Length: 104 minutes
Release Date: May 25, 1994
Directed by: John Landis
Genre: Action / Comedy / Crime
“Beverly Hills Cop III” is the third installment in the “Beverly Hills Cop” film franchise. In this film, Detroit cop Axel Foley once again finds his way to Beverly Hills to solve a crime. He teams up with his old partner, Rosewood, and Rosewood’s new partner, Flint. As the trio investigates the death of Inspector Todd, Axel’s boss, they uncover an illegal operation and learn the identity of Todd’s killer.
“Beverly Hills Cop III” opens in Detroit during a shootout at a chop shop that results in the death of Axel’s boss, Inspector Douglass Todd. During the shootout, Axel sees the assailant leave, but he does not know the man’s identity. Despite his somewhat tenuous past with Todd, Axel begins to hunt down his former boss’s killer.
Axel traces a credit card receipt that he finds at the scene of the crime, which leads him to an amusement park called Wonder World in Beverly Hills. There, Axel teams up with his old friend, Rosewood, and his new partner, Flint.
The three men visit the amusement park, where men posing as security guards try to shoot and kill Axel. The men are quickly brought to the park’s head of security, Ellis DeWald, who Axel believes is responsible for Todd’s death. Since DeWald has a history of helping the Beverly Hills police department, Rosewood and Flint are initially skeptical that he is the killer.
As Axel looks deeper into the operations of Wonder World and DeWald’s business interests, he is framed for a murder and nearly killed. His investigation culminates in a shootout at Wonder World that leaves several men dead, but he ultimately exposes the real killer’s identity and his deadly secret.
Eddie Murphy returns to play the always-in-trouble Detroit cop who nevertheless has a knack for solving crimes. Murphy slides effortlessly into the role he has played twice before, and his portrayal of the character is exactly what fans of the movie franchise have come to expect. His performance is gritty yet at times punctuated by humor. Murphy also has great on-screen chemistry with Judge Reinhold, who plays Rosewood.
The cast in this installment is mixed up slightly by Todd’s death and the introduction of a new character, Rosewood’s partner, Flint. There are also a few scenes that show Beverly Hills cops from the previous two films, and the installments are connected together by the inclusion of many of the same supporting characters.
Some big changes have occurred during the gap between the second film and the third, but most of the developments are fully explained. Early on in the film, Axel learns that Taggart has since retired from the police force, but no mention is made of Bogomil, who was promoted to police chief in the second installment. The film subtly includes the two previous characters in the film by including a close-up shot of a picture of Axel, Bogomil and Taggart on Axel’s desk. Although the film does not fully explain the disappearance of one of the previous main characters, the rest of the film is seamless.
The plot is especially well-constructed and follows the basic outline of the previous films, but the formula features a new and exciting twist. Like one of the previous films, someone close to Axel is killed, which leads him on a quest to find the murderer. In the case of “Beverly Hills’ Cop III,” Axel must prove that he knows Todd’s killer’s identity. Although it appears as if Axel is right about the killer’s identity, there is just enough doubt to make the ending a surprise.
The events of the film unfold very quickly, making the entire film fly by. There is also plenty of action, and the amusement park provides the perfect backdrop for shootouts and undercover surveillance operations. The various rides, crowds and games also facilitate a number of high-flying stunts that simultaneously create suspense and enhance the fight sequences.
In addition to the investigation and murder plots, there are also a lot of great scenes filled with humorous events. Murphy’s character again uses some unconventional methods to track down the killer with very funny results. Although there is some tension between Axel and Rosewood over Axel’s belief that DeWald is the killer, the duo ultimately have another exciting and eventful adventure tracking down a killer. The ending of the film is satisfying and reflects the furthering of the characters’ relationship both personally and professionally.
“Beverly Hills Cop III” has a great balance of mystery, action and comedy. Eddie Murphy once again leads the film with his portrayal of a determined cop who stops at nothing to track down killers. In comparison to the previous installments of the film franchise, “Beverly Hills Cop III” is just as good, and maybe even a little bit better.