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Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F

The Heat's back on!

For the first time in 37 years, because I refuse to acknowledge "Beverly Hills Cop III", Eddie Murphy delivers superb action, buckets of nostalgia and big laughs in BEVERLY HILLS COP: AXEL F.

This new sequel is a hit parade of everything we loved about the first two films, with the cast to prove it.

The film opens with a fun action scene as Axel goes after bad guys in the middle of a Detroit winter, doing more damage than Homer Simpson behind the wheel of a snow plow.

(If you know, you know.)

Paul Reiser is back as Foley's chief, and their rapport is as fresh as it was decades ago.

When Axel's estranged daughter, Los Angeles public defender Jane (Taylour Paige) gets pulled into a drug case that exposes corruption within the Beverly Hills PD, he gets a call from former cop and current PI Billy Rosewood (a superb Judge Reinhold) who offers to pick up Axel the next morning at LAX.

But Billy disappears and Axel is off and running, doing what he does best as he blazes a laugh filled trail across the gold covered shops of Rodeo Drive.

Kevin Bacon is terrifically slimy as Captain Cade Grant and John Ashton makes a very welcome return as Taggart, who's now Chief of police.

The story is a bit predictable, but I was having way too much fun to care.

The action scenes are first rate and staged on a grand scale.

Murphy feels completely engaged and completes a full return to form after a tired effort in part III. His timing is flawless and watching him reunited with Reinhold & Ashton is a treat that delivers huge laughs.

The always great Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a welcome add as Bobby, a straight shooting detective and former boyfriend of Jane's. He's believable in the action scenes and delivers every punch line on target.

Even Bronson Pinchot makes a return as Serge. Thankfully this time around he's a Beverly Hills Real Estate agent, which makes total sense versus the filmmakers turning him into an arms dealer in the third film. Pinchot is hilarious.

Screenwriter Will Beall (Aquaman, Bad Boys: Ride or Die) has clearly worked closely with Murphy to recreate the spirit of the first two films and finds a deft balance between providing new thrills while nostalgically taking us back to many scenes we know and love.

Composer Lorne Balfe continues his stellar recent work.

His work on the last Mission Impossble film was fantastic, he found brilliant ways to modernize the 1980's Top Gun score we all knew and loved for "Top Gun: Maverick" and he does the same here. His riffs on the Axel F theme are excellent. The front half of the film is also loaded with remakes and spins on the hits we all loved back in the first two films, including Glenn Frey's "The Heat is On", The Pointer Sisters "Neutron Dance" and "Shakedown" by Bob Seger.

I had a huge grin on my face watching Murphy tear up Beverly Hills as all the tunes poured out of the past.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer delivers a big budget, large scale, polished action flick that would have been just at home on the big screen as it is at home, premiering July 4th weekend on Netflix. For decades, Bruckheimer has brought his special, high sheen mix of humor and violent danger to viewers. He's in his element again, reteaming with Eddie.

Now 63, Murphy looks great, never seems out of place in the action scenes and is just as quick with a punch line as he was in his 20's. This is Eddie Murphy at his charming, winning best.

Welcome back, Eddie. You get a nostalgic, funny and hugely enjoyable A.



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