What does every police department need? A smartass wise-cracking detective from out of state getting in the middle of the action. Eddie Murphy's star-turning Axel Foley smashes the buddy-cop action-comedy genre with Beverly Hills Cop. Martin Brest directs keeping Murphy front and center throwing jokes with ease as Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, and Ronny Cox try to keep up. This 1984 classic earns a justified upgrade to 4K UHD Blu-ray with an excellent Dolby Vision transfer from Paramount. If you're a fan who held off picking up the trilogy set released earlier this year, you're in great hands. Recommended.
Detroit City Police Detective Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) is known for being a good cop with great hunches but always somehow manages to screw up the bust and draw the rage of his boss Inspector Todd (Gilbert R. Hill). But when Foley's screwup best friend turns up with millions in bearer bonds and ends up murdered in front of Foley's apartment, he has no choice but to follow the clues to Beverly Hills. The only problem is the cops in this famous upper-crust community go strictly by the book and they don't much take to outsiders with wiseass attitudes. With Sgt. Taggert (John Ashton), Detective Rosewood (Judge Reinhold), and Lt. Bogomil on Foley's back, he'll have show these stuffed shirts how real cops solve a murder case.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
After an excellent trilogy Blu-ray release earlier this year, Paramount dips back into the catalog well to give Beverly Hills Cop the 4K UHD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital release it deserved from the outset. Housed in a 2-disc case with identical slipcover artwork, the disc loads to a language select menu before arriving at a static image main menu with traditional navigation options.
Arriving with a native 4K 2160p Dolby Vision transfer (with HDR10), Beverly Hills Cop gets the home video release it deserved from the outset. While I really do appreciate the effort that Paramount put into the Beverly Hills Cop Trilogy release giving all three films excellent new transfers, it's a bit bitter sweet to be getting this release so soon. But I'm not going to complain about the results here. The previous 1080p Blu-ray was a welcome upgrade for this film and this 4K presentation just notches the improvements up. Detail clarity gains a nice boost allowing for lifelike facial features, skin tones, and more fine patterns in clothing to come through. I felt like I was seeing a lot more detail in the bearer bonds, the textures and labeling of the shipping crates, and especially Foley's beater of a car.
Dolby Vision HDR does what it should regarding black level stability, color saturation, and white balancing. The opening act in Detroit looks a stop or two darker than the Blu-ray giving the image a much more grungy and to be frank accurate to the city look. There are some locations in that opening montage that haven't changed a day in the thirty-plus years since this movie was made. While darker, colors and skin tones still maintain an accurate appearance. When Foley and Mikey are playing pool, the reds in Mikey's shirt pop beautifully. When the action moves to Beverly Hills, that Detroit-focused grungy look goes away and the image expresses that culture shock of the bright bold California sun and bright blue skies and colorful clothing. The art gallery is another great moment as I felt like I was noticing the wild works in the room much clearer than before.
Black levels are deep and inky with great shadows and color shading. Whites are bright and bold without any blooming issues. While this is a terrific presentation for this movie, this is a film indicative of its vintage and age. Grain is moderate throughout but I never felt it was too intrusive. The overall presentation is nice and film-like with an organic quality to it, but don't expect it to look like a modern digitally sourced release. This is a deep catalog title from 1984 and it looks like as it should without any signs of DNR or other smoothing effects. All around a great release to add to the 4K collection.
The audio for this release sounds like the exact same DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix from the last release which in turn sounds just like the audio mix from the 2011 disc, which isn't bad, it's just not the most dynamic surround mix. The Front/Center channels really do handle the workload with the sides and rears kicking in to offer some small atmospheric effects but not much else. Even during big action sequences the surround effort really is minimal. Kicking on the DTS Neural:X function helps open things up a bit, but it's still not the most amazing track. It works and gets the job done. Levels are on point and there's never any issue hearing the dialog or the iconic synth theme music.
Bonus features are also all the same here with the 4K disc actually having the audio commentary, isolated score, and a few of the other bonus features that came along with the previous release and are included on the 1080p Blu-ray.
Beverly Hills Cop is still an action-packed hilarious comedy 36 years after its release. While the fun may have played out by the time they got to the third film in the series, this original still packs a punch and still cracks me up after dozens of viewings. A true lightning in a bottle movie, this is the film that made Eddie Murphy a megastar. With rumors ramping up for a fourth film, it may be time for Murphy to dust off that Lions jacket and give Foley another spin for the modern era.
Paramount Pictures delivers a terrific 4K UHD Blu-ray release with a native 4K Dolby Vision transfer that looks great and offers several notable improvements over the already excellent Blu-ray release that came out earlier this year. Really my only gripe with this 4K release was that we didn't get it when the trilogy Blu-ray set came out at the beginning of the year. The good news is in that time Paramount has gone whole hog on some great new catalog releases so while it's frustrating to have to dip again, I'm glad to see a major studio embrace their classics and give them the premium releases they deserve. Recommended.