Beverly Hills Cop (1984)This is the movie that made Eddie Murphy a star. Axel Foley (Murphy) is a hip, street-smart detective in early 1980s Detroit; as something of a loose cannon, he's not well respected by Da Chief, but the other guys on the force love him. One day, an old friend of his visits — then ends up killed by hitmen just outside Axel's apartment. Despite being warned away from the case Axel, determined to find out what happened, takes vacation time and follows the killers' trail back to Beverly Hills, California.Hilarity Ensues as Axel adjusts to the more straight-laced world of Beverly Hills, using his comedic timing and unflappability to get himself out of some sticky situations. As he tries to build a case againt the Mooks that killed his friend back in Detroit, he manages to talk his way into (and out of) the Beverly Hills jail, his hotel, a bonded warehouse, a country club, and more. Just when he's about to crack the case, the Big Bad arrives and kidnaps his not-quite-love-interest, Jeannette Summers (Lisa Eilbacher), forcing the Beverly Hills police detectives he's been trying to win over to come and help. The movie ends in a massive, scenery-chewing shootout at the villain's huge mansion, with the local detectives learning that sometimes bending the rules isn't so bad after all.Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)Axel Foley is back, this time prompted to return to Beverly Hills after Captain Bogomil is gunned down in cold blood as part of a serial crime rampage. Naturally, the local police chief, Lutz, wants nothing to do with him, so he invents an elaborate cover story, first as a psychic and then later as part of a mythical intercity task force on organized crime. He's up against the "Alphabet Bandit", a man who pulls off daring crimes in broad daylight and leaves behind only a cryptic clue in the form of a coded note. With the aid of Taggart and the newly Bad Ass Rosewood, he traces the bad guys all over the city, including a car chase involving a cement mixer, the Playboy Mansion, and finally a shootout at an international arms smuggling depot. The film features Brigitte Nielsen as Karla Fry, The Dragon.Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)This time, Axel is attempting to take down a car theft ring when the thieves well-armed clients shoot their way out, killing the chief. To avenge his boss, Axel follows a lead to a Los Angeles theme park which is the front for a massive counterfeiting operation. Accused of the shooting of the park's owner, he enlists the help of Rosewood and his new partner, Jon Flint, to prove his innocence and get revenge on the ringleader.
Audit Threat: When Axel is caught illegally searching for evidence, he pretends to be an inspector and threatens an employee who questions his authority with an IRS audit. The employee drops his objections.
Banana in the Tailpipe: To throw Taggart and Rosewood off his trail, Axel orders food delivered to their car, which is outside the hotel. While they are distracted, he borrows a bunch of bananas from an obliging fellow and stuffs them in the car's tailpipe. When they attempt to follow him, it stalls out. Bogomil reams them out for it.
Bavarian Fire Drill: It starts with Axel, dressed in jeans and a hoodie, bluffing his way into a suite at the Beverly Palm Hotel by pretending to be a freelance reporter doing an exclusive interview of Michael Jackson for Rolling Stone and threatening to call the hotel staff racists. The theme continues throughout all three films.
Big Damn Heroes: Occurs twice. The first time comes after Axel tells Billy to Wait Here outside Maitland's warehouse, and Billy is subsequently forced to go rescue him. The second is when Bogomil bursts in on the Mexican Standoff between Axel and Maitland, with Jeannette as the hostage.
Big Guy, Little Guy: Taggart and Rosewood, the cops assigned to watch Axel and whom he eventually befriends.
Bikini Bar: Axel visits one with Taggart and Rosewood in tow, then ends up breaking up a robbery.
Black and Nerdy: The black guy on the second team assigned to shadow Axel, who has no problem lampshading it:
White Cop: We're the first team.
Black Cop: Yeah, and we're not gonna fall for a banana in the tailpipe.
Axel: [nasally voice] You're not gonna fall for the banana in the tailpipe? [normal voice] It should be more natural, brother. It should flow out, like this - "Look, man, I ain't fallin' for no banana in my tailpipe!" See, that's more natural for us. You been hanging out with this dude too long.
Chief: You actually expect me to believe that report, Lieutenant? Bogomil: That's the report I'm filing, sir. Chief: [looks around at the other cops] [beat] That report had better be on my desk in the morning. [leaves] Axel: You were lying your ass off!
Rosewood: You know what I keep thinking about? You know the end of Butch Cassidy? Redford and Newman are almost out of ammunition, and the whole Bolivian army is out- out in front of this little hut? Taggart: Billy, I'm gonna make you pay for this.
By-the-Book Cop: The basic premise of the film is the contrast between Axel's Cowboy Cop methods and the by-the-book methods of the Beverly Hills police department. Over the course of the story, Taggart, Rosewood, and Bogomil all ease up to varying degrees.
Cluster F-Bomb: Axel's speech is littered with profanity, which is deliberately contrasted with the Beverly Hills cops' elaborate politeness. When Axel is first being interrogated, his F-bomb gets him punched in the stomach by Taggart, after which Bogomil offers to allow him to press charges. Axel is visibly surprised by this.
Cowboy Cop: In the opening, Axel is running a sting operation with a truckload of stolen cigarettes. The problem is that he didn't tell anyone he was doing so, leading to a beat cop blowing the deal. Inspector Todd chews him out over this, implying that it's hardly the first time he's gone off without authorization.
Da Chief: Foley's boss, Inspector Todd, who was played by an actual Detroit cop.
Axel: Wait a second, look. I just thought, that if there was a problem -
Todd: Don't think, Axel! It makes my dick itch!
Deadpan Snarker: Taggart and Billy exchange straight man and funny guy roles throughout the film, but usually it's Taggart snarking at something Billy says. Axel also alternates between deadpan and overtly laughing at the antics of the Beverly Hills cops.
Harpo Does Something Funny: By the time Eddie Murphy was attached to the project, the script had been shopped around considerably and rewritten several times. Many of the funniest scenes just resulted from Eddie and the other actors improvising in place of the scripted lines.
Ignoring By Singing: After messing up the cigarette sting operation Axel is bothered by Jeffrey. Alex uses the "la la la" version while trying to get Jeffrey to stop.
Foley: I am not listening to you.
Jeffrey: Great. Real mature.
Foley: I am not listening to Jeffrey, but he's still talking.
Lemming Cops: When the Beverly Hills cops are driving en masse into Maitland's mansion, some of his mooks try a getaway only to crash and cause the entire line of police cars to get into a chain of rear-end collisions, and Bogomil to break his By-the-Book Cop face to exclaim, "Oh, shit!"
Let's Get Dangerous: Detective Billy Rosewood is generally a nice guy, although somewhat naive and dim-witted. Do not aim, or worse yet, fire, a gun at him. You will see the flash, the bullet will kill you, and your dead ears will never hear the report. He never needs a second shot.
Mexican Standoff: Occurs briefly at the end of the first movie, with Axel squaring off against Maitland, with Jeannette as hostage. Bogomill breaks it up by entering the scene, giving her an opportunity to break free and giving the two cops a clear shot.
Not exactly intentional on his part, but the police and criminals of Beverly Hills alike mistake Axel's less than textbook approach as ignorance and stupidity. That doesn't stop him from taking advantage of their underestimation.
He also deliberately uses a "foolish black man" act several times to get past people by convincing them he's just a simpleminded servant.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Inspector Bogomil, who in some early scenes is a by-the-book Obstructive Bureaucrat, proves himself one of these when he actually listens to Axel's theories about Maitland and launches an investigation. Later, upon learning that two of his officers joined Axel in Storming the Castle, he sends in the entire Beverly Hills Police department to back them up.
Dispatcher: Sir, reports of shots fired, same location. 609 Palm Canyon Road.
Bogomil: Put it out as a nine-nine-eight! Officers need assistance... undercovers on scene!
Bogomil: Do it! I want all North End units to roll, South End units stay in their location! Damn...
Stealing from the Hotel: Axel loves his hotel's bathrobes. When Taggart offers to buy him one to take home, he tells them he's already got a couple in his bags.
Storming the Castle: Maitland's mansion, with one of the most hilarious shootout scenes ever filmed.
Swiss Cheese Security: Axel gets into a Federal Customs facility merely by hopping a fence, then flashing his badge to the first person he sees and ordering everyone around. They assume that, if he's inside the perimeter, he must belong inside the perimeter.
Talk to the Fist: Taggart gut-punches Axel after the latter drops an f-bomb during an interview; this showcases just how different they are that Axel can provoke a By-the-Book Cop to violence.
Taggart: Who are we going to believe, a respected local businessman, or a loud-mouthed jerk from out of town? Axel: Loud-mouthed? Fuck you, man. Taggart: [punches him]
Throw It In: There's a moment where Maitland has Axel and Jenny cornered and is deciding what to do with them when he stop in his tracks and makes a face. In reality the actor was reacting to something Eddie Murphy ad-libbed but was removed in editing. They kept in his reaction because it made Maitland seem even more sinister and unhinged.
Tap on the Head: One of Maitland's mooks knocks Axel out before Mikey is killed. He later taunts Axel about it while beating him up.
Casey: "How's that little bump on the head I gave you in Detroit? Healed up nice, I hope."
Villain Ball: Much of the plot depends on Victor Maitland being a moron. See the Headscratchers page for more detail.
Wait Here: Axel tells Billy to wait outside the bonded warehouse, as he doesn't have probable cause to enter. When it becomes obvious that Axel and Jeannette are in trouble, Billy is forced to decide whether he's willing to go outside the book in order to save them, setting up his moment of Character Development.
We Hardly Knew Ye: Axel's friend Mikey gets offed in the opening act to set up the plot.
Car Fu: Attempted by the Big Bad against Axel, which fails after he shoots Dent through the head. However, the collision puts Axel down long enough for Karla Fry to get the drop on him, allowing Taggart and Rosewood to play Big Damn Heroes.
Gun Nut: Billy has a lot of guns. Made especially funny because of his Cloud Cuckoolander ways, when he's stated that he's trying to create a 'stress-free' environment at home.
Hand Cannon: Billy upgrades to one after the shootout at the nightclub, startling and impressing Axel.
Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Dent's goons are unable to hit the heroes despite shooting at them on full auto at a range of less than 100 feet. Nor do they appear to have any grasp of tactics, such as suppression and flanking. Nor do they get the idea to pick up any of the heavy weapons that are close to hand.
Obstructive Bureaucrat: Lutz ends up getting fired by the police commissioner after publicly botching the Alphabet Bandit investigation and trying to push the blame onto his subordinates.
Overly Nervous Flop Sweat: Invoked by Axel Foley when he's pretending to deliver "sound seeking projectiles" to try to bluff his way into a gun club run by the Big Bad. He splashes water on his face making it look like he's sweating buckets.
Rare Guns: The .44 Automag used in the Adriano's job. The shells recovered from the scene become a plot point.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Bogomil and Axel appear to have become quite good friends since the last movie; getting him out of the way is necessary both to motivate Axel and so that Lutz can come in and portray the Jerkass boss.
Statuesque Stunner: Karla Fry, portrayed by Brigitte Nielsen. This is called out by all the protagonists, and her presence at one of the robberies is a plot point, as everyone remembers the "tall blonde".
Took a Level in Badass: Billy was inspired by Axel after the first film to become a gun nut. He's still not all that effective at being a badass, but at least he tries.
Truth in Television: At one point, Axel uses superglue fumes to get a fingerprint from a matchbook. Using superglue fumes to detect otherwise invisible trace fingerprints is something that has been done in real life forensics investigations.
Wall of Weapons: Both Billy's house and his car are loaded with weapons. Apparently, this all happened after the first movie, when Axel inspired him to badassery.
Punch Clock Villain: The chopshop guys at the start. They don't carry guns, try not to hurt anybody, and sing along to the radio cheerfully. Even Axel didn't want to see them get hurt, and the Big Bad gunning them down is clearly supposed to make us hate him more.