Beverly Hills Cop III – 1994 / Director: John Landis

“Foley is heading for Alien Attack…”

Yeah. I know. A Beverly Hills Cop III review. In October. During a month of Horror film reviews. But ill advised threequels probably don’tt come much more ill advised than this one you know, and John Landis’ horrible (HORRIBLE!) contribution to the Axel Foley saga is a truly terrifying affair, apparently responsible for putting lead Eddie Murphy in a deep depression and considered, even by it’s own director nowadays, as an “odd little film”. So maybe now’s as good a time as any to bring the film into The John Saxon Project after all…

There really is very little to say about Beverly Hills Cop III other than it principally takes place in a thinly veiled DisneyWorld, does away with foul mouthed Detroit police chief Todd (Gil Hill), within the first five minutes and is conspicuously lacking in both Ronny Cox and John Ashton who presumably read the limp script and politely declined to participate.

Foley has visibly aged since Beverly Hills Cop II, but some things never change. He’s is still, for instance, cursed. Foley is a modern day, wise cracking, Jonah and once again someone near and dear to him is shot to set the plot in motion. Of course, this can only mean Foley has to hop on a flight back to LA in search of the bad guys, hee-haw like a simpleton and pretend to be a crackerjack, a car valet and a Theme Park cartoon character (amongst other tired confidence tricks) to gain trademark, illicit access to places he’s not supposed to be.

Sadly, John Saxon’s contribution doesn’t amount to much and as with stuff like Welcome to Spring Break and Aftershock, he isn’t even the film’s proper bad guy. Instead he’s a middleman in the forged banknote operation of dodgy park security bastard Ellis DeWalt (Timothy Carhart) and dog meat for corrupt FBI bastard Fullbright (Pontypool‘s Stephen McHattie) who takes him out with little fanfare and a couple of bullets to the chest towards the end.

Landis can’t resist the urge to spoil a shady chop shop deal at the start with an embarrassing Motown song and dance routine which is odd because he otherwise manages to under-egg Judge Reinhold’s customary side show goofiness. Instead, unprecedented emphasis is put on Serge, Bronson Pinchot‘s largely peripheral character with some pretty offensive gay stereotyping. Foley is given a redundant love interest for the first time and worst of all there’s the “Hey! have you heard? A black guy killed Walt Disney?!” comments, which leave an unsavoury taste of cod racial polemicism in the mouth. Hey Landis! What are you doing?! This is the Beverly Hills Cop franchise – it should  be a thrill ride action/comedy (you’ve set it in a fucking Theme Park for Chris’sakes!). You’ve worked with Murphy before! You really should know better.

Anyway, the stunt work is lame – there’s far too much blue screen and obvious wire work; the final shoot out is boring and almost in acknowledgement, Landis and Murphy get caught up in Serge’s stupid Annihilator 2000 skit – a multi functional bazooka that doubles up as a microwave and boombox for supposed comedic effect. Murphy looks genuinely embarrassed – no wonder he doesn’t laugh as much as in the first two films…

Whereas Tony Scott’s and Martin Brest’s efforts had struck a decent balance between grit and guffaw, the director of Amazon Women on the Moon struggles to deal with what should be a flippant, yet violent bookend to the series. He predictably settles for family friendly sight gags,  awkward in-joke cameos and a weak set of villains (sorry Mr Saxon!) who are counterfeiting money in the basement of DisneyWorld? So what? Big Deal.

Basically, Beverly Hills Cop III is complete and utter tosh. It’s nothing other than an example of how third time is often anything but a charm. Saxon is pointless and Murphy is depressed. Seriously, ask yourself: what was the point of this?