MOVIES

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F Review

It’s been 30 years since we last saw him, but Axel Foley is still a determined, rule-breaking Detroit police detective, willing to do just about anything to get his perp no matter what his superiors have to say about it. Axel’s old-school ways get him in plenty of trouble in his home city, but when his estranged daughter Jane (Taylour Paige), a well-meaning defense attorney, gets into trouble in California, he decides it’s worth making a little trouble back on the West Coast, too. After a call from his old friend Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold), Axel is back in Beverly Hills, much to the chagrin of Billy’s former partner (and Axel’s old friend) John Taggart (John Ashton).

Right away, there are problems. For one thing, despite threats on her life from corrupt forces somewhere within the police department, Jane doesn’t really want her dad’s help after years of very little contact and even less love. For another, Billy’s turned up missing after getting close to a key piece of evidence. Then there’s the young detective Bobby Abbott (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who might be Jane’s ex-boyfriend and definitely doesn’t want the legendary Axel Foley sniffing around his case. All that and a gang of hired killers, too, but it’s all in a day’s work for Axel.

There’s an immediate push-pull at work in this story — not just between Axel’s way of doing things and the ways of the people around him, but between the man Axel wants to be and the man he actually is. The script (by Will Beall, Tom Gormican, and Kevin Etten) is satisfyingly adept at setting up these stakes between Axel and Jane and even between Axel and himself. Even more satisfyingly, those stakes actually end up paying off even as the film gets into some good old-fashioned “Beverly Hills Cop” action.

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