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‘Beverly Hills Cop III’

By Joe Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
May 27, 1994


John Landis
Eddie Murphy;
Theresa Randle;
Judge Reinhold;
Hector Elizondo;
Bronson Pinchot;
Timothy Carhart;
John Saxon;
Alan Young;
Stephen McHattie
Under 17 restricted

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Eddie Murphy is back. Again. This time, though, he's lost the insufferable smugness and arrogance that have marred his most recent movies, which have been box-office bummers. Murphy seems sweetly humbled, ready to work for laughs, as if he knows "Beverly Hills Cop III" may be his last chance to win his dwindling audience back. Directed by John Landis, who made "Trading Places" and "Coming to America" with Murphy, "BHC3" is formulaically continued on Page 44 from Page 42 funny and violent, the most lackluster entry in the franchise.

Back in Detroit, loose-cannon cop Axel Foley (Murphy) is supervising a routine raid of an auto chop shop; the extended scene with crooked grease monkeys dancing to the Supremes' "Come See About Me" is funnier than both "Sister Acts" combined. But the raid suddenly gets ultra-violent -- "BHC3" has the dubious distinction of having some of the most realistic firepower in the movies -- and Murphy watches as his boss is gunned down.

The only clues point to the WonderWorld theme park, so always inappropriately attired Murphy descends once again on L.A., having affectionate reunions with old pals Sgt. Rosewood (Judge Reinhold), who is preposterously proud of his recent promotion to head a bureaucracy called DDOCJISC, and vowel-challenged Serge (Bronson Pinchot), who is now running a boutique offering "luxury personal weaponry for survival in the helter-skelter world of today."

At the theme park, which resembles Michael Jackson's back yard, Murphy recognizes the park's head of security as the guy who killed his boss. This time out, the evil white guys are headed by Timothy Carhart and John Saxon, who has been in nearly every B-movie ever made. The movie skimps on the outsider Eddie/L.A. in jokes in favor of the comic potential in a crowded and generic theme park.

Landis's handling of the cop business is unnecessarily laborious, but Murphy's patented insincerity is winning. And a few of the slapstick set pieces are genuinely thrilling, especially a riotous nighttime chase scene, with Murphy's car falling apart in chunks, and a spectacular Ferris wheel rescue. Murphy's at his comic best, though, disguised as a blue plush pachyderm named Oki-Doki.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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