Most seem to agree that Martin Brest's "Beverly Hills Cop" was a very entertaining action caper. Audiences seem to be a bit more split on the film's sequel, which was considerably more stylish, but also much more of the same. However, many can seem to agree that, at the point of the third film of the trilogy, things had really run their course. Producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson were no longer involved and instead of a more action-oriented director like Tony Scott, we get John Landis, who doesn't have much of a visual style, nor does he seem to be a particularly strong director of action.
The film begins with Foley having to break up a chop-shop operation, which results in his commanding officer being killed. This leads Foley back to Beverly Hills. This time, he finds himself investigating the happenings at a local amusement park, which may be a front for a money laundering operation. Joined again by Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) and a veteran cop (Hector Elizondo), Foley has to foil Ellis DeWald (Timothy Carhart), the head of the park's security force.
The film's flaws don't seem to be the fault of Murphy. With his infectious laugh and solid energy, Murphy seems like he came to play once again this time. There's just a different feel to the characters and situations; Landis' picture is an uneasy mixture of slapstick and action. The action sequences are not filmed or staged in the manner of a more visually interesting director such as number II's Tony Scott, Rob Cohen or someone like Richard Donner and his "Lethal Weapon" series. Foley seems to stumble onto the situations rather than cleverly get his way in the door. The pace of the film drags at times, as well; the humor doesn't spark and there's little energy. Several cameos by such filmmakers as George Lucas (Star Wars) and Joe Dante (Gremlins) may give film fans something to do while they're watching the film unravel. Supporting performances by Elizondo, Reinhold and even Bronson Pinchot (speaking of Pinchot, does anyone else miss "Perfect Strangers", that 80's TV show he was in?) are fairly good, as well, although they don't quite manage to inject enough energy into the film to save it. I wouldn't go as far as to call this an awful film, but it's a very mediocre one.
VIDEO: Paramount presents "Beverly Hills Cop III" in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen (director Tony Scott's part II was the only one of the three shot in 2.35:1). Landis's visual style is back-to-basics and while this most recent of the three films looks crisp and clean, it's also the most visually uninspired. Still, as with the other three features, sharpness and detail are excellent. In this particular case, the film seemed exceptionally crisp and clear, often with good detail even into the backgrounds.
As with the second feature, the only problem that I noticed was a bit of edge enhancement, although even that was a little less noticable here. Print flaws are almost completely absent, as the film remains free of all but a few stray specks and a couple of minor hints of grain. No pixelation was seen. While the film isn't very slick or vivid, the colors of the theme park at least provide solid, vibrant colors that look nicely saturated and crisp. Black level remains strong, while flesh tones look accurate and natural.
SOUND: As "Beverly Hills Cop III" was released in 1994, it was the first (and probably last, given the fact that I doubt another film is planned) film to be presented in 5.1 audio theatrically. The result is a picture that's got a few instances of solid surround use (such as at the begining and end), but doesn't have the wall-to-wall score that the earlier pictures had. "II"'s newly remastered soundtrack was almost more interesting, as the score really seemed to fill the room better. When this film doesn't have an action sequence, the soundtrack really folds up to the front, becoming mainly dialogue driven.
MENUS:: The film-themed menus are animated, but still a bit more basic in comparison to the menus for "II".
Cast and Crew Interviews: As with the featurette for the second picture, this set of cast and crew interviews are actually pretty interesting. Writer Steven E. de Souza, Judge Reinhold and others provide interviews that discuss where the filmmakers wanted the third picture to go with the characters, as well as how the production progressed.
Final Thoughts: While "Beverly Hills Cop II" had a terrific visual style and a few strong moments of action and comedy, the third picture really doesn't succeed with either. I'll admit there are a few entertaining moments, but they seem few and far between.
The Film **
Video 89/B+ = (356/400 possible points)
Audio: 86/B = (344/400 possible points)
Extras: 71/C = (213/300 possible points)
Menus: 75/C = (150/200 possible points)
Value: 80/B- = (240/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: **
DVD GRADE: B