Monday, June 17, 2024


Beverly Hills Cop
Director: Martin Brest
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Ronny Cox, Steven Berkoff, Jonathan Banks
Released: December 5, 1984

Oscar nomination:
Best Original Screenplay - Daniel Petrie Jr. and Danilo Bach (lost to Robert Benton for Places in the Heart)

Beverly Hills Cop II
Director: Tony Scott
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Ronny Cox, Brigitte Nielsen, Dean Stockwell, Paul Reiser, Jurgen Prochnow
Released: May 20, 1987

Oscar nomination: 
Best Original Song - "Shakedown" by Harold Faltermeyer, Keith Forsey, and Bob Seger  (lost to ("I've Had) the Time of My Life" by Frank Previte, John DeNicola, and Donald Markowitz from Dirty Dancing)

Beverly Hills Cop III
Director: John Landis
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Hector Elizondo, Timothy Carhart, Stephen McHattie 
Released: May 25, 1994

Cue the synthesizers and other '80s electronic instruments because it's time to head to Beverly Hills with Axel Foley as I review the Beverly Hills Cop trilogy (soon to have a fourth!). I don't think any of these movies are particularly good, but they are fun to watch (well, the first two anyway!) and you can tell when Eddie Murphy improvises during a scene and those are some of the funniest scenes in the films. 

When watching the first movie, there were only five actors I was familiar with:

1. Eddie Murphy, obviously.
2. Judge Reinhold - I probably couldn't tell you anything he's been in unless I looked up his filmography, but I'm definitely familiar with his name. I do remember he was in The Sant Clause movies.
3. Bronson Pinchot - It's Balki from Perfect Strangers
4. Paul Reiser - he looks younger than his My Two Dads character, much younger than his Mad About You character, and way younger than his Stranger Things character! 
5. Jonathan Banks  - yes, Mike Ehrmantraut (from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul for those who may not know) is in this! Actually, I didn't recognize him at all and it was only when I was watching the credits that I realized he was in this.

Axel Foley (a very young (and skinny!) Eddie Murphy) is a cop who lives in Detroit. This little detail surprised me, as I assumed he lived in California since the movie is called Beverly Hills Cop. The movie opens with Axel going undercover in a sting operation and it ends up in a high speed car chase (set to The Pointer Sisters' "Neutron Dance"; what is a Neutron dance anyway?). He does this without any authorization and his boss, Inspector Todd, is livid. Before he gets chewed out by him, Axel's fellow cop, Jeffrey (played by a very young Paul Reiser) tries to warn him that he's about to get it and right before Inspector Todd comes into the locker room to yell at Axel, Jeffrey turns around and pretend to be interested in the lockers. At one point, he (stupidly) intervenes in the conversation and Todd snaps at him that this is none of his business. He turns back to the lockers and exclaims, "This is not my locker!" This will come back in the second movie which was a nice nod to this scene. 

Inspector Todd tells Axel that if he ever does anything like that again, he will be fired. 

When Axel returns home, he notices the door to his apartment is slightly ajar. If that happened to me, I would be freaked out! However, being a cop, Axel has a gun, so he takes it out and scopes out his apartment. Luckily, he doesn't have anything to worry about because it's just an old friend of his named Mikey (which I didn't get his name until way later so maybe I missed it when we first meet him) who's sitting in his kitchen, eating. Actually, he does have to worry about Mikey wasting his electrical bill because he has the refrigerator door propped open. I'm guessing the A/C must be broken and he's doing that to keep cool, but, dude,' c'mon! Everyone knows you don't leave the fridge door open longer than is necessary. 

We quickly find out that Mikey was in jail for breaking and entering, but he was released a year early and has already been out for six months where he's spent some time in California (Beverly Hill, I presume!). They haven't seen each other in two years. Mikey shows Axel a stack of "untraceable bearer bonds worth 10,000 Deutschmarks." Axel asks if he stole them, then quickly rescinds his questions, saying he doesn't even want to know. I have no idea how much that is worth in US dollars, but considering that Germany uses the Euro now I don't think this will be a great future investment! In fact, this will be a fatal investment for Mikey. I'm sorry, but this guy seems like a real dumbass. 

But before Mikey meets his demise, at least he will have a fun night out with Axel as they go out to drink beer and shoot some pool. We get some more exposition as Mikey tells Axel he was in Beverly Hills (aha! I was right!) as a security guard. He was hired by a mutual friend of theirs, a woman named Jenny Summers who's the manager of a super fancy art gallery. Later, we will find out that Jenny's boss hired him as a favor for her. I guess Jenny didn't tell her boss that he did time for stealing because who the hell would hire this guy? 

They're both drunk when they return to Axel's apartment and as he's trying to unlock his door, two guys ambush them from both sides, knocking Axel out. They roughhouse Mikey and slam him against the wall and grab the bag he's carrying with the bonds in it (I love how he's just conveniently carrying them around). Mikey clearly knows who they are and tells them he was going to bring them back (yeah, right!); that he only took a couple stacks and didn't think they would miss them. Oh, they missed them, alright! They shoot him in the head right in the middle of the hallway. One of the guys who kills him is played by Jonathan Banks, and like I mentioned, the first time I saw this, it didn't even register with me that was him, but when I watched it again to take notes and knew this time he was in it, I definitely saw him. He's younger (but still old, if that makes sense) and has a lot more hair, but you can tell by the eyes and the voice. 

Somebody must have called the police because the next thing you know they're at the apartment and Axel is outside talking to Inspector Todd. He's really lucky that they just didn't kill him too, but then I guess we wouldn't have a movie. Or it would have been a very different movie! Todd warns Axel not to get involved in this case so Axel asks if he can take some vacation time which he's granted, but Todd tells him if he finds out he's butting into the case, "it will be the longest vacation [he]ever heard of." 

Now we see palm trees so we know Axel is in Beverly Hills. You would think that since he lives in Detroit, he would fly out to California, right? Wrong! He drives all the way out there in his crappy car, a Chevy Nova. It's 2,300 miles from Detroit to Beverly Hills. Who would drive that distance when you can fly out there in about five hours? (Still a long flight, but much better than driving!) 

After he obtains a hotel room he clearly can't afford, he goes to the art gallery where Jenny works. Before he's reunited with her, he meets Serge (Bronson Pinchot) who works at the gallery. He has some Eastern European accent (perhaps he hails from the Greek isle of Mypos?) and calls Axel "Ack-swell". Serge is only in two scenes, but he leaves a memorable impression. He is hilarious; when he sees a fellow co-worker with too many buttons on his shirt left open, he tells him to button it up because it's not sexy (and I loved when Axel agrees with him); when he tells Axel how much a piece of art work went for, Axel says, "Get the f*** out of here!" (because it's a very high price for a very odd piece!), he replies, "No, I cannot!" which cracked me up. He also offers Axel a cup of espresso with "a twist of lemon", but Axel politely declines. 

Axel and Jenny (as we'll learn in a later scene) know each other because they grew up in the same neighborhood. I guess Mikey was also part of this friend group too? IDK. Axel has to break the news to her that Mikey is dead and this is when we find out that her boss, Victor Maitland (Steven Berkoff), who is one of the top art dealers in the U.S., hired him as a favor to her and Mikey worked at the gallery warehouse. 

Axel shows up at Maitland's office building posed as a delivery man with flowers and tells the receptionist that "it's imperative" that Mr. Maitland get the flowers (why? they're just flowers!) and goes to deliver them himself even though she tells him that all deliveries are left on the desk. He barges into the office and gets to the point when he tells him he needs to ask him some questions about Michael Tandino and explains that he was in Detroit and someone killed him. Maitland's exclamation of "Oh my God! That's terrible!" isn't convincing at all. He confirms that Mikey did work for him and when Axel still probes for information, he tells him that the authorities in Detroit should look into this and that he needs to get back to work. This must be the cue for his six guards to grab him and throw him out the window. A bit excessive, especially with people in the lobby witnessing all of this. One guard leading him out the front door would have sufficed. 

The cops come to take him to the police department as he's been charged with having a weapon (they find a gun on him) and disturbing the peace. He's pretty outraged about the latter since he was thrown out a window! After spending some time in a cell (with a pay phone which he makes a joke about wanting to order a pizza; yes the pay phone is in the actual cell), they let him out. On the outside, the Beverly Hills Police Department is a very ornate building and on the inside, it's very high-tech (especially for 1984!). 

He's introduced to sergeants John Taggart (John Ashton) and Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) who question him why he didn't identify himself as a police officer when he was arrested and Axel replies he was just minding his own business, but Taggart informs him that six witnesses saw him come in and tear up the place, then jump out the window. Let me guess: those six "witnesses" were the six security/body guards. Taggart and Axel don't get off on the right foot as the Beverly Hills cop tells Axel he's more likely to believe an established businessman than some "foul mouthed jerk from out of town." Axel answers withs a foul-mouthed response. They get into a squabble and Taggart punches him in the gut. From his office, Taggart's and Rosewood's boss, Lieutenant Bogomil (Ronny Cox,) sees this and after having a word with Taggart, he (Taggart) apologizes to Axel. Bogomil introduces himself to Axel and asks him if he would like to press charges against Taggart, but he says where he comes from, police officers don't do that to other police officers. Bogomil asks why he didn't inform them why he was in town and he tells them he's on vacation. When asked why he was in Maitland's office, Axel says he had to use the bathroom and thought that would be a good place. I don't know, that sounds kind of like a weak excuse. If you're walking down a street, are you going to go into an office building to use the bathroom? I mean, maybe, but I'd feel like you're more likely to use either a public bathroom or one at a restaurant or a fast food place. Bogomil asks if he always takes his gun on vacation and Axel replies that he's never been on vacation before, but in Detroit "cops are required to carry a firearm at all times." Bogomil informs him he had just been talking on the phone with Inspector Todd and that he's supposed to give him the message that if he's investigating the Tandino murder, then he shouldn't bother coming back to Detroit. Axel stills insists he's only in Beverly Hills on vacation. 

This is totally random and has nothing to do with the movie, but the name "Bogomil" reminded me of something and it finally dawned on me that it sounds a lot like Gargamel, you know, as in the villain from The Smurfs

Jenny pays for Axel's bail and takes him back to his hotel. During the drive, Axel notices the cops are following them and they park on the opposite side of the street of the hotel. In his room, Axel orders room service (the bay shrimp salad sandwich and the cold poached salmon in dill sauce) and instructs them to take it to the car with Taggart and Rosewood. This is all to distract them as Axel sneaks in behind their car and puts a couple of bananas in their tail pipe so the car stalls when they try to follow Axel and Jenny who drive to Maitland's warehouse where Axel finds a crate full of coffee grounds. They have to hide from some guys coming in with a box, but from where he's hiding, he's able to see that it's full of the bearer bonds that Mikey had. They follow them to what Jenny tells Axel is a "bonded warehouse", where they "hold foreign shipments until they clear customs." Axel tells a reluctant Jenny to take the car (it's her car they took, btw) and go home because he wants to check out the place. I know he doesn't want Jenny to be in harm's way if things go bad, but my first thought was how is he going to get back to his hotel? 

He walks inside, not trying to be sneaky, and when a security officer spots him, Axel smiles at him and asks how he's doing, then asks the man if he can get his supervisor and flashes his badge. The guy gets the supervisor and Axel introduces himself as "Inspector Rafferty, United States Custom Service" and asks him if all this stuff has passed through customs and the guy tells him this is "the bonded area." Axel wants him to answer a question for him: "How can a black man, dressed like me (he's wearing jeans, t-shirt, and unzipped hoodie), just march into your warehouse, walk into the bonded area and start poking around without anyone asking me any questions whatsoever?" It cracked me up when the supervisor replies "I don't know" and he says that's the answer he was looking for. He takes their ID badges from them and tells them somebody's gonna lose their job over this. He informs them he does "security checks all over the nation" and this one has the worst security in the nation right behind Cleveland. I'm sure back in 1984, the people of Cleveland watching this in the theaters had a big chuckle over this line. He tells them they're going to check the background of each and every crate in the section, starting with the one he's already picked out that he knows belongs to Maitland.  

It's amazing how they just go along with this and don't even ask to see his credentials, but I guess things were different back in the '80s. Or maybe it's just for the convenience of the plot and people really weren't that dumb back then. 

Meanwhile, Bogomil is furious about the banana incident and orders that Taggart and Rosewood wait for Axel to return to the hotel. We get a funny scene of them in the car where Rosewood shares the information from the magazine article he's reading: "By the time the average American is 50, he's got five pounds of undigested red meat in his bowels." Taggart asks him why he thinks he would want to hear this (my thoughts exactly!) and Rosewood replies, "You eat a lot of red meat." That "fact" (if indeed it is true; I was too scared to fact check it on the Internet for fear of what I might find!) is so gross! Kinda makes me glad I don't eat much red meat (I may have 2-3 steaks a year, if that!).

After he gets the info he needs, Axel returns to the hotel and sees the cop in their car and hops in the backseat (guess they don't keep their doors locked!). They're still a bit salty with Axel (especially Taggart) because his banana stunt docked them two days' pay. That sucks for them since it really wasn't their fault. Axel apologizes and says they should all be working together since they're cops and suggests they "all go get something to drink and make up and be friends" 

They end up at a strip club which will be a staple of the Beverly Hills Cop franchise. Axel shows them the coffee grounds, but they don't know what they mean. That's quickly forgotten when Axel looks over and sees two shady guys enter, both wearing long black leather coats. One of them stays by the bar and the other walks towards the back, leaning against the wall. Axel points out the guy near the wall to Taggart and asks him if he thinks it's odd he's wearing a coat in June. He points out the other guy and tells him something's about to go down and asks him to cover the guy against the wall.He walks towards the guy at the bar and shouts "Phillip!" and pretends to know him as he loudly yells and makes a racket. The guy tells him to get out of his way and stops the music (which, thank God cuz that "Nasty Girl" song was awful!), then takes out his gun and the other guy does the same. Axel has his hands up but is still acting like he knows the guy. The guy comes closer to him and Axel grabs his gun and whacks him with it; meanwhile Taggart takes out his gun and points it at the other guy. They arrest the two guys and everyone claps as Taggart apologizes for the disturbance. I guess these two guys were planning on robbing the place. When I first watched this, I thought these guys were connected to Maitland, but nope, just two random guys whose plot was foiled. 

When they return to the police department, Bogomil is livid and wants to know what they were doing at a strip club out of their jurisdiction while they were on duty. Axel cuts in to tell him they were there because the other two were following him and that's where he went. They waited outside while he was inside and the only reason they went inside was because "they saw two suspicious-looking gentlemen with bulges in their jackets going into the place." He had no idea what was going on, but Taggart and Rosewood were able too stop them." It's a very good, believable story, but when Bogomil asks the two sergeants if that's what really happened, Taggart, who apparently cannot lie, tells him no and tells him the true story and that it was Foley who saw the suspects and that he's the one who deserves credit for the arrests. Bogomil tells Taggart and Rosewood they're off the case and has two other cops keep an eye on Foley. 

The next morning, Axel orders coffee and doughnuts from room service to be delivered to the new set of cops and he sneaks away in his car, but they're on to him and follow him to Victor Maitland's house. During this scene, you can see a DeLorean parked on the curb. Besides being useful for a time machine, the DeLorean has to be one of the most impractical cars ever made. You can only parallel park because of those doors and who wants to parallel park? But the sight of it made me laugh because of course some rich dude (because you know it's a guy) in Beverly Hills is going to own a DeLorean in the '80s. While they're busy chatting, they see a car leave the house and Axel follows it and they follow Axel, but he's able to lose them. 
Axel follows him to a fancy, members-only restaurant and when he goes in, he acts very flamboyant and tells the maitre d' he's looking for Victor Maitland and the man replies if he tells him the message, he can relay it to Mr. Maitland. Axel gives him his message: "Tell Victor that Ramon, the fella he met about a week ago, went to the clinic today, and I found out that I have herpes simples ten. And I think Victor should go check himself out with his physician to make sure everything is fine before things start falling off." Not surprisingly, the maitre d' tells Axel he better tell Victor himself. Yeah, I don't blame him, that's not the kind of information you want to be delivering as the middleman, but I would be a little suspicious if I were the restaurant employee because I'd be thinking, this is not the time or place to be relaying this news. 

Victor is seated with Zach (that's young Mike, now I'm picturing him saying "Axel" in the same way he says "Walter" know what I mean if you've seen Breaking Bad!) and the henchman gets up and tells Axel to get out out and they start slapping each other, then Axel grabs him and throws him into the nearby buffet table that's full of fruit and sliced strawberries, lemons, kiwis, bananas, and watermelon go flying everywhere. If I were one of the prep cooks who had spent all morning cutting all that fruit, I would be pissed! The other diners around them are just staring at them, but besides that, there's really no reaction. 

Axel tells Victor that he knows he's into shady stuff and is pretty certain that he had Mikey killed. Vitor replies that he has no idea who he's dealing with and tells him to go back to Detroit. At that point, the police come to take Axel away, so apparently somebody must have called them. 

Back at the police headquarters, Bogomil asks Axel why he keeps harassing Maitland and he tells him about Mikey and his suspicions of Maitland having him killed and adds, "I can't prove that right now, but when I do, you'll be the first to know." He also tells him about the bearer bonds and Bogomil doesn't think that proves anything. Axel says that Maitland is "not an investor, he's a smuggler" and that the crate that he saw didn't pass through Customs, but rather "Maitland is paying someone so his guys can get his shipments out of Customs before they get inspected" and when his guys get their hands on it, "they take the drugs or the bonds out of the crate and send it back before Customs even knows what's going on." When asked, Axel confirms he witnessed all that, except he didn't see any drugs, but he did see coffee grounds whichdrugs are sometimes packed in because the scent throws off the dogs. By-the-books Bogomil says they don't have a search warrant to inspect the warehouse and tells Taggart to start checking this out. Axel points out that if they start snooping around, Maitland will just close down and move his shipments somewhere else. 

However, Police Chief Hubbard want Axel to be escorted out of city limits because he's had enough of his shenanigans and Rosewood is ordered to drive him out of Beverly Hills. In the car, Axel tells him that Maitland is expecting another shipment in today and wants Billy to drive him to the art gallery to get so she can let them in the warehouse. Rosewood asks how can he be sure if the shipment will contain drugs and Axel replies that he's "got a hunch". It doesn't take much for him to convince Billy to take the detour. 

At the gallery, we get another humorous scene with Serge when Axel asks him to get Rosewood an espresso. He asks him if he wants a lemon twist and Billy replies sure, if it's no bother, and Serge replies, "No, don't be stupid." Jenny tells Axel that Maitland had come by earlier that day to ask about Axel and wanted to know where Foley was staying because he had "some helpful information" but she claimed she didn't know.  She want go go to the warehouse with them, but Axel says it's too dangerous and adds that he doesn't have time to argue. Jenny replies, "Let me get my keys and we'll argue on the way" which is a line that made me laugh.

They drive to the warehouse and Axel tells Billy to stay in the car and observe. He can't go in because he's a cop and if he goes in "without probable cause, they'll call it an illegal search." He asks Jenny if there's any chance she can give him the key so he can go in by himself, but she says "no chance" and goes in with him. They check out the crate and he finds one from overseas that hasn't passed through Customs yet and opens it with a crowbar. Inside are coffee grounds and under those are plastic bags of a white powder substance which I'm sure isn't sugar! Axel is sure too when he takes his pinkie to taste it. Uh...pretty sure cops aren't allowed to do that! At that moment, two guys show up and one points a gun at Axel's head. In the car, Rosewood sees Maitland, Zach, and some other goons show up and go inside. Maitland tells his men to take Jenny to the car. Everyone but the first two men who were already there get in the car and drive off. Rosewood goes in and hears Axel coughing as he's being hit in the stomach by one of the men. He shoots at one guy and Axel is able to get free and take a swing at the other guy. They are able to get out and run to the car where Rosewood gets on the radio and tells dispatch to have Taggart check out the warehouse and act on whatever he finds. Taggart has other plans and tells the two cops who were assigned to follow Axel the second time to check out the warehouse and he drives to Maitland's house (because he knows that's where Axel and Billy are headed) and when he arrives there, he sees the two cops breaking into the back gate. After they explain to them Jenny has been kidnapped and she's in the house (I'm not really sure how they knew Maitland took her to his house; I guess it was just a lucky guess or I missed something), Taggart tells them they need a search warrant and they can get it in twenty minutes. Axel replies they may not have that much time and he's going in, regardless, and Rosewood says he's going in too. Taggart tells Billy that if he's lucky, the worst thing that will happen to him is that he'll just get fired. He decides that he's going in too and goes to get his guns from the trunk. Inside, two security guards see that there are people in the backyard with guns and they alert other men who work for Maitland and they come out with guns to check what's going on. 

Axel sneaks up the stairs that leads to the back of the house while Taggart and Rosewood go around a large stone wall. They try to climb it, but it's too high. There's a hilarious moment where Taggart gets on Rosewood's shoulders after Billy gives him a boost, but Billy can't keep his balance and he's stumbling and they fall. Eventually, they are able to. get over. You can tell it's a different wall, because from their side of the fence, it's a solid white wall, but when you're seeing them from Axel's point of view, it's not solid and there are decorative slabs. 

There's lot of gun firing. A few bad guys are shot, but mostly the decorative gardening vases and statues are getting the brunt of it. This is the most gaudy pool area I've ever seen. There's huge statues everywhere. At one point, Rosewood stands up with his badge and yells, "Police! You're all under arrest!" but they don't care and continue to shoot at him so he has to dive for cover. They cover Axel as he makes his way into the house. There's no way the interior of this house is the same one they use for the outside. For a Beverly Hills mansion of an art collector, the rooms just feel small and uninspiring. He kills Zach after he's being fired at, then Maitland shows up and starts shooting at Axel. 

Meanwhile, Bogomil finds out that they're at Maitland's residence and he and many other cops show up a few minutes later. 

Back in the house, Maitland has grabbed Jenny with a gun to her head, but then Bogomil pops in and yells "Freeze!" and Jenny elbows a surprised Maitland and is able to get away and both Axel and Bogomil shoot him dead. This time, when Billy yells, "Police! You're all under arrest!", they put their weapons down and their hands up because many police officers are swarming the area. Rosewood's smug reaction is pretty funny.

Police Chief Hubbard shows up and wants to know what's going on, excuse me, he wants to know "what the hell's going on?" He spots Axel and demand to know why he isn't in custody. Bogomil tells him he can explain everything and makes up a story that Jenny "accidentally discovered large quantities of a substance she suspected was cocaine in the art gallery's warehouse" and she told Axel who was "cooperating at the time in a joint Beverly Hills-Detroit investigation of narcotics trafficking." He and Rosewood responded to her report and "discovered approximately 80 kilos of cocaine". Rosewood called for backup and he dispatched their officers to this location which Taggart was first to arrive and "having probable cause to believe a felony was in progress" they "proceeded to enter the grounds" and they shot several suspects to defend themselves. Hubbard wants to hear from Taggart if he can confirm that story since it was established earlier that he has a penchant for telling the truth, but Taggart says that's what happened. 

After Hubbard leaves, Axel asks Bogomil if he could call Inspector Todd and straighten things out for him and he tells him he'll do that in the morning. I really thought he was going to offer Axel a job and that's how he became a Beverly Hills cop, hence the title! Axel checks out of his hotel room and he's lucky that the BHPD paid for it! 

That's the end of the first movie, now on to Beverly Hills Cop II which follows a similar formula to the first movie, but is a bit more convoluted. The movie is directed by Tony Scott so there are more actions scenes with sh*t blowing up and you can tell they had a bit more money for production. 

It's two years later and Axel is still living in Detroit as a cop and is working undercover on an assignment with fake credit cards. We learn that he's kept in touch with Bogomil, Taggart, and Rosewood; he even has to cancel a fishing trip he had planned with Bogomil. Okay, I can buy that maybe he sends Christmas cards or talks to them on the phone every few months, but visits? Yeah, that seems a bit much. He even seems to be very friendly with Bogomil's adult daughter, Jan, who we meet in this movie. They obviously just added her as a character they needed because it was never mentioned before that he had a daughter. 

In the first movie, Axel was brought to Beverly Hills because of the murder of a friend; this time he comes to Beverly Hills because Bogomil was shot and Axel knew he had been working on a case and thinks it may have to do with him being shot. 

Because of the way a case was handled, Lutz, the new police chief, has suspended Bogomil and Taggart and Rosewood have been demoted to traffic duty. At one point, he calls Rosewood "Roseweed" which made me giggle. On his way home, Bogomil is followed by a tall, attractive woman with dark hair and sunglasses, but she must have gotten in front of him because he sees her parked on the curb in a residential area (I'm assuming his). Her hood is open as though she has car trouble and he pulls over to offer help. As he's checking out the engine, another car pulls up and she hands him a piece of paper with "B" written on it and asks him what he thinks of it and the guy driving by shoots at him. He grabs at her and pulls off the wig she's wearing to reveal she's a blonde and she shoots him in the chest. I gasped, thinking for sure he was dead, but he actually makes it out okay by the end of the movie, so he must have been wearing a bullet proof vest. 

The tall blonde woman that shot him is the same tall blonde woman we saw rob a fancy jewelry store at the beginning of the movie. Well she didn't do any of the stealing; the masked men who were with her did all that while she just kept shouting how much time they had until the police arrived ("Two minutes! One thirty!"). On her way out, she left a pink carnation and a card with the letter "A" on the back of the manager. The man is alive, but he was ordered to "eat the floor". It cracked me up seeing this nicely dressed, polished woman use such boorish language. Yes, I realize she's involved in a heist, but its not like she's really doing any of the dirty work! The "A" stands for the name of the jewelry store (and presumably the last name of the owner), Adriano. With the "B" card found on Bogomil, the two crimes are connected and are quickly dubbed the Alphabet Crimes. It was really lucky that Bogomil wasn't named, like, Zogomil in the first movie or else they'd have to think of something else! 

Axel finds out about the shooting of Bogomil on TV. Why would this be on the news in Detroit? Seems like that would be more local news, not national news. But I guess they need to have him find out, although I'm sure Taggart or Rosewood or Jan would have called him to tell him. Yeah, that would make way more sense. This is when we find out that he's "going to be okay" and Rosewood tells him about "the Alphabet Bandit" and that he and Taggart aren't on the case. 

Before Axel leaves for Beverly Hills, he asks Jeffrey (that's Paul Reiser's character, remember) to have him tell Inspector Todd (that's his boss, remember) that he's pursing his credit card bust. When he arrives in the ritzy town, we're shown a bunch of Beverly Hills cliches like expensive cars and Rodeo Drive. The one that stuck out to me in particular was an attractive woman walking her little dog down the sidewalk. Not only is she wearing heels (ridiculous! She must only be walking her dog down to the end of the street and back), but she's wearing a leotard and tights and it looks like she has the world's worst wedgie (try saying that three times fast!). I know this because they show a close up of her ass...I guess we're supposed to think it's sexy? Yeah, it's not. Serge would not think it's sexy, heh! (And no, Serge is not in this movie because Pinchot was filming Perfect Strangers). 

Axel sees a mansion under construction and pulls up to it. Once again, he manages to convince a group of people that he's someone he's not. He quickly learns the name of the couple who live there and that they are away in Hawaii until the end of the week. He tells them he's in charge now and that the couple have changed their plans. According to him, there's "not supposed to be any right angles" and tells everyone to stop. He needs to talk to some people and tells them to go home and take the week off. He ends his little speech with "It's Miller time!" which made me laugh. But once again, I don't know if people in the '80s were really this stupid and gullible or this is just exaggerated for the plot of the movie. Maybe a little bit of both. Either way, he found a nice, free place to stay. 

He goes to the police station where he wants Rosewood and Taggart to show him the letters left from the Alphabet Bandit. Lutz wants to know who he is and in a Caribbean accent, Axel tells him his name is Johnny Wishbone and he's a psychic from St. Croix who's been sent here to help the Beverly Hills police with a crime they're having trouble with. I laughed when he said that Lutz and Biddle (the guy who's always following Lutz around) sounds like Kibble and Bits. It's funny because it's true! That had to be an improvised Eddie Murphy line. In fact, the whole scene felt like it was improvised!

Even though Rosewood and Taggart are supposed to be only doing traffic duty, Axel convinces them to help him find who shot Bogoil. He reminds them he was there for him a couple years ago and they agree as long as they can be covert and keep a low profile. (Ha! Good luck with that!) 

While he was at the station, Axel had taken a shell casing from one of the bullets that hit Bogomil and Taggart thinks they should go to the Beverly Hills Shooting Club and ask the owner, Russ Fielding, about it.

When they get to the exclusive, members-only club, we get another ridiculous scene where Axel takes a paper sack (filled with Rosewood's vitamins) and walks into the swanky reception area. He stops a waiter holding a bottle of champagne and while he's asking what year it is (the champagne, not the actual year!), he dips his hand in the ice and covers his face with water. The waiter answer his question but doesn't question what he's doing. Axel starts breathing heavily and walks carefully towards the desk where the receptionist is sitting. He tells her he's from "Metalux Explosive Research Company" and asks for Russell Fielding because he "ordered these plutonium-nitrate multi-explosive sound-seeking projectiles. The receptionist looks at her records and tells him she doesn't see anything about that and she can straighten this out, but before she can reach for the phone, he stops her and suggests she doesn't "use the phone, sneeze, cough, or anything." He slowly gets up to leave, telling her that she can work it out, but she tells him she can just take it to Mr. Fielding's office and tells him where it is. Uh, wouldn't you be calling the bomb squad if you really thought there were explosives in that bag? I don't know how believable that scene was, but it was amusing. 

Once he's out of her sight, he throws the bag away. I'm sure Rosewood will be thrilled about that. (He'll think that Axel sold them.) He goes into the shooting range room where he finds Russ and asks him about the bullet and he identifies it. The tall blonde woman who we know shot Bogomil is there and comes over and introduces herself as the assistant manager, Karla Fry (Brigitte Nielsen). In a private conversation, Russ tells Karla about the casing Axel brought to show him that was from there and that he made it and others just like it for Charles Cain, the manager of the Shooting Club. Karla goes into an office and tells this information to a man with a German accent. 

I need to do a quick fashion corner here and talk about Karla's earrings. They are the most '80s earrings I've ever seen. There are these huge, silver geometric-shaped earrings that cover almost the bottom third of her ear. They look very uncomfortable, not to mention ugly as hell. I posted a picture so you can see what I'm talking about.

While Axel is preoccupied with the shooting range (he gave a fake name to Russ and Karla), we are given some exposition. Charles Cain (played by Dean Stockwell; Al from Quantum Leap!) is called into the office of the German man to go over plans "C" and "D" because they "have promised to deliver Thomopolis $10 million Friday at 6." He wants to avoid the same mistakes they made on the Adriano job. The man wasn't happy that Cain supplied the men on that job with guns from his club, but Cain insisted nobody would be able to trade them and that nobody knows that he (the German) wrote the notes or planned all this. He questions why there is a man in the club asking questions and believes him to be a cop, because who else would be asking questions like those? He shows Cain Axel on the security footage and tells him he's going to kill him. Also, if you, like me, have no idea what the hell they're talking about, don't worry about; it really doesn't matter. This movie gets pretty convoluted and it's best not to ponder everything. 

Cain introduces himself to Axel and asks him if he would like a guest membership. Axel agrees and gives him the address where he can send it to after Cain asks for it. Uh, wouldn't you just fill it out there at the club? I get why he asked for it; after this scene we see Cain give the address to two hitmen in a car. I'm surprised Axel just gave out the address.

I have to laugh because in this scene Dean Stockwell has a cigar he occasionally smokes and he does this exact same thing in pretty much every episode of Quantum Leap. Maybe, like, it was in his contract he had to be smoking a cigar in all his projects. 

Back in the car where Rosewood and Taggart are waiting, Axel tells them a six-foot blonde woman was working in the club and Rosewood replies that a woman of the same description was spotted at the Adriano robbery. Taggart points out there are six foot blondes everywhere in the area. They decide to meet at Axel's "place" in an hour. 

Before he heads back, Axel makes a stop at Bogomil's house where he looks through his office and finds a newspaper clipping about oil price dropping and an ad for a club called 385 North. There's also a photograph  of the German man with the name "Maxwell Dent" written in large red markers so the audience can see it. Jan is there too and Axel asks if she can use her connections of working at an insurance company to find out about this Maxwell Dent. 
When Taggart and Rosewood arrive at the address of the mansion Axel gave them and find him lounging in the pool, Taggart accuses him of stealing the house, but Axel insists it's his uncle's house. Funny, he's never mentioned having an uncle living in Beverly Hills before! That's what I would have pointed out! Taggart gets angry at him and tell him he needs to get out of the house. Hilariously, he ends up slipping on the concrete (which Axel had warned them was slippery) and falls into the pool. He ends up changing into a super preppy outfit that he finds upstairs: plaid pants white polo, yellow sweater vest, and light blue blazer.m(I guess the man who lives in that house is the same size as Taggart!) He looks like he's about to go golfing, He's pretty pleased with himself and thinks he looks "sharp". 

They head out to 385 North, which happens to be a members-only strip club. Axel gets them in by telling the host that Taggart is former President Gerald Ford and he's his representative and Rosewood is his bodyguard. The host says he doesn't look like Ford and Axel asks him if he's ever seen him without his make-up. He convinces the guy it really is the ex-POTUS and adds that he should be proud to have him there and the host says it is a pleasure to have him there. 

Okay, so I looked up Ford's date of birth to see how old he would have been in '87 and the make-up line makes a lot of sense now. He was a lot older than I would have thought; in' 87 he turned 74! I looked up John Ashton's age and he turned 39 in '87, so I'm assuming Taggart is supposed to be the same age or around it. Personally, I think Taggart looks like Dr. Phil (but no accent!), but obviously, nobody knew who he was back then. 

Axel asks the bartender about a blond man named Nik Thomopolis who is seen schmoozing with a few people and finds out he owns the place. He asks his cop friends about him and Taggart tells him he's "the biggest arms dealer on the West Coast." Sidenote: Thompolis is played by Paul Guilfoyle who also played the bad guy in another movie from 1987, Three Men and a Baby. I guess he got sick of playing bad guys that he wanted to play someone who caught the bad guys in CSI:

Word must have gotten around that ex-President Ford was at the club because when they get up to leave, everyone else stands up and applauds. 

The two hitmen must have followed them to the club because as the three cops walk to their car, the men pull up to the curb and one of them takes out a gun and starts shooting. The cops dive for cover and start shooting back. The car ends up crashing into a pole and turns over, but the two guys manage to get away (not sure how it escalated so quickly!).

A furious Police Chief Hubbard shows up at the scene. He tells Axel that he checked with immigration and that "they never heard of a Johnny Wishbone." Axel comes clean (sort of) and shows him his badge and tells him he's a cop from Detroit and that he's in Beverly Hills because he's "attached to a multi-jurisdictional federal task force on organized crime and [his] code name is Wishbone." Hubbard just snaps back that he's the Chief of Police and he need to know about any federal task force. Axel tells him he can call his boss back in Detroit between the hours of 9 and 10, central time, and he'll tell him everything he needs to know. The fact that he gave only a one hour window to call his boss should have sent up red flags for Hubbard, but he never questions it. 

This will lead to a hilarious scene back in Detroit the next morning, where Jeffrey, having talked with Axel the night before, calls up Inspector Todd early in the morning pretending to be someone with the "FBI Enforcement Bulletin" (he disguises his voice) and he wants to interview him for some piece he's working on and asks if he can meet him at a diner for breakfast at nine o'clock. I'm surprised Todd said yes; if that had been me, I would have been super annoyed that a) somebody was calling me that early (I wouldn't have even answered the phone!), and b) why are they trying to set up an appointment without giving me that much notice? As soon as Todd leaves for his faux appointment (I hope for Jeffrey's sake, he gave him the address of a diner that's far away!), Jeffrey goes inside's Todd's office (apparently he doesn't lock it when he's gone!) and wills the phone to ring. It does, eventually, in a few minutes, but what if Hubbard had waited until the end of the hour to call? By then, Todd would have been back and Axel's plan wouldn't have worked. As it is, by the time Hubbard does call, Todd has come back to the station, clearly pissed that he's been duped (I guess the diner wasn't that fart away) and enters his office just as Jeffrey's hanging up the phone after confirming Axel's story with Hubbard. He had been hiding behind Todd's desk and when the Inspector demands to know what he's doing there, he exclaims "This is not my office!" which is a nice callback to the first movie with his "This is not my locker!" line. Paul Reiser was not in the third movie (I assume he was busy with Mad About You or maybe he saw the script and bailed, heh), but he's in the trailer for the the new movie coming to Netflix and I hope they give him a similar line. 

Meanwhile back to Beverly Hills and the night before where Axel gets a match off a set of fingerprints he found on a matchbook that was in the car of the two goons who tried to off him. They get a match with Charles Cain and Axel recognizes him as the manager of the Shooting Club. He wants to go there and check it out even though it's 11 at night and closed. He manages to get them in with some MacGyver type maneuver using chewing gum, the foil from the gum, and a pocket knife. I'm not really sure what he did, but it certainly wouldn't work in real life! In Cain's office, they find map coordinates in his locked desk which he broke into. 

They find out the coordinates correlates with the City Deposit which is a federal Reserve Bank where banks take their money. Axel bets that's the next target. He's right and the Alphabet Bandit crosses off "C" and "D" in one fell swoop (does that really count as both, though? Seems like cheating to me, just saying). 

While it's being robbed the next fay, the three cops drive there (quite recklessly), but come across construction that blocks their way. Axel and Rosewood are close enough to the bank that they can sound the alarm by shooting it and the bad guys escape and they follow them in a cement truck (yeah, it's just as ridiculous as it sounds) and we get a hilarious scene where Rosewood sideswipes a police car and tells Axel it's okay because he knows the guy and "he's a jerk!" Although, the next moment might have made me laugh more: we see a car in his fancy car back out of his driveway, but when he sees the armored truck the bad guys are driving comes barreling down his street, he quickly retreats back to his driveway and when he thinks the coast is clear, he backs out again only to be sideswiped by the cement truck. I don't know, that just made me laugh...the guy is being so cautious, but his car ends up getting totaled anyway. 

They eventually spot the armored truck which is empty. Axel finds a $50 bill in the front seat and sees tracks in the dirt and realizes there was a pick-up vehicle. They follow the tracks and it leads them to the Playboy Mansion, of all places. The only really humorous moment during this whole scene is when they drive up in the cement truck and the valet is played by a very young Chris Rock. This would be three years before he was even on SNL! When he sees the cement truck, he says to Axel, "I get $10 for cars, I get $20 for limos. What the hell is this?" Axel gives him the fifty and tells him to put it next to a limo. 

There's a pool party (of course there is) and they somehow manage to make their way in by telling the receptionist (lol was there really a receptionist at the Playboy Mansion?) that they are there to clean the pool which doesn't make any sense since people are already using the pool, so you think they would have it cleaned before the party, but whatever. They just wanted an excuse to film at the Playboy Mansion. Out back, they see Karla, Maxwell Dent, and Thomopolis. Oh, and Hugh Hefner makes a cameo, because, of course he does. He still looks old even back in '87, but thats probably because he was 61. Axel tells Hugh that he wants to give him some information about some of his guests, such as that Thomopolis is "into guns and drugs" and "Max kills cops for a living." Hugh just tells them all to get out. He doesn't have time for this! 

So after that totally pointless scene (although the Chris Rock scene was pretty good, but I'm sure they could have found another small role for him), we find out that the bad guys are ready to set plan "E" in motion. 

Somehow, Axel had managed to pick pocket Dent's jacket and got a card with the information of his financial manager named Sidney Bernstein. He is played by Gilbert Gottfried and is doing his whole Gilbert Gottfried shtick. When the three cops enter his office while he's on the phone, he sarcastically says, "Oh, come on it. Don't let the fact that my door's closed dissuade you in any way from entering my office." Like Murphy, you can definitely tell when Gottfried is improvising! 

We next get this completely ridiculous (albeit hilarious) scene where Axel tells him they're with the Beverly Hills police and that he has 25 unpaid parking tickets and they're there to arrest him. Sidney tries to bribe them to drop the charges and Axel asks for $200 which Sidney is more than happy to part with. Now the most ludicrous moment: Axel asks Sidney if he can use his computer because he has "to wipe all evidence of this transaction out." He even asks him to leave to give him privacy and Sidney is all too eager to leave and let Axel use him computer. The hell? Shouldn't this be a huge red flag for Sidney? Surely he would realize that Axel was using his computer for other reasons because why would a police officer be using some random accountant's computer. It's so stupid, but whatever, the movie just wants you to know that Axel finds information that Dent and Kara are fleeing to Costa Rica soon.

He calls Jan to see what she found out about Dent and she tells him that he "was the cultural attache to the East Germany embassy in Honduras" and "he's got a racetrack, shooting club, drilling rig companies, and an oil company." He learns that Dent is in trouble because "he's let his insurance lapse on everything in the last six months." Tsk, tsk, tsk! Everything that is, except for the racetrack which he has a huge policy for. The racetrack is called Emperium Fields. Looks like we're knocking out the "F" too! 

The three cops reach the horse track, but by then it's too late and the money is gone. Cain has also been murdered (the audience sees Karla shoot him). Around this time, a press conference is being held by the police chief where he says he "is confident that [they] have identified the Alphabet bandit." He says it was Charles Cain because all the notes were signed "Carlos" and that's Spanish for Charles. Axel, Rosewood, and Taggart don't buy it. If the deceased Cain did it, then where is the money? A dead man can't make money disappear! Axel believes that Dent framed Cain for the first few crimes, then killed him on this one so he could get away because then the police would believe they had their man. (Spoiler alert: he's right.) He was buying guns from Thomopolis so he could sell them to his contacts in Central America. 

By this time, the movie is coming to an end and they are led to an oil field where they find trucks filled with explosives. The bad guys are there and there's a huge shootout. Axel kills Dent and Karla is about to kill Axel but Taggart comes to the rescue and shoots her. It was just a tiny bit misogynist when he utters, "Women" after he kills her. 

So the Alphabet Crimes have been solved and the mayor fires the Police Chief. We get one last funny scene with the the mayor calling Inspector Todd to thank him for lending Axel to their case and tells him his "extra tutelage" really paid off. Todd gets on the phone with Axel and exclaims, "Extra tutelage? What the f*** have you been telling them?" 

Just as Axel is leaving the mansion he's been staying in, the couple comes back. I bet that construction company is going to get chewed out for not working on their house at all while they were gone! 

While this movie has some funny moments, I like the first one better. This one has a few scenes that don't seem that necessary. There's a weird subplot with Billy where he's obsessed with guns, knifes and other weapons. Axel and Taggart keep telling him "We need to talk." This really doesn't fit with his character from the first movie. That being said, the second movie is much better than the atrocious Beverly Hills Cop 3. 

I can't think of one scene in the third movie where Eddie Murphy improvises his lines as I don't think he ever does! He plays Axel way more seriously and it feels like he's trying to be a dramatic actor in a comedy! (And the funny scenes aren't even that funny.) The tone is so odd. The movie was panned and there wouldn't be another Beverly Hills Cop movie for another thirty years! I'll probably yada-yada through most of this as there's a lot of nada-nada here. 

Once again, we begin in Detroit where Axel has organized a raid to stop a car thief ring at a chop stop. Before that happens, the audience sees the criminal mechanics in the garage working on cars. The radio is on and "Come See About Me" by Diana Ross starts playing and they're all bopping their heads to the music, which, I can't blame them because it is a catchy song. But then we get an absolutely ridiculous moment when these two fat guys stop what they're doing to get up and DANCE. They're singing into a fake mic and have a whole routine and is going on? One guy even does a cartwheel in front of the other guy who asks him, "What are you doing?" Uh, you're one to talk! You're also part of this song-and-dance routine! 

The garage door opens and a car comes in and a guy in a suit gets out of the back seat. You can tell he's going to be the Big Bad of the movie. He asks the two fat guys if they had any trouble with the hi-jack and we see a truck that's filled with boxes that says "Property of U.S. Government." The bad guy pumps his fist and gives a comical "Yes!" like he's an eight-year-old who scored a goal in his soccer game. 
The fat guys were promised a payment and I knew they were going to get killed instead of paid and I was right. In fact, all the mechanics are gunned down. The crazy thing is "Come See About Me" is still playing when they're shot! This song is a little under three minutes. Just think: one minute you're dancing to Diana Ross; the next you're dead. 

Axel and his team have been given intel that the guys at the chop shop don't have guns, which is probably true, but unbeknownst to them, they're all dead by the time they plan to do their raid. Axel knocks on the door and the bad guy tells one of his cronies to shoot whoever's on the other end. Instead of opening the door and just shooting Axel, he lets Axel, who's pretending he wants to sell car parts, ramble on, until finally,  Axel is able to overtake him when the bad guy takes out his gun. 

Long story short, there's a bunch of shooting. Inspector Todd, Axel's beloved boss, ends up getting shot and dies, which I hated, but I guess you need a reason for him to go after the bad guy. It just sucks that this awesome character was killed off by such a dud of a villian. Axel is chasing the bad guy (we'll learn his name later) after gets away in the truck, but he is intercepted by a man who introduces himself as Steve Fulbright (Stephen McHattie) from the FBI and tells Axel that he got himself in the middle of an investigation and it's important that this man "not be apprehended at this time" because they want to know "where he's going and what he's got and who he's selling it to." 

Back in the chop shop, towels with "Wonder World" printed on them are found. That's a theme park near Beverly Hills and Axel believes he needs to head back to the Hills to find Todd's killer. 

They play the theme song for the first time and it sound different from the other two movies. I did some research and found out that Harold Faltemeyer, who composed the theme song, did not come back for this movie so it's performed by somebody else and it's in the "breakbeat hardcore" version, whatever that is (I just read it on Wikipedia), but all I know it sounds different and the original is better! 

Axel goes sees Rosewood who has been promoted to DDO-JSIOC, which stands for Deputy Director of Operations for Joint Systems Interdepartmental Operational Command. Terrible title! We find out that Taggart has retired to Phoenix. Now, he would have only been in his early fifties, so its seems kind of early for him to retire, but hey, good for him. At first, I just assumed John Ashton read the script and didn't want anything to do with it, but I read that he and Ronny Cox (guy who played Bogomil) had other projects they were working on. Mmm, are we sure about that? 

Another cop has replaced Taggart. Hector Elizondo plays Detective Jon Flint and when I saw him, I jokingly thought to myself, did Garry Marshall direct this movie? (The credits don't roll until the end of the movie so I had no idea who directed it, even though, yes, I realize I could have easily just looked it up.) You can tell that the writers wrote this role with Taggart in mind and they didn't even change many, of any of his lines. There are a few scene where we see Flint in his cop car and he gets a message that things are going haywire at Wonder World and he says "Axel!" like he know Axel personally and he literally just met the guy only a few hours ago. It's so weird. 

Anyway, Axel tells him why he's come back to Beverly Hills and explains about the towels from Wonder World and that he's going to check out the theme park. Flint tells him he should talk to Ellis De Wald (Timothy Carhart) who is head of park security and "runs the biggest private security force in America." 

When Axel enters Wonder World, he is watched closely by two security guards. I get the feeling "Wonder World" was a placeholder name until they could come up with something a little better (and not so generic) and either they forgot to change the name of they just couldn't think of anything a little more clever. Seriously, who ever came up with the name "Wonder World" has no creativity. 

Axel sees employees entering through a fake tree with a door and he is able to just walk in. You think this door would have a keypad or a swipe code for employees only, but nope, he is able to open the door and walk right in! It leads downstairs where some of the rides are controlled, including one called Alien Attack. There he meets a woman named Janice who doesn't really question who he is or why he's down there. She becomes his love interest...I guess? There's some cringe-y flirting that happens between them and while he does ask her out, we never see them on a date (maybe that's a good thing) and he never kisses her at the end of the movie. He had more chemistry with Jenny from the first movie and they weren't even in a romantic relationship, although they had great banter, but maybe that's because they've been friends for a long time. 

Well, wouldn't you know it...De Wald happens to be the bad guy who shot Todd and Axel is after! Whaaaaa-? Both Flint and Rosewood think he must have the wrong guy or the killer he's after has a striking resemble to De Wald, but Axel is positive it's him. 

Back at his hotel, Janice and Uncle Dave (he's the Walt Disney of Wonder World) tell him that that Roger Fry, the park's chief operating officer, disappeared two weeks ago, He designed the whole park and knows it like the back of his hand. Dave shows Axel a note that Roger left that just says "This is important life and death", but other than that they don't have any information about why or how he disappeared. Axel thinks he must have found something someone didn't want him to find (Spoiler alert: he's right).

Serge has come back (Perfect Stangers ended the year before) and we get a funny, though ultimately unnecessary scene with him. Axel and Billy come across him at some convention and he has a "Survival Boutique" booth. I cracked up when he exclaims "Ack-well!" and "Beeeeee-lieeee" and asks Billy if he remembers the espresso he made him with a lemon twits. He tells them that the art gallery has gone bankrupt. I'm surprised he didn't say anything about Jenny or that Axel didn't ask about her. Serge tells them he's selling survival items that "must conform to the 3 P's: protection, prestige, and pretty." He shows them his best-seller, a clunky-looking "gun" called the Annihilator 2000 that doesn't look like any of the adjectives he mentioned. This weapon looks like the most impractical thing ever: its equipped with a phone, microwave CD player, radio, night vision goggles, verbal alarm system, and video camera among other thing. Did I mention it's huge and clunky and it certainly ain't pretty! 

Axel keeps harassing De Wald, but doesn't have any evidence he's behind Todd's killing. The FBI agent, Fulbright (I guess he has come to California too), reminds Axel to stop messing with his investigation because they "want him doing business as usual." He gives him a first class plane ticket back to Detroit, but we know Axel is lying when he tells Fulbright he'll be on that plane. 

Janice shows Axel the schematics of the park and he enters through a vent and above he spies on De Wald and his men creating counterfeit money. I laughed when they were only printing $1 bills. You'd think they'd print something with more value! He is literally standing above them not even attempting to hide and of course De Wald sees him and the bad guys go after him, but he gets away and calls Fulbright from a payphone in the park to tell him what's going on. 

The bad guys are able to to find him because of the security cameras and soon they have him surrounded. In a move, I didn't quite understand he takes out his gun (how the hell was he allowed in with a gun...oh, never mind) and shoots it in the air, then lies it on the ground. Why would he do that with all these people around him, not to mention many children? I didn't quite get that. They had him surrounded and they were going to apprehend him, regardless. They bring him to the underground offices and Fulbright comes in, wondering why he's not in Detroit. Axel tells him he knows what he's investigating and goes to show him the room where he found the counterfeit money. Only the money that's being printed is fake play money called Wonder World dollars. Apparently it's easy to change the setting! 

Later, Axel meets up with Uncle Dave (on the side of a street) and wants to know about the guy who disappeared. He takes another look at the note and realizes that it was written on the paper that the fake money is being printed on and it has a barcode or something to prove that it's being used for the counterfeit money. IDK, but now he has proof that counterfeit money is being made and as he says that, here comes De Wald and some of his goons. They had followed Uncle Dave and De Wald shoots him. Axel manages to get away and drive Uncle Dave to a hospital where he will survive. We never do find out what happened to the guy who disappeared. I mean, obviously they killed him, but we never found out what they did with the body. I guess the point of that storyline was the note written on the fake money paper. 

Anyway, yada, yada, yada, Axel ends up back at the underground offices of the park because De Wald has told him to come with the Mint paper or he'll kill Janice, who he has hostage. On the way there he stops to get the Annihilator 2000 from Serge. Rosewood and Flint find out he's headed to Wonder World (damn it, I always want to write "Wally World" instead!) and head there too. 
Axel refuses to give De Wald the paper, there's a lot of fighting, yada, yada, yada, Billy and Janice end up trapped behind a glass door that protects something when there's a fire...IDK, who cares...Axel gets away, there's more fighting and gun shooting, yada, yada, yada. 

We will get a scene of Axel using the Annihilator 2000 against a couple of goons and at first it shoots out a net, then plays rap music, then old-timey music until it finally sprays bullets the men. Then yada, yada, yada, more bad guys are killed in the alien space ride we saw from before, we see that the trapped Billy and Janice get out and Flint has arrived. I can't remember who it was, being either Billy or Flint shoots a bad guy who falls out of the chairlift ride. Like, this amusement park has now officially become a crime scene. For some reason the annoying "Wonder World" song (think "It's a Small World After All") is playing on a loop and Flint screams (to nobody because everybody around him is dead), "Turn that f***ing song off!" I think that was the only part of this scene I laughed at. 

Finally, Axel eventually kills De Wald in some dinosaur ride and here comes Fulbright asking if he's okay. Earlier, I had thought either he or Flint is a bad guy disguised as a good guy and as soon as he points his gun at Axel, I had a good hunch it was him! Luckily, Flint shows up ad Axel is able to take a surprised Fulbright and kill him with his gun. 

There's a super weird scene where Rosewood walks in, all bloodied on one side and walking funny and asks if they're okay before collapsing. They just start laughing, saying he needs medical attention. Not sure why they're laughing when their friend looks like he's knocking on death's door!

But it's okay because everyone is okay and in the last scene we see Uncle Dave dedicating a new Wonder World character to Axel, a fox named Axel Fox. Why the hell would they want to remember this day of bloodshed? Anyway, thank God the movie is finally over. 

If you want to see Judge Reinhold in a better ' 94 movie, see The Santa Clause (and it's not even like I'm a fan of that movie, but it's better than this one!); if you want to see Hector Elizondo in a better movie that takes place in Beverly Hills, see Pretty Woman; if you want to see a better Beverly Hills Cop movie, see the first, second, or upcoming one on Netflix. Yes, the one on Netflix hasn't been released yet, but I'm confident it will be better than this one! I'm pretty sure they learned from their mistakes of this one! 

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Written On the Pages is the Answer

The NeverEnding Story
Director: Wolfgang Peterson
Cast: Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver, Alan Oppenheimer
Released: July 20, 1984

I had seen this movie only once before and that was when I was in second grade (or maybe it was third or fourth grade; I honestly don't remember) when the teacher showed it to the class on VHS (heh). I don't remember if it was a holiday (like Valentine's Day) or we earned it because we got enough stars and if your class earned enough stars, you got a class party. Who knows. All I remember is that we watched this movie and ate a ton of junk food. It was pretty funny; we were eating so much candy, that at lunch, people were trading their desserts for carrot sticks because they couldn't eat any more sugar. I didn't remember anything about this movie except for the weird pink dragon/dog thing. Either I wasn't paying attention or I had suppressed the memory of seeing it deep inside of me because there's a pretty traumatizing scene (if you've seen the movie, you know exactly what I'm talking about) that I'm sure scarred millions of children who grew up watching this movie. 

Can we all agree that the theme song by the lead singer from Kajagoogoo totally slaps? I actually kind of forgot the existence of it until I was reminded of it in season 3 of Stranger Things when Suzy makes Dustin sing it to her. The whole scene should drive me mad because he's contacting her for some very vital information...I don't exactly remember because it has been four years since I've seen it, but the world is in danger and he needs this information and she makes him sing this song first. And I totally loved every second of it because that song is awesome!

The movie quickly introduces us to a ten-year-old (that's the age Wiki says he is, so I'm going with it; plus it's close enough to the actor's age at the time) Bastian (short for Sebastian, perhaps?) who is played by Barret Oliver who was the grandkid in the Cocoon movies. We learn that his mom has recently died and he's not coping well with it. His dad, who seems like a no-nonsense kind of guy, tells him he got a call from his math teacher telling him that Bastian isn't turning his homework in on time and was caught drawing horses (Bastian insists they were unicorns; I thought this exchange was weird looking back in hindsight because there are no unicorns in this movie). His dad tells him he's old enough "to keep his head out of the clouds" and "to stop daydreaming and start facing your problems." 

Having an insensitive father is not the only problem Bastian is facing. He's also bullied by three little sh*ts who call him a "weirdo" and demand that he give him any money he might have. (Why would he have any money on him? He's a ten-year-old going to school. You could say he has lunch money, but later we'll see that he brings his own lunch to school). They chase him down an alley and when they find out he doesn't even have any money to steal, they throw him in a dumpster. When he gets out and rounds the corner, the bullies are still there and demand he get back in the dumpster so he runs away from them again, but this time he hides in a small bookstore cluttered with antiquated and (I have no doubt!) musky-smelling dusty leather-bound novels. Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer would love this place. The shopkeeper, Mr. Coreander, who is smoking a pipe and sitting in what looks like an uncomfortable armchair with a book, tells him to leave because he doesn't like kids. He tells him the arcade is down the street and sarcastically says that here he'll only find rectangular things called books. Seriously, does this man think kids don't know what books are? Bastian has him on blast; telling him he has 186 books at home (what kind of nerd keeps count of their books? I couldn't even tell you how many books I have) and starts naming some of his favorite which include Treasure Island, Lord of the Rings, The Last of the Mohicans, The Wizard of Oz, and Tarzan. Mr. Coreander seems to be impressed with this. Bastian asks him what he's reading and instead of telling him the name of the book, he just tells him that the books he (Bastian) reads are "safe" and that after he becomes engrossed in a story, he "gets to become a little boy again." If I were Bastian, I'd be like, "The hell you talkin' 'bout, old man?" The way he's talking, it makes it sound like the particular book he's reading is going to pull a Jumanji on him! 

The phone rings and when Mr. Coreander gets up to answer it, Bastian swipes the book and leaves a note that reads "Don't worry I'll returns your book." The man wanted him to take the book, right? He just leaves it on the table unattended. If he really didn't want this kid to take it, he would have carried the book to the phone. Plus, he has this smile on his face when he sees the note. We'll return to this later. 

The leather-bound book is called The NeverEnding Story and it has a raised emblem of entwining snakes. Bastian goes to skip school. (Try to wrap your mind around that concept!) Now, he originally was going to class, but when he peeks through the tiniest window of the door, he see the class has a math quiz, so it's then when he decides to bail, though I have a feeling he would still bail even if it was just a regular class because he wants to start reading his new book. We see him retrieve a key from a box (that looks like it's been broken into) and then he opens the door to an attic. Huh? Is this normal for schools to have attics? I have never heard of a school having an attic. But, anyway, he goes up to the attic where they keep life-size skeletons (for physiology classes, I assume), wolf heads on sticks (don't ask cuz I don't have an answer for that one), and candles. The candles will come in handy to help him read when the storm comes! 

He starts reading the book and we're transported into the world of Fantasia. I guess in the book this movie is based on, the world is called Fantastica, but they changed it to Fantasia. I tried to find out why, but couldn't really find anything. Probably because it just sounds and rolls off the tongue better. When I think of the word "Fantasia", I think of the old animated Disney movie. 

Right away we're introduced to a few characters who, aside from one, we'll never see again, but I guess they just need them to set up the plot line. Two humans (or two characters played by humans I should say) have set up camp in a wooded area with their animal sidekicks. There's a goblin/troll type character named Night Hob who gets around by flying on a bat and a Mad-Hatter-esque character (he literally looks like the Mad Hatter) named Teeny Weeny who has a racing snail. Because it was 1984, they didn't use CGI to create the certain characters; instead they were puppets and I was pretty impressed by them. When I saw a close up shot of the snail, I blurted out, "That looks like Jar Jar Binks!" Haha, I bet George Lucas got inspiration from this movie! Of course, the snail doesn't talk so it least it doesn't have the annoying personality of Jar Jar. 

Another character who is created by using puppetry is Rockbiter, a giant being who is made of rocks and eats rocks. He is rolling a giant wheel really fast right towards them and I was getting quite concerned because it looked like he was going to smoosh everyone, but he stops right before any of them can get flattened. He says he's been traveling all day and asks if he can join them. He tells them he comes from the north where there used to be "exquisite gourmet rocks"and a beautiful lake, but all of that is gone. When asked if the lake dried up, he says it just was't there anymore, that everything just seems to keep disappearing. They tell him that the same thing is happening in the west and the south; "a strange nothing is destroying everything." 

Rockbiter informs them he is being sent to the Ivory Tower to ask the Empress for help and they tell him they are also on the same mission. One of them says, "If the Empress couldn't save us, who could?" Hmm, who indeed? It's the middle of the night and they decide they need to go to the Ivory Tower right that minute. This is when it is revealed the snail is a racing snail and it can go pretty fast! I loved the added effect of the oozing sound it makes as it glides across the ground. 

When they get to the Ivory Tower, Night Hob and his bat are looking through two windows. I liked how the bat was hanging upside down while looking through the window. A council is having a meeting about The Nothing that is destroying their world. There are a lot of weird characters in Fantasia...huge rock heads that sit on blocks (which reminded me of the statues in Easter Island), people with two, three, sometimes four faces (yeah they were a little freaky), even an elephant. It's a very bizarre assortment of characters. These beings have also "come to beseech the Empress for help." Cairon, the robed man holding the meeting and who works for the Empress has the fun job of telling all these citizens of Fantasia who have come to ask the Empress for help that the Empress has become "deathly ill" and that there seems to be "a mysterious link between her illness and The Nothing" (duh, you think?). He tells them there still might be a chance: "The Plains People who hunt the purple buffalo have among the a great warrior" and only he has a chance to fight The Nothing. He is their only hope - no pressure at all! We're not really told why he is The Chosen One; he just is. Lucky for all of them, the Empress has already sent for this warrior named Atreyu (Noah Hathaway) and when he appears everyone is shocked to see how young he is (he's 12/13). The first thing I wondered is what kind of shampoo he uses because his hair is so shiny and glossy! 

Cairon thinks there must be some misunderstanding; that perhaps there are two Atreyus and they got Atreyu the child and not Atreyu the warrior, but the young man tells him he's the only Atreyu of the Plains People. That would have been pretty hilarious if there had been two Atreyus and the wrong one was sent. 

Cairon asks if he would be willing to go on a quest "to find a cure for the Empress to save [their] world". He must go alone and leave all his weapons behind (we're not told why either of these are requirements). Atreyu says he will do it and when he asks if there will be any chance of success, Cairon replies he doesn't know, but what he does know, is that if he fails, "The Empress will surely die and our whole world will be utterly destroyed." No pressure there at all! So don't fail, kid! 

He gives Atreyu the entwining snake emblem (the very same one that's on the cover of the book) to wear around his neck. It is called the Auryn and it will guide and protect him. So now we see Atreyu riding his beloved white horse, Artax, through different landscapes. Here's my question: does he know what the eff he's looking for? We know he has to find a cure for the Empress, but without any further instructions, does he even know what he's looking for? Is there some vial with the medicine in it somewhere in this vast land? Is there some hospital that can provide a caretaker? I am so confused! 

After the quick montage of Atreyu and Artax seemingly wandering aimlessly, they stop at a river to rest and the horse nuzzles Atreyu for something to say and he tells him that's a good idea, then we see Bastion exclaiming, "No, it's a GREAT idea!" and goes to get a sandwich from his backpack. He only takes one bite and says (outloud even though he's the only one there), "No, not too much. We still have a long way to to." Dude, you're at your's not like you're stranded on an desert island with no food. 

Artax, no! 
We learn that Atreyu had been traveling for a week without any success. He had searched the Silver Mountains, the Desert of Shattered Hopes, and the Crystal Towers. Now he was looking for Morla, "the wisest being in Fantasia" whose home is the Shell Mountain, but the only way to get to it is to cross the Deadly Swamps of Sadness. It's a very fitting name. In the next few minutes we'll watch a scene that I have no doubt traumatized every child around the world who watched this film. I, myself, even screamed at the TV, "What the f*ck just happened?" Bastion reads from the book, "Everyone knew that whoever let the sadness overtake him would sink into the swamp." Uh, I don't think Ateyu knew! He has gotten off of Artax and is leading him across the swamp, and at first Artax is following him, but then he suddenly stops and Atreyu has to pull on the reins, but the horse won't budge and everytime they cut back to Artax we see that he's sinking deeper and deeper into the muck until he has completely disappeared and poor Atreyu and Bastion both have tears streaming down their faces. I hated this scene; not necessarily because Artax died, though that was certainly sad, but because it was evident the horse did not like being submerged in this yucky muck because the whites of its eyes were showing.

So after that hellish nightmare, Atreyu finds Morla who turns out to be a giant turtle who hasn't spoken to anyone in thousands of years. Bastions screams and the two characters in the book seem to hear him. I'm not sure why Bastion screamed, but he seems to realize what just happened because he says, "But that's impossible; they couldn't have heard me." I don't exactly understand how this translates. Is he reading that Atreyu and Morla heard a scream in the background and are looking around to see if anyone else is around and just assumes they heard him? Like, how do you even get there? 

Back to the (neverending!) story: after not being helpful at all (and, really, not giving a sh*t), Morla finally gives some advice that will help Atreyu continue his journey: he needs to travel 10,000 miles to the Southern Oracle. 

So now Bastion has been up in the attic reading the entire school day and the school is being locked up as students and teachers are leaving, but Bastion still stays. Why does he stay? Why doesn't he just go home and finish his book there? Also, did nobody call his dad to tell him he wasn't at school? (I mean, I guess technically he WAS in the school, but you know what I mean; he wasn't in class.) 

How to train your 
(Luck) Dragon

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that there's a wolf named Gmork who is after Atreyu and trying to kill him to stop him from succeeding and he is about to attack him, but is saved by Falkor, the pink creature that looks like it's half dragon, half dog. Falkor is a Luck Dragon. I know Falkor is supposed to be a good character, but I found him a bit unnerving at times. He winks three times at Atreyu throughout the movie and it's so creepy! 

It turns out that Falkor knows about the boy's quest because Atreyu talked in his sleep so he has flown him 9,891 miles of the way there. Gee, that was luckily convenient! I guess Falkor truly is a "Luck" Dragon. Atreyu meets two little tree elves named Engywook and Urgl. Engywook is the "expert of the Southern Oracle" and takes him up to the observatory, where, through a telescope, he sees too large statues of Sphinxes (with huge bare breasts) which guard the first gate one must pass before they can reach the Southern Oracle. I guess to pass through, you have to feel confident in yourself, otherwise the eyes of the two Sphinxes will open and shoot lasers at you.

Atreyu decides he's gonna go for it and even though he hesitates at first, he makes a run for it and makes it through the gate. I have to be honest: I didn't quite know what was going on because the next thing you know, he's in a very snowy landscape with howling wind and he comes across a large cave that's frozen and through the ice he can see Bastian reading his book. I guess it took him to a different realm where he can see the person who is reading his story? I guess? IDK? Bastian reads this (that would totally freak me out!) and throws the book into the corner (can't say that I blame him!). Aloud, he says, "What if they really do know about me in Fantasia?" 

Atreyu steps through the ice window and at first I thought he was going to appear in the attic with Bastian, but no, he's now at a second gate guarded by two statues, also with bare breasts. There are sure are a lot of naked breasts (even though they are made of stone!) for a children's movie, but then again, it was made in Europe (Germany)! These statues are the Southern Oracle and when he asks what he can do to save Fantasia, they tell him that the Empress needs a new name. Atreyu is all, "I got this, that's easy", but they tell him he can't do it, in fact "no one from Fantasia can do it. Only a human child can give her this new name." He will only be able to find said human child "beyond the boundaries of Fantasia." Aha! It finally clicks! If we go back to the bookstore shopkeeper, he obviously wanted Bastian to take the book because he had been reading the story and knew what (or who, rather) was needed and he told Bastian that this book wasn't for him because he knows that if you tell a kid they can't have something, then they want it even more. But how long was he holding onto the book for and waiting for a kid to enter the store for? Inquiring minds want to know! 

Now we get a montage of Atreyu flying on Falkor's fluffy pink back with terrible backgrounds of the sky. There's a storm and Atreyu falls off into the Sea of Possibilities (gotta love these geographical names!) and there's also a really bad storm wherever Bastian is (we're really never told where he lives geographically). This is when those candles come in handy. I love how he gets up to shut the window, then three seconds  later, he exclaims "Atreyu!" like he forgot what he was doing.

Atreyu and Falkor can't find each other and are calling each other's names. That's okay because they'll find each other soon, but in the meantime, Atreyu comes across Rockbiter, the only character from the beginning of the (neverending!) story to return in a later scene. Atreyu tells him he failed because he was the one chosen to stop The Nothing, but now he's lost the Auryn (it fell in the sea, but, honestly, it's not like we saw him using it at all) and he can't find his Luck Dragon so now he won't be able to get beyond the boundaries of Fantasia. 

Gmork (remember, he's the wolf who's after him) shows up and, surprise! He can talk! He tells the boy he's been sent to kill Atreyu but doesn't seem to realize that the kid he's talking to is Atreyu, which makes no sense. When Atreyu says he can't get beyond the boundaries of Fantasia, Gmork tells him there are no boundaries in Fantasia and that "It's the world of human fantasy. Every part, every creature of it, is a piece of the dreams and hopes of mankind." The reason Fantasia is dying is because people have begun "to lose their hopes and forget their dreams." The Nothing is "the emptiness that's left." When Atreyu reveals who he is (hmm, I would have kept that information to myself if this bloodthirsty wolf was out to kill me but didn't know I was the one he was supposed to kill!), Gmork pounces on him, but Atreyu has some makeshift shiv and stabs him. This all happens within three seconds. It's very anti-climatic. Maybe Gmork serves a bigger purpose in the book, but he wasn't really needed in the movie, and, honestly, I kind of forgot about him. 

We see Falkor find the Auryn in the sea, then he retrieves Atreyu and they continue their journey. Fantasia has been pretty much demolished and it looks like they're traveling through space with just a bunch of rocks floating around. We finally see Atreyu use the Auryn to guide him to the Ivory Tower which is still standing on one large lone rock. 

The Empress is actually referred to as the Childlike Empress and this is because she is played by a young girl (probably eleven years old). Wouldn't it be weird to have someone be the ruler of your land who is actually quite old, but looks like a child? I don't think I would like; it would weird me out too much. 

When she asks Atreyu why he looks so sad (and she's whispering the entire time), he tells her it's because he's failed her, but she tells him he hasn't and that he's brought "the earthling child" with him. Well, of course, he's confused because he never contacted any human child, but she tells him she has and that "He has suffered with you. He went through everything you went through. And now, he has come here with you." Okay, let's back up here. Has Bastion really suffered with him? Really, has he? Yes, he cried with Artax died, but it's not like he's been on this perilous journey. He's just been inside his school's attic. I did love Bastian's shout of "WHAT?"! when she says that he is very close, listening to every word they say. The Childlike Empress continues, "He doesn't realize he's already a part of the NeverEnding Story...Just as he is sharing all of your adventures, others are sharing his." Okay, I'm not going to lie. It took me a minute to realize she was talking about all the people who were watching the movie who are watching Bastian who is reading the story. It's like one of those Russian dolls. My mind is blown! And if Bastian wasn't already convinced that the characters in this book knew about him, he should have definitely been when she talks about how he hid from the bullies, then took the book with the auryn symbol on the cover "in which he's reading his own story."

Unfortunately, Bastian may be a bit of an idiot because out loud he exclaims, "I can't believe it! They can't be talking about me!" Atreyu raises a good point and says that maybe this human child doesn't know what to do and Bastian is like, yeah, give me some instructions here. So the Empress says that all he has to do is give her a new name. Just needs to call it out. That's all. That's it. Easy peasy lemon squeezey. But instead of doing that, Bastian says, "But it's only a story. It's not real!" OH MY GOD. JUST. CALL. OUT. THE. DAMN. NAME. ALREADY!!!!! Is this kid some sadist who is enjoying torturing these characters? Because that is exactly what he is doing! The Empress herself literally has to address him by his name when she says, "Bastian, why won't you do what you dream?" Bastian replies that he has to keep his feet on the ground, like he promised his dad in the first scene. She is crying, begging him to save them. Wouldn't it be f***ed up if he just closed the book and walked away? 

The storm is getting so bad now that tree limbs are crashing through the windows and breaking the glass. He goes to the window and screams something out into the storm. I'm not sure why he couldn't just say the name where he was sitting. I had no idea what he said and even the subtitles say he's just screaming. I listened to a couple podcasts about this movie and learned he says "Moon Child" which I definitely heard the second time I watched it. In the scene when he reads about Atreyu finding out that the Empress needs a new name, Bastian mentions something about his mother having a wonderful name and I'm wondering, was "Moon Child" his mom's name? If so, that's, uh, an interesting name. Where did he get Moon Child from? I guess it would be more weird if he had shouted out "Linda"; maybe he thought "Moon Child" fit this mythical being better. Who the hell knows. This movie is weird. 

After he screams the name, the screen goes dark and quiet and suddenly is he next to the Childlike Empress. When he asks why it is so dark, she replies, "In the beginning, it is always dark." Wait, so did he reset the story? Is this why they call it The NeverEnding Story because it just starts over again and again and again and again? Are the characters going to have to depend on some human child every time their story starts over? 

She is holding one grain of sand which is all of what is left of Fantasia. It may have disappeared, but, as she tells him, it can "arise anew from your dreams and wishes." He gets as many wishes as he wants and this will help Fantasia appear and she encourages him to make as many wishes as he can: "The more wishes you make, the more magnificent Fantasia will become." This girl is better than a genie! 

His first wish is to ride Falkor and we see him wave to all the characters he's met along the way as he's flying over Fantasia (which seems to be back to normal now) and the best part is that Artax is alive as we see Atreyu riding him! Hurray for Artax! 

The very last scene of this movie is the stupidest thing ever: Bastian takes Fallor into the real world to scare the three bullies who threw him in the dumpster. I hate that characters from The NeverEnding Story are entering into the real world: I feel like that shouldn't be allowed to happen and it's just such a stupid scene. It should have just ended after we see Artax galloping happily along.