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The Film

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Axel is a Manipulative Bastard and his various Bavarian Fire Drills on people with something he needs or wants are downright exploitative (he threatens to call a hotel racist in order to get a room without a reservation, then makes them give him a discounted rate. In the sequel, he steals a house undergoing renovation) and conducts illegal searches. Were it not for the much worse villains, he would easily be a Villain Protagonist.
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  • And You Thought It Would Fail: John Landis said that the screenplay for this film was one of the worst he ever read, noting that Eddie Murphy managed to elevate it.
  • Awesome Music: The film's soundtrack album was a bestseller, and for good reason, winning the 1986 Grammy Award for Best Score/Soundtrack in Visual Media. Standout tracks include:
  • Covered Up: Raise your hand if you first heard this movie's theme song from the Crazy Frog. It's okay, we won't judge you.
  • Designated Hero: We all love Axel. He is cool, cunning, will go the mile for his friends and would probably be a lot of fun to know. But that is us, the viewer, talking. In-universe this guy is guilty of numerous crimes. Breaking and entering, trespass, theft, assault, vandalism, identity fraud, and numerous dangerous traffic offences such as running a red light just to escape his police tail. Not to mention the fact that whilst many of his lies are reasonably harmless; in the first film he was perfectly willing to accuse an innocent hotel clerk of racism just to get a discounted room, and in the second film he literally stole a whole house. Put it this way: if you forget the first two sentences of this example and focus solely on his actions, he is a criminal who is helped immensely by having friends in high places and only forgivable because he is going up against even worse criminals than he is.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
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    • Inspector Todd. The guy playing him really was a cop in Detroit, so he knew the role he was going into perfectly and absolutely nails it. One of the third film's many problems was that they Dropped a Bridge on Him.
    • Serge from the first film, so much that they brought him back for the third.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: He's still an icon of Hollywood in Japan, considering that two different tv shows have done a Whole Costume Reference to Axel Foley in 2018.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: During his tirade at the Beverly Palms Hotel, Axel pretends to be writing an article called "Michael Jackson: Sitting on Top of the World" for Rolling Stone magazine. In real life, Playboy ran an article called "Eddie Murphy: Sitting on Top of the World."
  • Ho Yay: Mikey and Axel have some sizeable amounts of it going on. And Axel doesn't seem repelled at all by Serge's flirty nature.
  • Memetic Mutation:
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    • GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!
      • NO, I CANNOT!!
  • Neutral Good: Axel Foley is a policeman, but one who often does not go by the book, and even fractures the occasional law in the interests of what's right in the long run.

The Video Game

  • Porting Disaster:
    • A tie-in for the film was released on several platforms, most notably Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, and PC, among several other lesser machines. The Amiga version has smashing music due to the Paula audio chip. The Atari ST, Spectrum 128K and C64 version were bearable thanks to the PSG sound system. The PC version, however, is this trope played straight. Using only EGA graphics and PC speaker sound, despite the AdLib and Game Blaster, and indeed the first generation Sound Blaster, being already released when the game came out and VGA was already picking up steam. And even then the PC music was often described as someone strangling an ice cream truck.
    • While it's generally agreed that the PC version's music is terrible, the Spectrum 48K port's music isn't too far behind given that the platform too only had a beeper for the game to work with (along with a title screen with what appears to be Eddie Murphy suffering from second degree sunburn). The only thing that makes it bearable is that it sounds less like someone strangling an ice-cream truck and more like someone autotuning their farts.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games:
    • Aside from the porting disaster mentioned above, the game was considered only mediocre at best, as it appeared to consist of several minigames tossed together in haste. And the darn game came out in 1990, 6 years after the original movie! By then PCs have had the option of getting better music from add-ons like the AdLib, Creative Game Blaster, or even the original Sound Blaster. Additionally, VGA graphics cards which allowed for much better graphics were starting to catch on.
    • And then there was another release for the PlayStation 2 in 2006. The first warning sign is that the game is on a CD, not a DVD. Once you start playing the game itself, is quickly becomes apparent how it takes up so little space: For starters, there is no voice-acted dialogue and no music during gameplay. Speaking of gameplay, the first level of the game starts with a forced stealth section where it seems like whether you get seen has nothing to do with being in the line of sight of enemies. Once you get to actual shooting, it doesn't get any better. There are plenty of glitches both with the graphics and programming. To top things off, apparently the developer did not get the rights for Eddie Murphy's likeness or the iconic theme tune, so both are replaced. The music is at least a decent effort, sounding like something that could have been part of the real movie. Portraying Axel Foley as a bald, clean-shaven white man, on the other hand...


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