thinking applies to the scenes of his that survived into War Games (the "backdoor" hacking discussion with Maury Chaykin) and to Midnight Run.  A couple of examples of good direction in the movie are Axel's first meeting with Victor Maitland in his office.  On the surface, the dialogue is polite, even kind.  But as the critic for the LA Weekly pointed out in his review, the scene plays mostly on Axel's face, his expression telling us immediately that he doesn't believe a word Maitland is saying.  And the direction of Maitland goes the same way - it's clear he's simply toying with Axel to see what he knows.  The other scene that I've always found interesting is the strip club scene - both because it presented Brest with a nightmare of screen direction issues, and because there's a great shot of Axel where Eddie Murphy's expression tells us that for once he's being straight with the other two cops, particularly Taggart.  (It's the shot where he's pretending to dance to the music while keeping his eyes locked on the other cop - right before they get up to deal with the two guys that are obviously casing the place...)  I agree that the script isn't much to speak of, but they were really only using it as a guideline to set up the various scenes of Murphy ad-libbing the wisecracks.  The basic plot remained the same from when it was a full-on action film through its production as an action comedy.


There's a host of good performances and scenes here.  I still remember being intimidated by Jonathan Banks' Zack and by Stephen Elliott's Chief.  Gil Hill, on the other hand, works a lot better in close-up than he does in the wide shots.  Watching the movie again, I began to really notice him trying to figure out what to do with his hands while yelling at Murphy.  Once we go in close, that problem just goes away.  The one performance I still can't quite square is Lisa Eilbacher, who really is trying to do something good here - but there's nothing in the part but for her to be friendly with Murphy and then be held hostage until they can rescue her.


The thing that makes the movie stand out for me is that it's the first time that Murphy was starring in the movie as a solo lead, rather than a co-star with a more established actor.  In 48 Hrs, the lead really is Nick Nolte, but Murphy steals the movie almost outright.  In Trading Places, Murphy shares the movie with Dan Aykroyd in a clear idea of melding the then-two generations of SNL into a single movie.  Best Defense had Murphy in as a "Strategic Guest Star", if I remember the billing right - it was actually a bad Dudley Moore comedy and even Murphy admitted he was embarassed about it when he hosted SNL that December.  (He also said that anybody there would have done it if given the check he was handed for a couple of days of work.)  As of this film, Murphy became a solo star in his own right.  And for quite a long time, he was the single most successful alumni of SNL - certainly through the 80s and into the 90s.  These days, I don't know if Will Ferrell has begun to catch up to him - particularly since Murphy hasn't had a hit or a decent movie in many years now.  But when BHC came out, there was a fairly accurate story, named for the Michael Jackson ruse in the hotel, called "Eddie Murphy is Sitting on Top of the World".



#8 of 11 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted May 27 2011 - 08:00 PM



Originally Posted by Kevin EK 

One thing that I noticed on the Blu-ray that hadn't occured to me before:  During the major truck chase in Detroit, it is now glaringly obvious that the stunt truck driver looks nothing like the man he is doubling.   The stunt driver has a full head of black hair.  The actor in the closeups behind the wheel is balding...


I've been seeing similar comparisons with other films I viewed on BR or some other HD presentations.


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#9 of 11 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted May 27 2011 - 08:55 PM

Of course, the movie pushes it by having the stunt driver get out of the truck and try to run away after it crashes.  One of those real head-slapping moments.  I need to watch that with Brest's commentary on to see if he talks about that issue...


UPDATED:  Okay, I just watched the opening 15 minutes with commentary and got an explanation from Martin Brest.  The big shots of the truck chase, and a series of main titles shots were done in Detroit at the end of the shoot without the main cast.  The alleyway scene with Murphy and the other actors was done in Los Angeles at the start of the shoot.  The stunt coordinator and driver in Detroit, Gary McLarty, also drove the bus for the big shot where it goes 90 degrees across traffic.  So it would make sense why the stuntman would be the one to run away from the truck at the end of the shot since that was on location in Detroit and the actor was long off payroll back in Los Angeles...



#10 of 11 OFFLINE   Colin Jacobson

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Posted June 28 2012 - 06:25 AM


The first test for Beverly Hills Cop’s English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio comes during the opening chase sequence as an entire precincts squad car fleet vigorously pursues a truck carrying stolen cigarettes while the most famous of song of the film provides cover for the carnage – Glenn Frey’s The Heat Is On, and the results of this test are representative of the level of success for the entire audio.


Minor correction: "Neutron Dance" plays over the truck chase.  "Heat Is On" runs over the opening credits...


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#11 of 11 OFFLINE   Michael Rogers

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Posted July 14 2012 - 05:23 PM

This is one of those movies I bought and practically memorized in high school on CED disc to watch on my primitive stereo surround (L-R with delay) set up (with a 13" TV LOL) And I am frustrated how many of these movies that I know well just don't sound as agrresive and punchy as they did from the CED disc. Sounds I remember emphasized are burried, the surround is blah and stuff I remember on the left and right come out in the center. The worst offender is Ghostbusters and this is a big one too. Things I remember so well like the "thunk!" Axel makes when he falls when him and Mikey are attacked and how the crunching of the cars by the runaway truck were firmly on side where they occured are just not happening in the same way on blu ray. And to make it doubly frustrating, the HD version I once recorded from HBO was much more faithful to what I remember from the 80's (shown before it was put out on blu ray). Thankfully, some movies I get on blu ray that I had on CED are much mire faithful to what I remember. Creepshow, Alien, Altered States, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, The Thing, Rocky 3, etc but this overremixed stuff from Paramount and Sony in the audio department makes me groan (don't get me started on the early Star Trek movies soundtracks on both DVD and blu ray)