Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

It seems like the movies and TV shows present us with two extremes when it comes to law enforcement.  There are the straight-laced, by-the-book officers that play within the rules.  They don’t get much grief from their superiors and occasionally get results.  Axel Foley isn’t that kind of police officer.  He’s the kind of guy that would take evidence and use it to catch some more bad guys.  In the first few minutes of the movie, his bust goes bad and he watches as his evidence (cigarettes) falls off the back of a truck while his suspect manages to use said truck to destroy half the cars in Detroit.  (I’ve always felt bad for anyone that had to find their car in ruins with no idea of what actually happened.)  This doesn’t go over well with his boss.

When Foley gets back to his apartment, he finds that Mikey Tandino has broken in and made himself at home.  Fortunately, Mikey is an old friend.  He’s just been released from prison and already has a job as a security guard out in Beverly Hills.  The thing is that he’s stolen some bearer bonds from his new boss.  Mikey gets himself killed right outside of Foley’s apartment.  This really doesn’t go over well with his boss.

Foley offers to take some time off, even if it means saying that he’ll in no way investigate his friend’s death.  So, of course Foley begins not investigating his friend’s death in Beverly Hills.  He even manages to shoehorn himself into a booked hotel.  Unfortunately, he’s not so lucky with Mikey’s boss, Victor Maitland.  Two minutes together and Maitland has Foley escorted out the lobby window.  This, in turn, attracts the local police, who arrest Foley.

Foley knows that Maitland is up to something.  Fortunately for Foley, a mutual friend of his and Mikey’s works for Maitland and can get him in to otherwise restricted areas.  Take, for instance, Maitland’s warehouse, where Foley finds ground coffee.  Normally, coffee wouldn’t be suspicious except this is a holding area for items that are supposed to be going through customs.  This probably means drugs.  The trick is proving it without getting thrown back in jail.

I remember someone talking about the TV show Frasier.  I think it David Hyde Pierce.  He was saying that if an actual psychiatrist did one tenth of the things that Frasier did, they’d lose their license and be thrown in jail.  Most of what happened was played for comedic effect.  Similarly, most of what Axel Foley does is to play off of the local detectives, Rosewood and Taggart.  Rosewood and Taggart are by the book and seem to only get in trouble because of Foley.

Speaking of which, I could never figure out why Alex Foley took Taggart and Rosewood to the strip club.  For those that haven’t seen the movie, I’m about to give away some minor spoilers, so you may want to skip this paragraph.  In one scene, Foley, Taggart and Rosewood are sitting in a strip club, which they went to at Foley’s insistence.  While there, two men rob the strip club.

I could never figure out if Foley somehow knew that this was going to happen or if it was dumb luck.  Why would Foley, who had never been to the area, chose a strip club that was out of the detective’s jurisdiction?  They still refuse drink, as they’re on duty.  Ok.  They probably don’t have many strip clubs in Beverly Hills, but if Foley wanted to make them uncomfortable, he probably could have found something closer.   Did Foley somehow get a tip that was later cut from the movie?  Was he giving Taggart and Rosewood two arrests to make them look good?  Was it just coincidence?

I also tend to find scenes like this movie’s opening scene to be excessive.  We have a truck crashing into pretty much every car it comes across, causing all sorts of damage.  There’s even an explosion.  I always imagine some poor guy coming out and finding his car smashed and he wouldn’t even know how it happened.  This is to say nothing of someone having something important, like their lunch, in the car.  Also, with all the cigarettes falling off the back of the truck, there’s a possibility that some kid will come across a pack or two and keep them for personal use.

It had been a while since I thought of the movie.  It started coming into rotation on Comedy Central, but would usually start just before I had to leave for work.  Because it’s available on Netflix, I was able to watch it when I wanted to and without commercials.  It’s a fun movie that was definitely a product of the 80s.  The only thing that I would say is dated would be the Michael Jackson references. A few times, we see people wearing the distinctive clothes that he made popular.  Other than that, it’s mainly the look of the movie and the appearance of Bronson Pinchot as Serge.  Most people today wouldn’t recognize him as Balki Bartokomous.  Overall, it’s a fun movie to watch.

IMDb page

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