Can Eddie Murphy’s ‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley’ Be the ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ of Comedy?

Can ‘80s nostalgia supercharge another classic reboot?
Can Eddie Murphy’s ‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley’ Be the ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ of Comedy?

Hell yeah, that’s Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley in a just-released photo exclusive for Empire Magazine. He’s giving off serious ‘80s vibes in a Detroit Lions letterman’s jacket, swaggering around what appears to be an overturned car. Did he just stick a damn banana in somebody’s tailpipe? If you possibly had that thought, then Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley producers will be pumped — it’s a movie designed to bring back all the nostalgic feels, including the days when people watched their favorite comedies over and over again.

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It’s like a class reunion. All of your old Beverly Hills Cop faves are back — in addition to Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Paul Reiser and Bronson Pinchot return. So does ultimate ‘80s movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who’s firing up the old-school hype train to get movie viewers excited about this sequel … er, reboot … er, refresh. The new one that is just like the old one, but newer. There’s a good reason you’re going to love Eddie once again, says Bruckheimer. “Every day he’s there throws you back to the ‘80s.”

Ah, the 1980s. Did we mention the ‘80s? Bruckheimer wants to make sure you’re making the connection, especially since another of his re… imaginings, last year’s Top Gun: Maverick, brought in nearly $1.5 billion at the box office. 

It’s a success he wouldn’t mind repeating, so Bruckheimer is doing everything he can to let us know Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley is the same kind of groove. Remember all of those emotional scenes between Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer in the midst of what Empire calls “the glorious nostalgia?” Hey, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley has the feels too! “It’s about the emotion,” Bruckheimer promises. Even though Axel Foley is more known for funny voices and busting up strip-club heists, we’re going to get to know Axel’s softer side. “No matter how funny it is, how much great action it has, it’s all about the heartstrings.” 

None of Bruckheimer’s words are an accident. With The Marvels clocking in as the latest superhero movie to underperform expectations at the box office, industry analysts are wondering what can replace capes and tights as surefire winners. On a recent episode of The Town podcast, Bloomberg pundit Lucas Shaw said some studios are banking on generational nostalgia. You grew up with Super Mario BrothersBarbie and Top Gun — aren’t you in a big-ass hurry to see them again? In those three cases, obviously, it worked.

But will generational nostalgia work for Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley? Here’s the stupidly obvious answer: Maybe, if it’s good. “Hollywood has been remaking movies from the 80s and 90s for 20 years now,” reminds The Town host Matt Belloni. “I don’t think that’s the answer.”

Bruckheimer does. Bring back an iconic actor like Cruise or Murphy, reestablish them in an iconic role, and then simply let the magic happen. “Anytime (Murphy) walks on set, you never know what you’re going to get,” Bruckheimer gushed to Empire. “And it’s always pretty brilliant.”

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