Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)

Second sequels suck. No, not always, but they sure do disappoint.
proudly, shamelessly, BEVERLY HILLS COP 3.

Eddie Murphy is back as Axel Foley, that street-smart show-off who can't
seem to shy from Bevery Hills. His target is the LA amusement park
Wonder World and Foley is hot on the heels of a murderer he met in
Detroit. Giving him grief are the FBI and the BHPD, neither of whom want
Axel grease in their affairs.

Seven years have passed since our last visit to the COP shop; seven
years of civil suits and bad press and all those things that have
officially nixed the notion of the Maverick Cop.  Can we *really*
believe that enforcement agencies would even *dream* of condoning Axel's
actions. Of course not.

As implausible as the premise plots, COP 3 works for a while. The pace
is fast and the jokes are okay. Murphy breezes through scenes that are
tame enough and lame enough to suggest that, maybe, hopefully, bigger
and better things are yet to come.

Not so.

Axel digs deeper into the ways and whys of Wonder World-- courtesy of a
few too many unlocked doors-- and the plot holes grow and grow and grow
until they swallow the film whole.

Are we to believe, courtesy of a counterfeit subplot, that Axel Foley
can pull a digitized photo of himself out of thin air?  Or that the
"largest private police force in the country" doesn't have a soul on
their staff who can shoot straight?  Or that Axel and associates can
kill person after person without even batting an 'brow?

I don't sink so.

The humor is sparse, but not absent. A cute bit bags four off-duty
cartoon-characters playing poker under Wonder World. And there's a great
scene where Murphy, dressed as an elephant (don't ask), pushes a mouthy
moppet into a fountain.

For film fans, the director's trademark touches are few and far-between.
If you *must* see the film, watch for a SWAT-team send-up, a soul-music
shoot-out, and, as usual, cameos from a drove of directors including
George Lucas, Joe Dante, John Singleton, and Barbet Schroeder.

Beyond Murphy's contractually efficient performance, Bronson Pinchot has
two scenes as Serge, now selling arms instead of art. Judge Reinhold,
back as Billy Rosewood, does a cute imitation of Jack Webb. And Hector
Elizondo is agreeable as John Ashton's replacement Jon Flint, the
obligatory family-man-character-with-nothing-else-to-do.

The surprise find is former "Mr. Ed" second-banana Alan Young, who plays
Uncle Dave, designer and proprietor of Wonder World.  Watch for a minor
reference to George Pal's THE TIME MACHINE, which also starred Young.
(Rated "R"/103 min.)

BOTTOM LINE:  Too violent and too implausible to be taken seriously
funny. Maybe the concept of an exciting second-sequel is an oxymoron.

Grade: D+

Copyright 1994 by Michael J. Legeros

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