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Eddie Murphy, please don't wreck your Axel

May 6, 2014 - Paul Giannamore
“Good heavens, nooooooooo…,” I said to myself in slow motion as the story was intoned over the smartphone app: “Eddie Murphy will star in ‘Beverly Hills Cop IV.’”

I was already worried when there was talk of a TV series focusing on Axel Foley’s son, with Murphy reprising his role as the movie action-funnyman-hero as his son’s boss, or something.

Now comes word that Murphy will bring Detroit cop Foley back to the big screen in 2016, with the plans for the TV show canned.

Umm, Eddie? Can we talk?

You were fantastic in your breakout role as Axel Foley. The whole negotiation with the bad guys in the truckload full of cigarettes from the Dearborn Hijacking ranks right up there among my all-time favorite movie scenes. “I know I ain’t dealin’ with Johnny Bananas” ranks up there among my favorite all-time lines. I often ask The Boss at Work, when he’s surprised that yours truly actually remembered to do something, “Who do you think you’re dealin’ with? Johnny Bananas.”

My wife often used the line from Axel turning his old Nova over to a country club parking attendant back when she was driving a dented, ancient car: "Can you give this a good parking spot? You see all this? This happened the last time I parked here."

Axel was just too darned cool. And the movie was cast perfectly. And well acted. And it became kind of an icon of my young adult years.

And “Cop II” was good because it added a more human, loyal side to the action hero Foley and his Beverly Hills cops sidekicks Rosewood and Taggart, as well as giving background to Chief Bogomil. (Oh, and the Motor City's own Bob Seger's "Shakedown" theme...genius stuff. On every digital device I own to this day.)

Then came “Cop III,” the once-too-often visit to the well of sequels, or so I thought. It just became the Axel Foley Comedy Action Show, and stopped just short of tarnishing the character for good. Not even the presence of Hector Elizondo could save this film.

So, Eddie, you’re 52. I know guys pull off the action stunts thing at far older so that's not a problem. And, since I'm your age, I figure, go for it. Let ‘em know we aren’t dead.

But please. Please. Follow Stallone’s example. Don’t pick up IV where III left off. Call the movie “Axel Foley,” a la “Rocky Balboa.” Give us back the quality, the drama and comedic acting you’re very capable of. And let the stunt stuff fall where it may.

Don’t wreck the franchise.


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