Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F review – "A return to the action thrillers of the '80s"

Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley in Netflix's Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F
(Image: © Netflix)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Much more fun than Coming 2 America. Don’t be surprised to see a fifth film greenlit.

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It’s been 30 years since we last saw Eddie Murphy’s motormouthed Detroit cop Axel Foley tearing up LA (and, shudder, Disneyland, sorry, Wonder World) in Beverly Hills Cop 3. But now he’s back, still silver of tongue as he brashly disobeys orders, but also following Mav’s lead in Top Gun: Maverick by being a little less cocky, a little more wise.

"They love me in Beverly Hills," grins Foley, this time drawn to the city to protect his estranged lawyer daughter, Jane (Taylour Paige – Zola, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), whose life is threatened when she defends a young man framed for murder. The real culprits, she believes, are LA cops operating under the jurisdiction of the Rolex-wearing Captain Grant (Kevin Bacon, out-sleazing his PI in Ti West’s MaXXXine).

Mark Malloy’s feature debut is a pleasing return to the action thrillers of the '80s and '90s, favoring a run-and-gun investigation that serves up police corruption, drug cartels and plenty of crunchy, in-camera vehicular mayhem. Old pals Taggart (John Ashton) and Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) are along for the ride, and variations on Harold Faltermeyer’s iconic score get plenty of mileage.

Is it as zesty as Martin Brest’s 1984 original? Of course not. But the father-daughter dynamic works well and the era shift means our fish-out-of-water hero now has to battle against being washed up. ("They don’t want swashbucklers out there anymore; they want social workers.") You might not be giving it the full Axel-like heh-heh-heh, but you’ll be smiling and chuckling throughout.

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F streams on Netflix from July 3. 

Check out our guides to the best Netflix shows and the best Netflix movies for what else to stream.

Editor-at-Large, Total Film

Jamie Graham is the Editor-at-Large of Total Film magazine. You'll likely find them around these parts reviewing the biggest films on the planet and speaking to some of the biggest stars in the business – that's just what Jamie does. Jamie has also written for outlets like SFX and the Sunday Times Culture, and appeared on podcasts exploring the wondrous worlds of occult and horror.