Overall | Beverly Hills Cop (1984) | Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) | Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)

Beverly Hills Cop-The Complete Line Up (Beverly Hills Cop I, II & III) (1984)

Beverly Hills Cop-The Complete Line Up (Beverly Hills Cop I, II & III) (1984)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 4-Jun-2003

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Overall Package

    Beverly Hills Cop and its two sequels (so far) have been defining moments in the career of their star, Eddie Murphy. I'm sure most film fans have seen at least one episode in the adventures of Axel Foley, and the iconic Axel F theme by Harold Faltermeyer has become part of popular culture. While Murphy has starred in a lot of excellent films since his first trip to Beverly Hills in 1984 (and, like all stars, a few not so good films), this is still his most recognized and popular role.

    The films in the series are a little different to most. Generally sequels follow soon after the original film, and in all but the longer series (such as James Bond) they have the same director. However, like Alien and its sequels these films appeared some years apart, and each with a new director who stamps his own vision and style on the film he helmed, with mixed results. I don't want to push the comparison too far, but each of these series started well, had a weak 2nd-last entry, and finished reasonably strongly.

    I have no doubt that some viewers will debate the importance of the director in these films - after all the producers and star Eddie Murphy also had a major influence. However, Judge Reinhold, who plays Rosewood in all three films, makes particular reference to the varying style of the three directors in the interview feature on the Beverley Hills Cop III disc. You only have to watch the large scale Blues Brothers style mayhem in the third film to see the influence of director John Landis on proceedings.

    If you like one or more films in the series you might be wondering whether you should purchase one or two of the films, or the boxed set. While I think the first film is much stronger than the other two, they all have fine action scenes and excellent comic moments, with the interaction between cast members particularly good. All of the discs have a nice (or better) picture, with some excellent 5.1 audio tracks also on offer. Each also includes a newly made interview feature, and they are of uniformly high quality, with some other excellent extras also on offer. It is hard to go past the box at the prices I have seen it on offer. If you must buy only one or two of the series, I would suggest the first DVD is the best, with the third film next best. My overall rating reflects the great entertainment value the boxed set provides.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Robert Davison (read my bio)
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Beverly Hills Cop (1984) | Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) | Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 7-Aug-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Martin Brest (Director)
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Featurette-Casting Beverly Hills Cop
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-Location Map
Gallery-Photo
Featurette-The Music Of Beverly Hills Cop
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1984
Running Time 100:49
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Martin Brest
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Eddie Murphy
Judge Reinhold
John Ashton
Lisa Eilbacher
Ronny Cox
Steven Berkoff
James Russo
Jonathan Banks
Stephen Elliott
Gilbert R. Hill
Art Kimbro
Joel Bailey
Bronson Pinchot
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Danny Elfman
Harold Faltermeyer
Jon Gilutin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
Spanish
Croatian
Greek
Hebrew
Portuguese
Slovenian
English Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Lots of stores on Rodeo Drive.
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The Heat Is On. At least that's what ex-Eagle Glen Frey tells us while singing the iconic opening song of Beverly Hills Cop. In this case he is correct on a number of levels. The heat is literally on as I write these words in the middle of an Australian summer. There are 37 degrees of heat beating down on me at the moment. The heat was also on for the cast and crew of the film. The original star signed on for the project was Sylvester Stallone, and it was going to be a full-on action movie. The studio was becoming nervous about the rising costs as Stallone added more and more action sequences into the film, so at the last minute they pulled the plug. Luckily for them, Stallone stepped aside gracefully (he could have demanded his full wages as compensation), and Eddie Murphy stepped into the breach.

    There were now only two weeks to go until production was due to begin. Major changes had to be made to the script as the action was toned down in favour of comedy and character interaction. Much of the dialogue that was removed was later used in the Stallone vehicle Cobra. The relationships in the film had to be changed drastically; the character of Mikey went from being Stallone's brother to Murphy's childhood friend. Lisa Eilbacher saw her role change from love interest to another friend of Murphy's. Script updates were often delivered to the set only 5 minutes before shooting.

    Amazingly. it all came together perfectly. In fact, the film is a lot better than Cobra eventually turned out to be (Cobra being a bit of below-par post Rambo action fluff). Part of this success must be due to Director Martin Brest, who mentions in one of the documentaries on the DVD that he is a big fan of improvisational techniques - they were used heavily in this film. As a successful live comedian, Eddie Murphy also brought his experience to bear to the benefit of many scenes.

    I imagine that most of you will have seen this film before, probably a number of times. Just to keep the boss happy I will run briefly through the story. Eddie Murphy plays Axel Foley, a brash young member of the Detroit police force. We meet him in the opening scenes trying to run a sting operation involving a truckload of 'hot' cigarettes he has 'borrowed' from the police impound. This leads to a great chase sequence where the truck demolishes half of the city to the pounding beat of the Pointer Sisters' Neutron Dance. The scene has been set - the heat is definitely on.

    After being berated by his boss for his "blatant disregard for proper procedure" (which he shows a lot of during the film), Axel returns to his apartment. He finds it has been broken into by his friend Mikey, an old partner in juvenile crime. Axel has gone straight - it is apparent that Mikey hasn't, as he has with him a satchel of German bearer bonds of dubious origin which he has apparently stolen from his boss in Beverly Hills. Some professional hit men knock Axel out and kill his friend. When Axel recovers he takes some leave from work, and heads out to the West Coast to find the killers. The rest of the film follows his quest as his unorthodox techniques and street-smart attitude clash with the buttoned-down Beverly Hills police.

    The film was a tremendous box-office success and is seen by many (including this writer) as the defining moment in Eddie Murphy's career. While his career has had its ups and downs over the years, he is stunning in this film; from his winningly cheeky smile as Foley to his superb over-the-top turn posing as "Ramone". My significant other was so impressed on viewing this film that she wanted to go straight on to watching the sequel. Only my iron will and professional pride (ha ha) allowed me to head for the PC to type these words rather than go along with her suggestion. The film works on many levels; it is an excellent action-comedy, plus the clash of cultures between the working class Foley and the upper-class attitude of the Beverly Hills police is nicely portrayed. There is also a great supporting cast, with Judge Reinhold and John Ashton outstanding as Beverly Hills cops Rosewood and Taggart. Also, watch out for Bronson Pinchot as Serge - he is only on the screen for a few minutes, but will make an impression that will last far longer.

    I was also interested to find that the film is holding its age very well. There have been many big-budget films in the Action-Comedy genre since this one. Few are as memorable (check out the scene where Foley is arrested for being thrown out of a window). The only minor flaw that stops me giving it the full five stars for plot is that occasionally the pace lags to allow time for some exposition. As Brest notes in the commentary, all of the expository scenes are required to keep the story comprehensible, especially the early scene establishing the bond between Mikey and Axel, but that one in particular does slow the pace unexpectedly. Don't get me wrong though, this film moves along at breakneck speed and you will be left wanting more when the final credits roll. Finish reading my review, then go out and buy this now if you haven't already. If you are in a hurry and can't wait, the picture and sound are fine, and the Extras are very good.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of this movie is good, though dated; fans will not be disappointed.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, which is acceptably close to the theatrical release ratio of 1.85:1.

    The film is reasonably sharp. At times the focus becomes a little soft for my liking, but it should please most viewers. Shadow detail is good throughout (see 17:12 and 34:48 for examples of excellent night shots). There is some minor grain apparent but it does not detract from the viewing experience.

    The colours are nice, though a little dated in appearance. They brighten up considerably once the film moves from Detroit to Beverly Hills, so part of the effect may have been by design.

    There are no MPEG artefacts of note. Some minor aliasing can be seen on the Venetian blinds at 26:59 and on a striped tie at 20:56 (I wish DVD authors would watch out for scenes like these and make appropriate adjustments in production to minimise the effect). Minor film artefacts also occur throughout (see 20:51 and 35:58) but they are small and infrequent on what is a good print overall.

    The subtitles are interesting. You have nine of them to choose from (plus another four for the commentary). The English ones I viewed generally do quite a good job of matching the spoken word, except when Murphy gets going. They just have no chance when he is in "motor-mouth" mode.

    This is a dual-layered disc, with the layer change at 70:12. It is brief and between two scenes and so does not affect the flow of the action.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer of the film is quite good, though not matching more recent efforts. This is still a nice presentation which appears to have been remixed from Dolby Surround to Dolby Digital.

    There are 5 audio tracks on the DVD. The main one is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 transfer presented at a transfer rate of 448 Kb/s. The audio commentary is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track presented at 224 Kb/s. There are three Dolby Digital 2.0 foreign language tracks with a transfer rate of 224 Kb/s (French, Italian and Spanish). I listened to the two English tracks in full, and segments of the Spanish track, which was an unusual experience. The Spanish track include Murphy's laughter, but his speech was dubbed and sounded nothing at all like him, which was rather surreal. Listening to this mess convinced me even more that dubbed tracks should be banned. Take my advice - stick to the native language and subtitles, as so much of the meaning is conveyed in the voice of the original actors.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand, so that all of Murphy's rapid-fire delivery came across as intended. Audio sync is also very good.

    The music in this film is excellent, and from the Extras presented on the disc it is apparent that the music was integral to the plot and to the action scenes in particular. There are two elements to the music in the film; the popular songs and the music by Harold Faltermeyer. They are both nicely represented in the sound mix, and each plays a part in the overall enjoyment of the film. Axel's Theme by Faltermeyer will stick with you for some time after viewing. It is as memorable in its way as the James Bond theme and is used in similar ways in this film, to highlight Axel doing his thing.

    The surround presence and level of activity are a little disappointing. Sound effects are a little thin at times and only the music projects much beyond the front of the soundstage. Given the remix that was necessary to get the film to 5.1 this is probably understandable, and I must stress that you will most likely be reasonably happy with the result. The same holds true for the subwoofer which sees more activity as support for the music than for sound effects. The explosions sound OK, but not as full as they might in a more modern film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The film is supported by a good selection of Extras, most of which are of high quality. For once this is a "Special Collector's Edition" which is deserving of the name.

Menu

    The menu is animated and 16x9 enhanced. From here you can choose to View the Movie, select Audio Options, choose Subtitles, access Special Features or go to Scene Selections (only 11 of those). The Extras are discussed below in the order they appear on the Special Features menu.

Audio Commentary - Director Martin Brest

    For someone who favours improvisational techniques, Director Martin Brest does not make a very good off-the-cuff speaker. He implies at the start of his commentary that he was waylaid with little notice to record the commentary; I don't know how true that is, but it certainly sounds like it. While he provides a reasonable amount of interesting background to the film and key scenes, he also spends a lot of time admiring his handiwork while the film runs on behind his silence, at full volume. As the audio level of the commentary is rather low, this means that the frequent film segments without commentary can be uncomfortably loud. Even Brest states that "I don't know if this qualifies as commentary, I'm getting hypnotized here".

    If you dislike commentaries I would give this one a miss, as many of the topics he discusses are also covered in the other Extras on the DVD. If you love the film, there is enough of interest here for you to listen once to it for completeness. As one example, Brest discusses a trade-off he had to make to retain one scene he felt was crucial for character development. The studio felt the film was too long and wanted to cut the scene - he was able to keep it only by retaining the final freeze-frame, which he felt was a bit cheesy (I like it).

Cast & Crew Interviews - The Phenomenon Begins

    This is a very interesting documentary which runs for 27:59 and is presented at 1.33:1 with film excerpts at 1.85:1. Most of the major figures in the cast and crew comment on their memories of the production and most of them are very good speakers (with the notable exception of Murphy who does not come across too well!). I have summarised some of the background for the film earlier in the review - check this one out for the rest of the fascinating story (including the fact that Murphy's boss is played by a real-life Homicide detective).

Casting Beverly Hills Cop

    In this relatively brief segment (9:13) we meet Casting Director Margery Simkin who elaborates on some of the information presented in the earlier feature. As she notes, it is unusual to see a film where the support cast are chosen before the star comes on board (as I noted, the film was originally meant to star Sylvester Stallone). There is some insight here as to how the chemistry still worked in spite of this difficulty.

Theatrical Trailer

    You either love these or think they are a waste of space. Personally, I find them an interesting insight into the way the film was presented to its intended audience. This one is not bad, nicely edited and almost as slick as the main feature. It runs for 2:26 and is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. I think this one convinced me to go and see the film when it was originally released.

Location Map

    We are presented here with a map of Los Angeles and the ability to select 7 film locations; doing so highlights the location on the map. If you then hit the "Enter" key (or equivalent) on your DVD player remote you are taken to a brief segment where Production Designer Angelo P. Graham outlines background facts about filming at that location. These brief clips (their length varies from 0:26 to 1:39) are quite informative and the feature, while a little gimmicky, works well.

Photo Gallery

    This is pretty much standard for this sort of thing, though a little light on. There are 32 reasonable quality photographs of the cast and crew at work.

The Music of Beverly Hills Cop

    This segment provides further insight into the selection of the songs for the film, and the work of composer Faltermeyer. Unfortunately, the man himself is not interviewed though there is some interesting insight into song placement and the influence exerted by music companies keen to have potential hit songs highlighted. In this case, one song was bumped because the director preferred the song Nasty Girl chosen by real-life stripper "Mouse" to accompany her act in the night-club scene.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of this DVD appears to have the same content as the local one. Reviews I have read suggest the same issues as on the local disc. Given the superiority of the PAL picture, the Region 4 is the preferred version.

Summary

    This is an excellent DVD presentation for a very popular film. The film itself is one of the better Action-Comedies you will see, with star Eddie Murphy at his prime backed up by a brilliant supporting cast, snappy dialogue, lively soundtrack and crisp editing. This one should be in your collection.

    The video quality is good, though a little dated.

    The audio quality is also good, with the music and dialogue well presented but the sound effects slightly disappointing by comparison.

    The Extras package provides a lot of interesting background on the film and its production - what more could you ask?

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Robert Davison (read my bio)
Sunday, January 11, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-K350, using Component output
DisplaySONY 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 DecoderKenwood. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationKenwood
SpeakersKenwood

Other Reviews
MovieHole - Clint M

Comments (Add)
Nasty Girl song artist -
Re: Nasty Girl Song artist -

Overall | Beverly Hills Cop (1984) | Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) | Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)

Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)

Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 7-Aug-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Deleted Scenes-With Tony Scott Introduction
Featurette-Music Featurette "Shakedown"
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1987
Running Time 98:43
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Tony Scott
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Eddie Murphy
Judge Reinhold
John Ashton
Jürgen Prochnow
Ronny Cox
Brigitte Nielsen
Allen Garfield
Dean Stockwell
Paul Reiser
Gilbert R. Hill
Paul Guilfoyle
Robert Ridgely
Brian O'Connor
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Harold Faltermeyer
Keith Forsey
George Michael


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
Spanish
Portuguese
Hebrew
Greek
Serbian
Slovenian
French Titling
Spanish Titling
Italian Titling
Smoking Yes, Lots of people.
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Beverly Hills Shops - Cartier, Chanel, others.
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    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.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There is a reasonable selection of extras on the disc which provide some insight into the production of the film.

Menu

    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.

Cast & Crew Interview - The Phenomenon Continues

    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.

Original Behind-the-Scenes Featurette

    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.

Deleted Scene with Tony Scott introduction

    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.

Shakedown Music Featurette

    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.

Theatrical Trailer

    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.

Censorship

    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.

R4 vs R1

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.

Summary

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Robert Davison (read my bio)
Monday, January 12, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-K350, using Component output
DisplaySONY 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 DecoderKenwood. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationKenwood
SpeakersKenwood

Other Reviews
MovieHole - Clint M

Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Beverly Hills Cop (1984) | Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) | Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)

Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)

Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 7-Aug-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 99:55
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Landis
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Eddie Murphy
Judge Reinhold
Hector Elizondo
Timothy Carhart
John Saxon
Theresa Randle
Alan Young
Bronson Pinchot
Rick Avery
Gilbert R. Hill
Dick Purtan
Fred Asparagus
Louis Lombardi
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Nile Rodgers


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
Spanish
Croatian
Greek
Hebrew
Portuguese
Slovenian
French Titling
Italian Titling
Spanish Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Well, here we are at Beverly Hills Cop III. If this is your first stop on the ride I suggest you read my reviews of Beverly Hills Cop and Beverly Hills Cop II so that the discussion which follows makes more sense to you. As a fan of the series I remember being curious back in the early 1990s about the amount of time it was taking to produce this film. I assumed it was because of problems getting the cast together. As it turns out, the problem was more with the story. Discussing the basic plot outline in the interviews segment on this DVD, Producer Robert Rehme comments that they "couldn't get it together" despite 4 or 5 attempts.

    When they did finally sort out the plot and arrange for the cast to come on board they were missing John Ashton, who played Taggart in the first two films. Given his central relationship with Judge Reinhold's character, Rosewood, in the first two films this was a major hole. Luckily, Hector Elizondo slips in to fill that hole quite nicely. His character in the film (John Flynn) works well with the other established members of the team. Eddie Murphy continues to play Detroit cop Axel Foley. Gil Hill also returns to reprise his role as Todd, Axel's boss (I have seen his name spelt Gil and Gill now - you can pick one if you like). A new director is also along for the ride, John Landis (director of The Blues Brothers and Trading Places amongst others) - more on that development later.

    The story opens in Detroit, as Axel Foley and his team stake out a suspect motor parts warehouse. Todd asks if they need SWAT team back-up, but Foley doesn't think so. Unbeknownst to them, the real heavies of the film, led by Ellis DeWald (Timothy Carhart in a nicely understated performance), have arrived in the warehouse to pick up a truck full of stolen US Government property. They execute the hoods in the warehouse and bust out past Foley, mortally wounding Todd in the process. A great car chase ensues but the villain manages to escape the pursuing Foley. Looks like they needed that SWAT team after all.

    Todd unfortunately dies from his wounds, but not before he asks Foley to bring his killer to justice; "Axel, are you on a coffee break? Go get the sonofab****". Touching words indeed. Evidence at the scene points to a link with the Wonderland amusement Park in California (a thinly veiled satire on Disneyland) and so Foley is soon on his way west for the third time. As before he teams up with Rosewood, as well as new pal Flynn (we are told that Taggart has retired), and wreaks havoc with the local establishment on his way to solving the crime (just what did the bad guys take from that truck back in Detroit?).

    With the change of director for this film, there are a few unexpected twists in the tale. There is a love interest for Foley this time, played spunkily by Theresa Randle, and Bronson Pinchot makes a surprise return as Serge, who we last saw in the art gallery in Beverly Hills Cop. Pinchot is just plain hilarious and his sales pitch for the Annihilator 2000 is worth the price of this disc alone. If you are a fan of old TV shows you might also recognize the owner of Wonderland, Uncle Dave (the Walt Disney of this fantasy land) - he is played by the star of Mr Ed, Alan Young. There is also a very nice moment where the Wonderland theme has been playing incessantly during a major gunfight (a satire on It's A Small World After All), and Flynn shouts "Turn that f----ng song off!". If you have spent a few days at Disneyland you might sympathise.

    These satirical jabs are just one new touch that John Landis brings to the film. One of the others is a little more problematic: at times he makes this film seem more like a sequel to The Blues Brothers than a Beverly Hills Cop film. Watch the scene where Rosewood arranges for the suspect truck to be seized, and then the scene in the Cook County offices near the end of The Blues Brothers - the police overkill is just as marked. While those of us who love the dumb humour in the latter film will laugh, it is just silly in the context of this film. In fact, after watching the film you will most likely be surprised it took 7 years to come up with the plot. Perhaps they left it simmering too long. What this means is that the film is less satisfying than the original, but I personally like it better than the second. Landis is more comfortable directing comedy than Tony Scott was in Beverly Hills Cop II, and the actors seem more at ease as a result. If you liked either of the others you will enjoy this one as well. Let's hope they make a fourth as Reinhold hints they might in the interview feature.

    As an added bonus, for those of you who are into spotting famous faces and know your movies, a number of film directors and film technicians make cameo appearances in this film. They blend in nicely and looking for them makes watching the movie a second time a nice game. I'm sure most of you will recognise George Lucas (American Graffiti and that sci-fi film, what was it again?). I'll leave it to you to spot them all, but to get you started look out for Joe Dante (Gremlins and The Howling) and stop-motion legend Ray Harryhausen (Jason and the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans) amongst others.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    After seeing the great picture on Beverly Hills Cop II I was a little disappointed with the video transfer on offer here. While it is generally pleasing, it does not look as good as a big-budget film that is barely 10 years old should.

    The transfer has an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. This is acceptably close to the theatrical release ratio of 1.85:1.

    The picture is reasonably sharp, but with some softer focus on occasion (see 16:15 for an example of the generally sharp picture). Shadow detail is fine - see around 9:38 where the night-time car chase exhibits good detail. There is no low level noise for most of the film, though some of the blue-screen work has a little (see 28:27).

    Colours are vivid for most of the film. Again, the early Detroit scenes are darker by way of contrast to sunny California, which is a deliberate artistic decision. Some of the scenes in Wonderland are particularly colourful - see 22:37 for a nice shot.

    The most disappointing aspect of this transfer is the amount of damage to be seen on the print. While it is small and not hugely significant, it is apparent through most of the film. There is some pixelization (31:20) and also a number of film-to-video artefacts. Venetian blinds are again a problem with aliasing (see 49:57) and edge enhancement is apparent at times around characters' hair (17:48 for one example). Minor positive and negative artefacts can also be seen (see 19:57 for some damage at the lower right of the screen).

    The subtitles (you have 9 languages to choose from) are not particularly accurate. At times they miss words, and once or twice entire sentences. The line "Welcome to the Beverly Hills police department" becomes "Welcome to Beverly Hills".

    There is a brief layer change at 62:01, which might be disruptive on some players as it is in the middle of a scene.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Luckily the audio transfer is better than the video transfer. There are four audio tracks on the disc; English, French and Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks encoded at 448 Kb/s, and a Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track encoded at 224 Kb/s. I listened to the English track and parts of the Italian. The actor dubbing Murphy makes a good attempt to match him, but ultimately fails.

    Dialogue quality is clear throughout, with good audio sync. Even during scenes where Murphy is talking very fast he is always understandable.

    The music starts off well, with a nice Supremes song, but goes downhill after that. The Axel F theme is the only notable element. The other songs and accompanying music are purely functional, and nothing more.

    There is excellent surround presence in both the music and the effects. At all times the music is projected with a fully dimensional soundfield which gives all 6 speakers a good workout. Sound effects are more carefully controlled in their use of space, but are all the more effective when they kick in (listen to the 'alien attack' theme park ride at 83:01 for an excellent use of the surrounds). Gunfire and explosions are nicely aggressive (try the gunshots at 7:10). The subwoofer is nicely engaged to support the sound effects without being overly utilised.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The selection of extras is small, but what is on offer is of good quality.

Menu

    The menu is animated with music. From it you can Play the Movie, choose Audio Options (language), access Special Features (all two of them; they needed a separate menu for that?), select Subtitles, or go to Scene Selection (14 to choose from).

Theatrical Trailer

    This is a fast-paced presentation which runs for 1:45 at an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced. Be careful - it gives away more of the plot than I do in my synopsis.

Cast & Crew Interviews - Triple Axel

    As with the first two discs, this one is newly produced and is good value. It has an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 for the interviews and 1.85:1 for the film excerpts. There is a lot of interesting background information on offer here. I was interested to hear Murphy claim that this film had Axel going "Back to reality" and that it is "as good as" the first. I think he might live on a different planet than the rest of us.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of this disc appears to miss out on:

    For this reason, and because of the superior PAL picture, the Region 4 version is preferred.

Summary

    This is a nice conclusion to the Beverly Hills Cop film series (so far). While the plot is not the best, the stars are in fine form and there are some excellent action and comedy moments. The picture is acceptable and the audio quality is very good, and there is a small but useful set of extras. This one is reasonable value by itself, but you would probably be best buying the boxed set of all three films.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Robert Davison (read my bio)
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-K350, using Component output
DisplaySONY 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 DecoderKenwood. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationKenwood
SpeakersKenwood

Other Reviews
MovieHole - Clint M

Comments (Add) NONE