The plot is by today’s standard’s incredibly simplified, and in an endearing way, stupid. It wouldn’t work at all were it not for the perfectly inserted bits of comedy. You don’t really care to ponder about how ridiculous everything that Axel does in the movie actually is and how he is able to pull off so much with his sheer bullshit skills because it manages to be highly amusing at all the right places. Take the entire investigation to Axel’s friend’s death, it’s laughably straight forwarded. The clues practically fall into his lap one after another and the first guy Axel really goes to question turns out to be the bad guy, but the movie makes up for it by giving you funny little scenes such as the bad guy having Axel dragged away from his office by security, and to just to be dick about it and underline that he’s a baddie, he has Axel thrown through out of the building through the glass door. And of course it doesn’t end there, Axel then gets arrested for public disturbance by the police.
Despite being comedic, the tone is still surprisingly down to Earth and gritty. It ultimately ended up being serious enough that I actually found the movie to be oddly familiar to the first Lethal Weapon. Like I already remarked, there’s good comedy here and it is the key ingredient in making the movie work as a whole, but the humor honestly is not as dominant here as you would expect from a Beverly Hills Cop movie. Another thing that struck me is the way Axel is depicted as a cop. It’s very old fashioned authoritarian power fantasy. In real life Axel Foley would be a prime example of a problematic police behavior where the rogue cop has no interest in following laws and procedure. Really, if you thought about it for a second, just about everything he does in order to catch the bad guy would be inadmissible in court thanks to how he obtains the evidence, but since the mentality is that red tape and rules are just in the way of catching the bad guys, the lesson here is that it’s alright and completely justified for him to break them since it served justice. And of course, they shoot the villain dead so who cares? I especially liked how after the shoot out Axel’s complete disregard of rules appears to be about to bite him in the ass when one of the LAPD police chief appears to grill him, only for the other cops to come to the rescue and cover for him, allowing him get away scot-free.
It’s not as great of a movie as a I remembered, but pretty solid entertainment even without the nostalgia value and still worthy of being called a classic.