Beverly Hills Cop II (USA, 1987)
Directed by Tony Scott
Starring Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Jürgen Prochnow
When it comes to making sequels, the standard approach in Hollywood is to offer more of the same. Sometimes this is just a case of retaining the same actors, writer or director, but a lot of the time there is a conscious effort not only to match the spirit of the original, but its story too. There are exceptions to this rule like any other, but for every sequel that attempts a break (like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) there's at least a dozen which just copy their predecessor (such as The Hangover Part II).
the first film, it's not as though the plot of BHC II was entirely without potential. Many of its props or character arcs are well-worn staples of each crime thrillers or procedural dramas, and with so many of them around you'd think at least one of them would serve as a springboard into something interesting. The Pink Panther series began with a monogrammed glove and went off in several unexpected directions, and considering the budget involved you'd think they would work hard to justify having these conventions.
his one-star review from 1987, Roger Ebert remarked: "What is comedy? That's a pretty basic question, I know, but Beverly Hills Cop II never thought to ask it." For all the room given to Murphy to improvise, and for all the talent of the performers, the film just isn't funny. Because we can spot all the beats so readily, we're anticipating the same jokes as there were in the first film, jokes that weren't all that hilarious the first time round. Having failed to make us laugh at the same joke twice, the film just stands there desperately waiting for us to laugh, and when we don't it, just throws more stuff at us in the hope that we won't get bored.
NEXT REVIEW: Pulp (1972)