Critics divided over Eddie Murphy’s new film

Getty Images Eddie Murphy attends Netflix premiere in Los Angeles "Beverly Hills agent: Axel F."Getty Images

Critics have had mixed reactions to the fourth Beverly Hills Cop film, which reunites Eddie Murphy and other cast members from the original 1984 film.

Many reviews agreed that Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F evoked nostalgic feelings, with Murphy returning to the iconic role of Detective Axel Foley, 40 years after the first film broke box office records.

In a three-star review, USA Today called the film “a true throwback to comfort food.”

But The Guardian gave the series only two stars, saying there was “little energy to revive their predictable reunion”.

The original Beverly Hills Cop made Murphy a superstar and spawned two sequels over the next decade and a chart-topping soundtrack.

In the new film, which hits Netflix on Wednesday, Foley is back in Beverly Hills and his estranged daughter’s life is threatened.

Clarisse Loughrey of The Independent receives award It gets two stars and writes: “The film has the confidence to poke fun at the franchise’s notoriously bad third installment, but comes to the table with nothing to prove, nothing to say and nothing for Murphy to work with.”

She continued: “It ended up at Netflix, with an inflated figure of $150 million [£118m] budget, right after Bad Boys: Ride or Die.

“Bad Boys owes much of its existence to Beverly Hills Cop, and yet that franchise has managed to mature where this one absolutely failed. A lot of that has to do with the simple recognition that time has passed.”

There was more enthusiasm for the film by Brian Truitt of USA Todaywho described it as “a confident fourth film” in the action film series.

Truitt praised the film’s classic elements, including “retro Bob Seger and Pointer Sisters tunes, that signature Detroit Lions college jacket and the impressive dedication to ridiculousness during the service.”

“And while it’s a very modern release – via streaming rather than in theaters – everything outside of it feels old school,” he noted.

Netflix promotional still from Beverly Hills Cop: Axel FNetflix

The LA Times said it was “clear that Murphy has a fondness for the title character”

In the LA Times, Glenn Whipp was also positive, noting that right from the opening credits “you can tell that everyone involved understood the assignment.”

“The solution to making a new Beverly Hills Cop movie was to just remake the first movie from scratch.”

He continued: “Murphy is effective, even if the tone has shifted from a brash bravado to a nostalgic glee. The heat is gone.”

“While it’s easy to see Axel F as a calculating money-grabber, it’s clear that Murphy has a soft spot for the title character.”

Original cast members Judge Reinhold and John Ashton have joined Murphy for the fourth installment.

The film also stars Taylour Paige, as Foley’s daughter Jane, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as his new partner, Detective Bobby Abbott.

However, The New York Times’ Robert Daniels criticized the film, writing that Murphy “struggles to revive the dying action-comedy series.”

“Murphy returns with the same Detroit Lions jacket, his familiar laugh and his movie star grin.

“But there’s little to laugh about in this painfully dull rehash of the story, which desperately tries to justify its own existence,” he added.

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw agreedand added: “There’s something a little tired and predictable about this new effort for his iconic Detroit agent Axel Foley.

He continued: “It’s still funny when Murphy uses his “white people” voice, once a staple of his stand-up comedy days. But like Murphy’s Coming 2 America , this feels a little stale, and a grown man like him can’t play up the subversive anarchic comedy energy the way he did.

“Murphy could still do comedy or drama with the right script, but that requires a lot of brand loyalty from the audience.”

The latest film marks the first time in 30 years that Murphy has reprised the role that paved the way to his stardom.

He was in his 20s when he made the first film and is now 63, with a string of films to his credit including The Nutty Professor, Shrek and Norbit.

Netflix promotional still from Beverly Hills Cop: Axel FNetflix

The Hollywood Reporter said the sequel “appears to be past its sell-by date”

In a four-star review, Robbie Collin of the Telegraph said: “Murphy’s comedy is stuck in the ’80s – and that’s fine.

“Debutant Mark Molloy and his team do a wonderful job of recreating the rhythm, texture and spirit of the original film,” he said, adding that “Murphy is in lively, vibrant form and seems to be enjoying the experience.”

Hollywood’s trade publications largely agreed with the first new episode in three decades, with Deadline’s Pete Hammond commenting: “Thanks to Murphy and the cast reunion, [the film] is a lot of fun and moves like a rocket.

“The film should have been released in theaters, where it could have done well, but Netflix subscribers will love it.”

Owen Gleiberman of Variety suggested the film “might tickle your nostalgia bone,” but added: “Of course, the difference between then and now is that in the 40 years since Beverly Hills Cop, 400 action comedies have spawned these same tropes. Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F is just one of them.”

Ultimately, the film will “satisfy diehard fans” concluded David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter.

“But the lack of a fresh perspective, the lack of tension and the slavishness with which the filmmakers stick to the original formula in one unimaginative action scene after another make the sequel seem past its sell-by date.”

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