Review for Beverly Hills Cop 2
I love Beverly Hills Cop, one of my favourite eighties movies, and a key part of my adolescence. Surprisingly for a hit movie, I’m fond of its sequel too, although Beverly Hills Cop II didn’t quite match up to the original film. Surprisingly for an eighties movie franchise, it didn’t hit the nadir straight away as film series were so apt to do back then. It took Beverly Hills Cop 3 to really put the nail in that coffin, and repeated attempts to resurrect the franchise, including a recently mooted TV series, have all failed. Suffice it to say that when it came to the Blu-ray upgrades, I actually eschewed the cheaper trilogy collection to buy the first two movies as singles. This is another quickie double-dip upgrade review, looking at the condition of the Blu-ray primarily, and if you want to see what I thought of the film, here’s a link to the original DVD review.
When the Alphabet Bandit commits a spate of carefully planned crimes in Beverly Hills, the only clues left behind are coded messages to taunt the police. Bogomil’s unconventional approach sees him suspended from his job, and then returning from the office, he stops to help a statuesque woman with car trouble and he is brutally gunned down, turning into the B crime. When Axel Foley hears of this, he immediately drops what he is doing in Detroit, and comes to Beverly Hills to find his friend’s assailants. As Bogomil fights for his life in intensive care, Foley joins up again with Taggart and Rosewood to solve the crime. But things have changed in the Beverly Hills Police department, and the new chief of police would like nothing better than to be rid of Bogomil and his old department. The three friends must do their investigating on the sly, and Axel’s talents for wisecracking and sticking his nose in where it isn’t wanted, are needed more than ever.
Beverly Hills Cop II gets a 2.35:1 widescreen transfer at 1080p resolution on this disc, and just as for the first film, it’s not an altogether stellar transfer. Essentially, it is better than the DVD in terms of richness of colour and overall detail, but it’s still not as good as the Blu-ray format is capable of. The same problem of smearing and lack of detail is apparent, with skin tones particularly affected, and while the film looks grainy, it looks like the kind of grain that’s added in post to digital cinematography, not natural film grain. Darker and dustier scenes are particularly compromised for detail, with a lack of contrast, while there are odd moments of softness, but it does look a little better than the first film on Blu-ray.
You have the choice between DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround English, as well as DD 2.0 Surround Spanish, German, French, Italian, and Portuguese, with optional subtitles in these languages, Danish, Japanese, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish. It’s a nice, subtle up-mix of the original stereo track, sending the music around the surrounds, but generally keeping the action to the front of the soundstage, and the dialogue front and centre. The vibrancy and clarity of the lossless track is certainly appreciated, and very much is a step up from the DVD.
The Beverly Hills Cop Blu-ray at least managed to port over the extras from the DVD. For Beverly Hills Cop II, there’s nothing at all, just a barebones movie disc presented with a static menu screen, which takes a surprisingly long time to load. You get 13 chapters to the movie, and a progress bar pops up when you pause the film.
That’s a good forty minutes worth of extras absent, which once again means that I have a DVD that I can’t throw out!
It’s a good thing that the main cast agreed to return for Beverly Hills Cop II, as it’s solely on the strength of the magic that Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, to a lesser extent Ronny Cox (well he is in a coma for most of the film), and in Detroit Gill Hill and Paul Reiser all manage to recreate, that the film works. They capture enough of what made the first film special in terms of the character interactions to make Beverly Hill Cop II a fun ride.
But in every other respect, the film feels shallow. The villains are unimpressive, Tony Scott directs the film like a heavily tinted pop video, and the dichotomy between rundown Detroit and affluent Beverly Hills which was at the heart of the first film, is lost in that pop video gloss here. And I’ve said all this in the review of the DVD.
This Blu-ray is watchable enough, it certainly looks better than the DVD, but it looks nowhere near as good as it should. This time around, Paramount even skimped on the extra features, making this a barebones disc. There’s no reason not to double-dip and upgrade the old DVD, but it’s another Blu-ray to hold onto until Paramount gets around to giving it the transfer it deserves.