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Beverly Hills Cop (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

AH HA! Earlier this year, Paramount release The Beverly Hills Cop Trilogy to standard Blu-ray. It marked the first time the sequels were released on Blu-ray in the United States and boasted new 4K transfers for every film. We all wondered why not a 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release of them, then? Well, Paramount heard us, or the dollars were there for that trilogy set to suggest they knew we loved these movies. So, here we are 11 months later and the original film is getting the upgrade! Hell yeah! I’m okay with that. Its arriving with the same bonus features and audio, just the films 4K restoration is now in its native form. I’m very excited that it is a part of this Eddie Murphy celebration that Paramount is seemingly having on December 1st! You’ll find reviews coming for Coming To America 4K and the Paramount Presents for Trading Places and The Golden Child in the coming weeks on this very site. But, let’s kick things off with some Axel F! Pre-order available from the paid Amazon Associates link below.

Film

Originally published as a part of the Naptown Nerd Beverly Hills Cop Retrospective (July 2013)

After his childhood buddy is murdered while visiting Detroit, rebellious cop Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) follows the leads to Beverly Hills, Calif., under the auspices of a vacation. He checks in with old friend Jenny Summers (Lisa Eilbacher) and starts to believe her boss, art dealer Victor Maitland (Steven Berkoff), might somehow be involved in the murder. However, Lt. Bogomil (Ronny Cox) of the Beverly Hills Police Department does not trust Foley, and hinders his search for evidence.

The first film was released in 1984 but was in production for 7 years prior to that.  The first draft of the script was option back in 1977.  It was originally planned as a vehicle for actor Mickey Rourke, who was actually paid for the film.  He left, some other names threw around but ultimately landed on Sylvester Stallone.  Stallone wanted in on some of the story and such.  The film he wanted to make was ultimately too dark and gritty for what the studio was going for.  When an agreement couldn’t be reached, Stallone walked (but wouldn’t walk away from his take).  Then, a wild card and the best thing to happen to this film came abound.  Eddie Murphy was brought on to play the lead, Axel Foley.  The film was hitting production soon and a crazy amount of rewrites had to happen to make this work.

Without Eddie Murphy, this movie would have been just another generic 80s crime story.  All the details and the plot at hand are quite pedestrian.  However, it becomes better when taking that idea and twisting it on its head.  Rather than be that, it adds a heavy layer or comedy and a off the wall main character and it makes the film incredibly entertaining.  What on paper is a “fish out of water” type scenario become a fish very out of water.

I was shocked that pretty much all of the humor in this film holds up.  It actually is a lot more in line with the type of humor we have in films today.  A lot of it is improv based, which is what most of the top comedies nowadays are using.  Eddie Murphy is incredible as Foley.  This is akin to a Sean Connery as Bond in Dr. No or Clint Eastwood in Fistful of Dollars type performance.  He sinks himself in and is so comfortable and just eats up scenery.  I was finding myself general laughing out loud during this.  Another key player is Judge Reinhold.  He’s pretty damn good as Rosewood (so good, the character was originally supposed to be killed halfway through and survived instead), the oblivious young detective.  He shares great chemistry with Murphy and John Ashton as well.

One aspect that I really liked in the film was the relationship between Axel Foley and Jenny Summers.  They are longtime friends and that’s it.  There’s no romance involved there.  They’re allowed to just be friends.  A lot of times this kind of thing is forced on or “required’.  Here there is none of that.  In Stallone’s version, however, Jenny was indeed Axel’s girl.  I don’t know if the rewrite was done because of a fear of an interracial couple or whatnot, but i’m gonna take the film as it is now and say it was nice to see something rare like this.

What convo can’t be complete without discussing the theme?  Watching this film just makes me think…there’s really not a whole lot of “catchy” movie scores anymore, are there?  I’m not saying there are no good scores. No no no, so please don’t give me shit for that.  I’m just saying there’s nothing that strikes someone so good they get it stuck in there head and instantly associate it with a film.  When I first moved out to Los Angeles, I changed my ringtone on my cell phone to “Axel F”.  I tell you, if you want to draw a ton of unwarranted attention and the most puzzled looks on peoples’ faces, do this.  The more my phone rang, the more embarrassed I got.

Quick mention, Breaking Bad‘s hitman for hire Mike was in this film as the right hand thug of the baddie.  Jonathan Banks is someone I had apparently seen in a ton of movies (he’s in Gremlins, too) that I never too note of until Breaking Bad.  Dunno how it escaped me, but it did.  Looking at most of the cast, he’s likely the best off nowadays (Murphy aside), considering when he filmed this he was probably just a random character actor in the mix.

Do we want to discuss the banana in the tailpipe?  There is a notorious scene in the movie where Axel Foley thwarts 2 cops tailing him by shoving a few bananas up their tailpipe.  Upon takeoff, their car stalls.  This is constantly noted as a falsity and ridiculous all time film moment.  However, its not as bad as its made out.  If you were to clog the tailpipe with something, not allowing any exhaust out, your car would cease to transport you.  The problem here is the banana.  Its too light weight, slick and smooshy and would shoot right out upon some acceleration.  If somehow a few bananas (which Axel puts more than one in) were lodged in there and lodged in really good…MAYBE.  But still, its a banana and its not going to work.  So there you have it folks, the idea IS possible, but its VERY not likely to work.  See, you can learn some things here on Why So Blu.

Beverly Hills Cop surprisingly stands the test of time.  Some of the jokes are dated, but they are few.  The humor works and the story is solid.  Throw this one back in, its a film we should remember.  This one really does work on the same level it was intended to 36 years ago.

Video 

Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the standard Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Earlier this year and part of the Beverly Hills Cop Trilogy release, the film received a nice new 4K transfer for this release to celebrate the 35th anniversary. And now, almost a full year later, we can finally see the true beauty of that transfer displayed in proper. The original Beverly Hills Cop looks pretty terrific and still feels like you are watching a a theatrical print of the film. Its a bit grainy, but the depth and detail kept intact are pretty terrific. Where this one really jumps up from its standard counterpart is the color saturation and the more refined and natural blacks in the frame.

Depth:  With the improved clarity in the image, things space out and push back even more, opening up the film. Its not one for large scale, but the interiors feel more open and the actor and camera movements are more confident.

Black Levels: Blacks are much more natural, rich and saturated. They keep even more detail with textures and patterns even more readily apparent. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty strong and pop, with good saturation all around. HDR comes in very well with neon signs, tail lights, lamps and displays.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent throughout. Facial features and textures come through very neatly in any given realistic distance in the frame.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, German 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 2.0 Dolby Digital, Music Only 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, German

DynamicsBeverly Hills Cop comes with a 5.1 mix that has been around since its first original blu-ray release. And its a shame as it was a little bit weak of a mix, feeling a bit light and lacking in having any sort of real punch too it. Crank up your volume a bit and your subwoofer and it should suffice though still leaving much to be desired. The balance and mix overall is sufficient, just the impact is lacking.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The film lacks quite a bit in the subwoofer department. You want a little more blast from the action, but I want Axel F to bump when it comes on. It does disappoint in this department.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Its a bit of a front heavy track, with the rear channels providing ambiance mostly. There are moments where the shot will change and it retains what is going on with the other side of the action. Sound travel works plenty accurate from sound to screen.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp. No real issue with inaudible dialogue or it sounding dated.

Extras 

Beverly Hills Cop comes with the standard Blu-ray disc and a redeemable digital code. There are a couple additional featurettes found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Audio Commentary

  • By Director Martin Brest

Isolated Score Track

Deleted Scenes (HD, 3:49) – These are a new addition for this release and look to be sourced from a VHS tape. They are coded HD with a new border and graphics, but the meat is VHS sourced.

Behind The Scenes: 1984 Interviews (HD, 6:49) – This is a 4-part set contain some generic EPK interview stuff from Eddie Murphy and Martin Brest. Its all too short and is again VHS sourced but with some borders and HD encoded.

BHC Mixtape ’84 – This new feature allows you to pick from the songs “The Heat Is On”, “Neutron Dance”, “New Attitude”, “Do You Really”, “Stir It Up” and “Nasty Girl” and see the scene they play in the movie.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:33)

Summary

THIS is the Beverly Hills Cop release I wanted earlier in the year! I wish they’d have done the whole trilogy with an update, but at least the most important has found its day. The new 4K release is indeed a very nice improvement over the already terrific looking Blu-ray. I wish they’d revisit the surround track for this movie, but they seem content with what they have. The bonus features are missing a couple featurettes, but luckily they are here on the standard Blu-ray that is included with this release. Its friggin’ Beverly Hills Cop on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray. BUY IT!

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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