Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Comedy takes a back seat to action in this third go-round for Eddie Murphy as wisecracking Detroit cop Axel Foley, who tackles bad guys in posh Beverly Hills.
Rating:
R
Genre:
Action & Adventure , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Paramount Home Video

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Cast

Eddie Murphy
as Axel Foley
Judge Reinhold
as Billy Rosewood
Hector Elizondo
as Jon Flint
Theresa Randle
as Janice Perkins
Timothy Carhart
as Ellis deWald
John Saxon
as Orrin Sanderson
Alan Young
as Uncle Dave Thornton
Stephen McHattie
as Steve Fulbright
Jon Tenney
as Levine
Joey Travolta
as Giolito
Eugene Collier
as Leppert
Jimmy Ortega
as Rondell
Ousaun Elam
as Pederson
Ray Lykins
as Nixon
Tim Gilbert
as McKee
Rick Avery
as Cline
Gil Hill
as Todd
Dick Purtan
as Detroit Disc Jockey
Lindsey Ginter
as Holloway
Greg McKinney
as Kimbrough
Michael Bowen
as Fletch
David Parry
as Taddeo
Al Green
as Minister
Hattie Winston
as Mrs. Todd
Tracy Lindsey Melchior
as Ticket Booth Girl
Gregory McKinney
as Kimbrough
Forry Smith
as Rondy
Dan Martin
as Cooper
Steven Banks
as Spider Ride Operator
George Lucas
as Disappointed Man
Christina Venuti
as Disappointed Girl
Jonathan Hernandez
as Scared Boy
Christy Alvarez
as Scared Girl
Yareli Arizmendi
as Scared Kids' Mom
Jeannie Epper
as Spider Rider
Kurtis Epper Sanders
as Spider Rider
William B. Taylor
as Spider Rider
Neva Sosna
as Spider Rider
Nichole McAuley
as Spider Rider
Jerra Stewart
as Spider Rider
Patty Raya MacMillan
as Spider Rider
Meadow Williams
as Spider Rider
Aileen Acain
as Waitress
Martha Coolidge
as Security Woman
Symba Smith
as Annihilator Girl
Julie Strain
as Annihilator Girl
Heather Elizabeth Parkhurst
as Annihilator Girl
Joe Dante
as Jailer
Curtis Williams Jr.
as Little Kid
Helen Martin
as Grandma
Albie Selznick
as Technician
Charlie Chun
as Technician
Roger E. Reid
as Man on Phone
Royce Reid
as Feisty Kid
Hector Correa
as Man with Video Camera
Elaine Kagan
as Sanderson's Secretary
Tino Insana
as Burly Cop
John Rubinow
as Doctor
Hank McGill
as Paramedic
Cherilyn Shea
as Girl at Corner
Peter Medak
as Man at Corner
Arthur Hiller
as Bar Patron
Ray Harryhausen
as Bar Patron
Robert B. Sherman
as Bar Patron
Gene Elman
as Bartender
Jerry Dunphy
as Newscaster
Barbet Schroeder
as Man in Porsche
Philip Levien
as Serge's Assistant
John Singleton
as Fireman
Lisa Allen
as Prescott Pig
Julie Dolan
as Prescott Pig
Christian Heath
as Oki-Doki
Pat Quinn
as Oki-Doki
Sean Spence
as Rufus Rabbit
James Makinnon
as Rufus Rabbit
Jennifer Cobb
as Meyer Lion
Deanna Lynn Walsh
as Meyer Lion
Susan Gayle
as Kopy Kat
Devin McRae
as Kopy Kat
Wendy Harpenau
as Liddle Bear
Felicia Wong
as Liddle Bear
Marlene Hoffman
as Big Bear
Wanda Welch
as Big Bear
Liza Macawili
as Floyd Fox
Robin Navlyt
as Floyd Fox
Dave Myers
as Tippy Turtle
Matt Myers
as Tippy Turtle
Nick Hermz
as Tadross Gorilla
Tim Shuster
as Tadross Gorilla
Tracy Lindsey
as Ticket Booth Girl
Curtis Williams
as Little Kid
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Critic Reviews for Beverly Hills Cop III

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (16)

It's one of the most cynically engineered sequels ever.

Full Review… | May 2, 2014
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Landis relies on routine action -- and cameos by such noted filmmakers as George Lucas, John Singleton, Martha Coolidge and others -- to hide the fact that there's no engine under his movie's hood.

Full Review… | May 2, 2014
Seattle Times
Top Critic

The mix of violence and laughs never gels, the rejoinders are snapless, the pace slack.

Full Review… | May 2, 2014
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

The movie... isn't nearly as fresh as the first Cop flick was. But I must admit that it's a whole lot more enjoyable than the contemptible crashathon known as Beverly Hills Cop II.

Full Review… | May 2, 2014
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Eddie Murphy needs to shoot off his mouth. It's his best weapon, and the one that's unique to his arsenal. When a movie mostly requires him to shoot off a gun he becomes just another action star, and another talent wasted in lazily miscalculated material.

Full Review… | May 2, 2014
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Steven E. de Souza's script has Foley following a trail of murder and deception into an L. A. amusement park called WonderWorld. The director, John Landis, fails to exploit the possibilities.

May 2, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Beverly Hills Cop III

I've spoken at grat length in my film reviews about the disappointing nature of threequels. Most of the time the disappointment comes from the first film or two films being really good and the third one falling short - but with Beverly Hills Cop the bar wasn't all that high to begin with. Nonetheless, Beverly Hills Cop III is the weakest instalment in the trilogy, with both John Landis and Eddie Murphy on autopilot and neither really wanting to be there. As a film enthusiast, you're always looking to find the best in any given film. If a film is not great, you praise the bits that are good. If none of it is good, you argue that it's not memorably bad. If it is memorably bad, you put the case that it's so-bad-it's-good. And if it's offensively terrible (or terribly offensive), you try and argue that such offense could have some perverse cultural value. From this point of view the hardest films to defend - and the hardest to review - are those which are bad in a boring way, and Beverly Hills Cop III is a very bad, very boring film. Considering how much I have criticised Simpson and Bruckheimer, it is ironic that the emptiest film in the series should be the one in which they had the least involvement. The high-concept duo left the project in the late-1980s, feeling that the story (as it was then) was too similar to that of Ridley Scott's thriller Black Rain. By the time Steven E. de Souza came on board, the film was being pitched as "Die Hard in a theme park", which was itself watered down as the budget was cut and Joel Silver jumped ship. The inertia that dogged the film's production is all too evident on screen, with both director and cast having a load of props but no idea how or why they should use them. You could make the observation at this point that the Beverly Hills Cop trilogy is one of progressive narrative disengagement. The first film had good potential in its plot and a decent comic conceit, but it never really made the most of either and came out a little undercooked. BHC II rehashed the plot but gave even less credit to the audience's intelligence, resulting in a film that was flashy, asinine and dull. BHC III is arguably the most cynical, since there is no effort put into any part of its creative vision: it just sits there unwanted for 100 minutes, boring and depressing us, and then it's gone. Despite its incredibly cynical nature, however, it's very hard to get angry at BHC III. You want to summon up a ball of rage against it, denounce the system that produced it, or John Landis for directing it, or Eddie Murphy was thinking it was a good script. But there is nothing in the film that could produce such a reaction, no matter how hard we try. Even with the re-emergence of Serge, one of the most annoying and offensive aspects of the first film, this is ultimately too boring and goofy to induce anger. There are many bad films that induce anger because they squander great potential - The Millionairess and Atlantis being prime examples. But BHC III has very little potential to start with, and so when that potential isn't fulfilled upon, it almost plays to our expectations. Both Murphy and Landis' reputations for quality had taken hits by this juncture, leading us to revise our expectations downwards and hope for something serviceable. When we don't even get that, the stakes are too low to generate anything more than a mild twinge of disappointment. Putting aside the lengthy production problems, much of the failure of BHC III can be blamed on Eddie Murphy. Landis took the gig knowing that the script wasn't any good, on the grounds that Martin Brest had got around the same problem by letting Murphy improvise. But when Landis tried to feed Murphy shtick or give him room to move, Murphy refused to say the lines or do anything funny. If Bronson Pinchot is to be believed, Murphy was very jealous of the success enjoyed by Wesley Snipes and Denzel Washington in straight roles, and tried to steer away from anything that made Axel Foley a "wiseass" (i.e. pretty much everything). Some of Pinchot's longer scenes were shot with just Landis, which might explain why so many of the jokes fall flat. Because Murphy is so unwilling to play ball, all of the moments in BHC III that could have been funny take on an odd and awkward feeling. The lengthy final set-piece on the Wonderworld rides feels like it was originally written as a big comic finale - perhaps along the lines of The Pink Panther Strikes Again, where every aspect of a building is used to source a joke or generate tension. But with Murphy missing all his cues, the other actors seem unsure of how to play the scenes, and the film increasingly feels like a comedy which is trying to escape itself. Throughout the film there are little glimpses of Landis' comedic pedigree, but all these moments are so out of context that they almost feel like a pastiche. There's an early musical number, with the car-jackers dancing around to Diana Ross and the Supremes, but that's surrounded by attempts at serious build-up, including the killing-off of Foley's boss. The disintegration of Murphy's car in the ensuing chase might have worked in The Blues Brothers (or The Pink Panther series), but here it feels bizarre and unnecessary. The film continually fails at comedy, either by pulling up short of its punch lines or having no sense of timing. At the very least, you would expect Landis to have made more of the theme park setting. Even if the physical or situational comedy fell flat, you could argue that there would be some value in a comedy which tried to poke fun at the corporate paranoia of Disney and the like. But as with its big set-pieces, the more dialogue-driven scenes are void of ambition; the satire is bald if not completely non-existent, and there are episodes of Scooby Doo with greater tension as to the identity of the villain. The only other characteristic of BHC III that is becoming of Landis is the abundance of cameos. In my review of Burke & Hare, I praised Landis for his restraint in this regard, only bringing people in for a good knowing laugh - whether it's Jenny Agutter playing a hammy actress, or Michael Winner going off a cliff in a stagecoach. His use of cameos here is far more akin to Into The Night, with a host of famous film faces turning up for little to no good reason. The most obvious and awkward of these is George Lucas, whom Murphy forces off the ferris wheel just before he saves the children. This brings us on nicely (or rather not) to the issue of exploitation. Not only is the film's satire of the Disney culture incredibly bald, but it often falls into the opposite trap and becomes as blatantly manipulative as the theme parks itself. The entire action scene involving Murphy saving the children is a shameless attempt to engender empathy with his character - empathy that is never justified at any other point before or after. Likewise Theresa Randle's character gets nothing to do except be put in situations where Axel can save her or hit on her. While she's by no means the worst example of a damsel in distress in fiction, it's still a very cheap trick. The performances in BHC III are all immensely lacklustre. Murphy sets the tone, looking either bored or frustrated and giving the distinct impression that he has fallen out of love with the character. Judge Reinhold is largely phoning it in, making very little of Billy's new powers and having no-one to bounce off (both Ronny Cox and John Ashton declined to appear). Timothy Carhart makes the very least of his villain, hitting most of the beats he needs to but not leaving any lasting impression. Even Alan Young, most famous for voicing Scrooge McDuck in DuckTales, doesn't particularly register: he does the minimum that is required, and then leaves as soon as he can. Beverly Hills Cop III is a boring and depressing end to a franchise that barely got off the ground in the first place. With both its star and director working against their strengths and no effort being expended on the script, the film trudges and slumps from one failed joke to the next before eventually collapsing in a sorry heap. Ultimately it's too boring to get too angry about, but it remains a low point in the careers of all involved.

Daniel Mumby
Daniel Mumby

Super Reviewer

The third and last movie of this series follows the same formula as the last one, there are no surprises, in fact it's worse than the second one. I did not like this movie, and I don't recommend it.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

The weakest in the series by quite a way. The first 2 were very good and I thought the second film was the best, just a bit slicker than the other two. It's a real shame that the Taggert character is not in this one. It starts with plenty of action but things get a bit silly and camp at the wonderworld theme park. Good to see Bronson Pinchot, Serge, back from the first film though. Hopefully next years 4th installment will have as many of the characters from the original as possible and a better story than this.

Dean King
Dean King

Super Reviewer

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