Beverly Hills Cop Movies Ranked: From Worst to Best

Beverly Hills Cop Movies Ranked: From Worst to Best

In honor of Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F hitting Netflix, we rank all of the Beverly Hills Cop movies from best to worst!

25 best action movies

At long last, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F, the fourth film in the franchise (and the first in thirty years) is out, with it streaming on Netflix. We’ve certainly done our fair share of coverage for the movie here on the site, with me being lucky enough to interview Eddie Murphy and much of the cast while also attending the premiere in Beverly Hills. But how does the film stack up as far as the rest of the franchise goes? Of course, that can mean only one thing – it’s time for our Beverly Hills Cop Movies Ranked list! This time, we’re doing from worst to best, so buckle up! And – while you’re at it check out our LiveStream from last night, where our host, Kier Gomes, did his own rankings!

Beverly Hills Cop III (1994):

Not only is this the worst Beverly Hills Cop movie, but the third entry into the franchise briefly put Eddie Murphy’s career into deep freeze. The comedy is dialled down in a perhaps misguided attempt to turn Murphy into a more traditional hero. At the same time, the action is escalated, which isn’t a terrible idea – but the execution is a disaster. If you’re trying to make a more serious action flick, why set the movie at a Disneyland knock-off with mascots, show tunes, and tons (too many) cutesy celebrity cameos (including George Lucas)? It didn’t help that John Landis lacked the style of either Martin Brest or Tony Scott and had to deal with a star who didn’t want to be funny anymore.

Making matters even worse was that producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer were no longer involved with the franchise, as they would have no doubt served as the voice of reason on set. I like to think Simpson and Bruckheimer would have killed the bad choices, such as the orchestral version of Axel F on the soundtrack. But it’s not all bad. The first ten minutes of the movie are actually quite good, with franchise mainstay Inspector Todd getting a powerful death scene and its followed by a really cool car chase, with a ’91 Dodge Stealth going to pieces while Axel is driving it and INXS’s “Keep the Peace” filling the soundtrack. But, from then on, it’s all downhill. That said, 3 is the only instalment of the series I’d quantify as bad, even if it is still somewhat watchable. 

Beverly Hills Cop 5, Eddie Murphy

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F (2024):

I loved Axel F as a nostalgic, throwback sequel. In fairness to the film, it’s hard to recapture lightning in a bottle the way the first two films did, as those movies hit the zeitgeist at a time when Eddie’s career was exploding in popularity, turning him into a superstar on the level of Elvis Presley. Yet, the movie does feature a very engaged Murphy dropping F-bombs galore while also allowing for the return of many old pals, such as Judge Reinhold and John Ashton & Paul Reiser, who were both MIA from the third film.

Beverly Hills Cop II (1987):

No one expected the first Beverly Hills Cop movie to be such a smash, but it became the highest-grossing comedy of all time and the most profitable movie of 1984 (beating out Ghostbusters). It elevated Murphy to superstar status, and the sequel was set up to be a much bigger film than the last one. The OG director, Martin Brest, was busy doing Midnight Run (an excellent film in its own right), so Tony Scott, who was coming off Simpson/ Bruckheimer’s Top Gun, was brought in. The result is a slicker, more-action-driven instalment of the series. Everything about it is bigger, from the sunglasses to the set-pieces, and beyond. At the time, some critics scoffed at how polished it was, but over time, the neon-soaked visuals have given it a strong cult following. It had a memorable henchwoman in Brigitte Nielsen, and the movie hugely influenced Axel F director Mark Molloy perhaps more than any other film in the franchise. Some of the most iconic elements people associate with this franchise were introduced here, such as Axel’s famous Detroit Lions letterman jacket, and the Bob Seger tune “Shakedown” (the iconic singer’s only number 1 on the Billboard Chart). It also has the famous Playboy Mansion scene (“Hef!”), while Harold Faltermeyer’s score is (arguably) even better here than it was in the first film.

Beverly Hills Cop

Beverly Hills Cop (1984): 

Of course, nothing beats the original Martin Brest movie. Famously conceived as a vehicle for Sylvester Stallone, the film was given a comedy overhaul when Eddie Murphy came on board, and the result was nothing short of iconic. In addition to Murphy’s Axel F, the film also benefits from one of the most iconic soundtracks of the eighties, with songs like Glenn Frey’s “The Heat Is On”, The Pointer Sisters’ “Neutron Dance,” and, of course, Harold Faltermeyer’s score, with the theme, “Axel F” one of the most memorable theme songs of all time, being right up there with the James Bond Theme.

What are your Beverly Hills Cop movie rankings? Let us know in the comments!

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