Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Deleted Scenes-With Tony Scott Introduction
Featurette-Music Featurette "Shakedown"
|Year Of Production||1987|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Tony Scott|
Paramount Home Entertainment
Gilbert R. Hill
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Smoking||Yes, Lots of people.|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, Beverly Hills Shops - Cartier, Chanel, others.|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
In one of the documentaries on the Beverly Hills Cop DVD, Eddie Murphy states that when faced with an original concept Hollywood loves to "go back and try to rehash it". This is very much the case with Beverly Hills Cop II. Following the success of the first film the producers spent some time trying to turn the concept into a TV series. Faced with a lukewarm reception from key cast members they finally decided to make another movie which was released three years after the earlier film.
Luckily, all of the key cast members were available to reprise their roles. Eddie Murphy returns as the street-smart Detroit cop Axel Foley. Also along for the ride are John Ashton and Judge Reinhold as Beverly Hills policemen Taggart and Rosewood. Once again the interaction between these two is a joy to watch though it is not as well delineated as it was in the first film. Other key figures to return include Ronny Cox as Captain Bogomil (Taggart and Rosewood's boss), and real life detective Gill Hill as Axel's harried supervisor, Todd.
I won't rehash the plot of the first film here - check out my review of that film for a quick summary. This time around the film opens in Los Angeles as a sleek black limo pulls up to the kerb, a sexy blonde (Brigitte Nielsen) steps out, pulls a gun, and a robbery begins. We cut back to Detroit where Foley is running a complex credit card sting against a criminal suspect. Back in Los Angeles, Bogomil is investigating the robbery which is one of a string of unsolved crimes. He is due to go fishing with Foley but calls off the trip because he thinks he is close to solving the crime spree. It is apparent that Foley has been spending quality time with his old friends from the first film.
Back in Detroit, Todd is running out of patience - in response to Foley's suggestion that he smells a breakthrough in the credit card case he shouts "All I smell is your b******". Meanwhile, Bogomil is gunned down by the crooks (who are nervous that he is getting too close to them) and Foley contrives a way to head out to Los Angeles to track down those responsible. He enlists the aid of Taggart and Rosewood and the three begin to bend a few rules to solve the case. In reacting to this bending of the rules, the script is overly fond of melodramatic 'end of career' threats. I know it is only a film, but surely policemen are not threatened with the sack every single time they get something wrong. In this film we have suspensions, demotions, sackings and threats seemingly every few minutes.
I apologise for presenting a rather convoluted plot summary, but that is the way the film is. It has a confusing and contrived storyline, as if the writers (one of whom was Eddie Murphy) could not come up with a way to sensibly bring the disparate parties back together again. The focus of the film has also shifted as a result of a new director being at the helm. The director of the first film was Martin Brest, who was apparently more comfortable with the comic elements and character development of the first film. This time the director is Tony Scott, who notes that he is more comfortable with action scenes than with comic moments; so that we now have an Action film with elements of comedy, which sits rather uncomfortably with the three leads who seem keen to inject as much comedy as they can. Scott has had a mixed career; while he directed the excellent Crimson Tide, he has also been responsible for a number of films which stress style over substance (including Top Gun and Enemy of the State) - Beverly Hills Cop II is also a noisy piece of action fluff.
So, is this film a major disappointment as some more recent sequels have been (Matrix anyone)? Well, not entirely. Murphy is once again in fine form as Axel Foley, as well as hamming it up as "Johnny Wishbone - psychic extraordinaire". There are some sly references to the first film with posters of Sylvester Stallone on display, including one for Cobra (hmm, sly, Stallone, is that meant to be a poor pun?). As I mentioned in the review of the first film, Stallone was first choice to star. When he left the project, he took a lot of the script with him and used it in Cobra (and he was also the spouse of Nielsen at the time, which is another link). Some of the action scenes are also effective. On the flip side, even the music, which was such a highlight of the earlier film, is less inspired this time around - Bob Seger singing Shakedown is just not as dynamic as Glenn Frey singing The Heat Is On. Personally I don't think this film is good enough to go out and buy on its own, but as part of the set of three Beverly Hills Cop films it is a reasonable action film which will pass the time well enough.
The video transfer of this movie is quite good, if a little dark at times. While there is little damage on show, and some nice use of colour, there is a very slightly dated appearance overall.
The aspect ratio of the transfer is 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, which is the original theatrical release ratio. The first film was shot at 1.85:1 - perhaps Tony Scott prefers the dramatic sweep of the wider screen.
The transfer exhibits a sharp picture, but one which is too dark in some scenes. Around 17:27 shadow detail is seen to be mixed, with parts of the on-screen detail difficult to see. Coupled with the slightly dark transfer is the penchant that Scott has for using backlighting - see 18:55 and again at 37:00 where this practice makes it all but impossible to see the face of the characters in key moments of dialogue. This may well have been by directorial choice, but I found it particularly annoying. There is no appreciable low level noise to worry about.
Colours vary throughout the transfer, usually for artistic effect. As with the first film, Detroit is dark and contrasts with the bright colours in Beverly Hills. Director Scott particularly likes dramatic orange skies to frame key action scenes - this is one of his signature touches which is used to good effect here. Flesh tones are natural and add to the 'fresh' look of much of the film.
The transfer is in very good physical condition. I would like to regale you with lots of timed instances of artefacts or aliasing so that you can see how closely I watched the disc, but there is nothing significant to report. Some minor artefacts occur, but they are small and infrequent.
You have 9 subtitle languages to choose from. I watched parts of the English ones. While they are reasonably accurate to the meaning of the spoken word, they frequently omit one or more words, and sometimes an entire phrase. As with the first film, once Murphy gets going all bets are off, and the subtitles are just an approximation.
I did not notice any layer change during the film, so if there is one it is very well placed as fades were short in duration.
The main audio track on this DVD is very good, and a definite improvement over the sound presentation for the first film.
There are four audio tracks on the disc, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded with a transfer rate of 448 Kb/s, and three foreign language Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks encoded at 224 Kb/s (French, Spanish and Italian). I listened to the English track in full, and extensive excerpts from the Italian track. For a change, the actor dubbing Eddie Murphy is not too bad, and carries off the rapid verbal exchanges quite well. However, this track is somewhat disconcerting as it frequently uses the original actor's voice when a name is spoken, then reverts to the native speaker for the dub - the change of voice can be quite disorienting.
Dialogue quality is clear throughout, though the volume level of the dialogue is a little low compared to the sound effects. This seems to have become a common problem with modern films which like to blast viewers out of their seats with impressive sound effects. The audio sync is good, though when Murphy is talking fast, well, you tell me.
The music in this film is not as impressive as it was in its predecessor. The Axel theme from composer Harold Faltermeyer is still effective, and nicely varied here. The main problem is that the collection of popular songs backing the action is fairly weak - perhaps the studio executives did too well with their product placement. Having said that, after years of popular hits Bob Seger had his first number one song on the US charts with Shakedown.
The highlight of the audio transfer is the excellent spatial presence established right from the first minute. The music is nicely immersive and supported by sound effects that have real bite, the explosions and gunshots in particular sounding very good. The subwoofer is also nicely engaged during pounding musical moments and as deep bass support for sound effects.
|Surround Channel Use|
There is a reasonable selection of extras on the disc which provide some insight into the production of the film.
The menu is animated with audio, and is 16x9 enhanced. From the main menu you can choose to Play the film, select Audio Options, enable Subtitles, go to the Special Features or to Scene Selection (where you have 13 choices of scene). The Extras are described below in the order they are found on the Special Features menu.
This feature appears to have been specially prepared for the DVD, and as with the first film in the series this is the best of the Extras. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 for interviews, and 2.35:1 for film excerpts, and runs for 21:14. It is interesting to hear Murphy say that there is more comedy this time around, while Scott states that action is the focus this time. As I mentioned earlier I feel that this dichotomy is part of the reason that the film does not quite gel.
Running for 6:49, and with a very washed-out videotape look, this feature adds some interesting snippets of information not covered in the first feature.
Left out with good reason, this scene is still quite amusing to watch. It runs for 3:12 at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is just the sort of thing DVDs should be including.
Harold Faltermeyer and other crew members talk about the title song and its role in the film, as well as providing some background on song selection generally. Runs for 4:46 and is not too interesting.
The trailer proclaims that 'The heat is still on". I disagree. It runs for 2:19 at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced and is strictly average as far as trailers go. The producers of the trailer seem a little vague as to what highlights of the film to sell. There is censorship information for the trailer below.
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The basic features of the Region 1 and Region 4 versions of the disc are identical. The Region 4 has a PAL picture and extra foreign language soundtracks and so is the preferred version.
While Beverly Hills Cop II is a disappointing sequel to Beverly Hills Cop it is still a pleasant enough diversion if you like action films. Perhaps best purchased as part of the 3-film boxed set, this will still hold appeal to fans of the first movie, but less to the general audience who might have enjoyed the first outing. The DVD itself is nicely produced, with good picture and sound, and a reasonable selection of extras.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-K350, using Component output|
|Display||SONY VPL-HS10 LCD projector, ABI 280cm 16x9 screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Kenwood. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|