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‘Beverly Hills Cop II’

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
May 22, 1987


Tony Scott
Eddie Murphy;
Judge Reinhold;
Jurgen Prochnow;
Ronny Cox;
John Ashton;
Brigitte Nielsen;
Allen Garfield;
Dean Stockwell
Under 17 restricted

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Eddie Murphy is on something. He is high-drive jive, he's jaunty and jacked up. To watch him in "Beverly Hills Cop II," the sequel to the biggest-selling comedy of all time (try $350 million), is to watch a human diet pill at work.

Producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, who never met a product they couldn't package ("Flashdance" and the original "Cop"), have outdone themselves in sequel-mongering. Never was an original formula so studiously reproduced. There are even in-jokes referring to the first film and jibes at rival blockbuster "Rambo." The cine-cloned players include Judge Reinhold as the mild-mannered but wacko detective Billy Rosewood, John Ashton as Sergeant Taggart, Ronny Cox as Lieutenant Bogomil, Paul Reiser as Jeffrey, and Ditto as Et Cetera.

Only the villain changes -- he can't come back from the dead, after all. (Wait! Don . . . nah.) The new heavies are Dean Stockwell, aryan giantess Brigitte Nielsen (who is not related to Dolph Lungren) and the square-jawed Ju rgen Prochnow (who captained "Das Boot"). These are cutting-edge bad guys: They run guns to Central America.

Wouldn't ya know, the only guy who can put a stop to this villainy is the dirt-mouthed dandy from Detroit. Who else can pretend to be: a workman come to flush the feces from Hugh Hefner's swimming pool; a sweaty delivery boy carrying explosive "plutonium capsules" in a brown bag; a building inspector who makes a construction crew desert a fancy Beverly Hills spread so he can play in the pool; and a Caribbean psychic called Johnny Wishbone? The guy with the toothy, blurry-lipped rap, that's who. The Simp-heimer team has not forgotten the ultimate formula: Let Murphy be Murphy. Product, babe.

Cinematographer Jeffrey L. Kimball paints Los Angeles with the splashy gaudiness it deserves. And British director Tony Scott ("The Hunger" and "Top Gun") puts impressive force 'n' fizz into this speeding-bullet flick. Some of his and Kimball's shots are breathtaking compositions, with a wealth of detail. Aside from the plot -- and if you can figure out the plot, the CIA's special projects unit wants to talk to you -- "Cop II" is a rarity: a sequel that's as good as the original, if not better.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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