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Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F – Eddie Murphy Returns in Mixed Bag Sequel

Eddie Murphy has stepped back into the iconic role of Detective Axel Foley, 40 years after the original Beverly Hills Cop made him a superstar. The fourth installment, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F, released on Netflix, brings back Murphy and other cast members from the 1984 film, sparking a wave of nostalgia. However, critics are divided on whether the film successfully revives the beloved action-comedy franchise or merely recycles old formulas.

The original Beverly Hills Cop became a cultural phenomenon, making Murphy a household name and leading to two sequels and a chart-topping soundtrack. Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F aims to capture that same magic, but opinions are split. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw gave it two stars, describing the reunion as having “little energy to enliven their formulaic reunion.” He noted that while Murphy’s comedic talent is still evident, the film feels tired and formulaic.

In the new film, Foley returns to Beverly Hills when his estranged daughter’s life is threatened. Taylour Paige stars as his daughter Jane, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays his new partner, Detective Bobby Abbott. The plot follows Foley as he navigates the high-stakes world of Beverly Hills to protect his daughter and uncover corruption within the police force.

The Independent’s Clarisse Loughrey also awarded the film two stars, criticizing its lack of fresh content. She noted that while the film acknowledges its problematic predecessor, it fails to offer anything new or significant for Murphy to work with. In contrast, USA Today’s Brian Truitt found more to enjoy, praising the film’s classic elements and describing it as a “confident fourth outing” that leans on nostalgia effectively.

The LA Times’ Glenn Whipp appreciated the film’s dedication to the original’s spirit, stating that “everyone involved understood the assignment.” He acknowledged the nostalgic cheer and Murphy’s effective performance, even if the film lacks the brash swagger of its predecessors. The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin echoed this sentiment, awarding it four stars and commending Murphy’s lively performance and the team’s successful recreation of the original film’s rhythm and spirit.

However, not all critics were impressed. The New York Times’ Robert Daniels criticized the film for its lack of originality and excitement, calling it a “painfully lackluster retread.” Variety’s Owen Gleiberman added that while the film might tickle viewers’ nostalgia, it ultimately feels past its expiration date due to its reliance on familiar tropes and lack of fresh perspective.

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