Beverly Hills Cop III
Beverly Hills Cop III, originally released theatrically in 1994, was directed by John Landis. The film stars Eddie Murphy (Axel), Judge Reinhold (Billy Rosewood), Timothy Carhart (Ellis DeWald), Hector Elizondo (Jon Flint), and Theresa Randle (Janice). Bronson Pinchot (Serge) appears in a supporting role and George Lucas swings by for a cameo.
When a raid at an illegal chop shop goes bad, Foley watches as Inspector Todd is gunned down. In the ensuing chase, Foley is stopped by the Secret Service and told to back off. At Todd's funeral, Foley discovers that evidence at the crime scene points to Wonder World, California. Of course, Axel hops on the first plane. There, he meets up with old friend Billy Rosewood, and Jon Flint. With their help, Axel begins his quest to avenge Todd's death.
Beverly Hills Cop III is the weakest in the trilogy for a number of reasons. First, two main characters from Cops I & II, Taggart and Bogomil, are no shows, though Taggart's disappearance is explained as retirement. Without Taggart, Reinhold's Rosewood just doesn't feel authentic. Second, the reappearance of Serge is mostly unnecessary. He has a few funny lines, but his scenes really slow the film down and serve only to introduce the very lame Annihilator 2000. Third, both Cops I & II placed a rather large importance on the film's music. In Cop III, the music takes a backseat, and the familiar theme, "Axel F" appears less often and is, with one exception, remixed. However, the film has a terrific opening, and had the story not primarily involved an amusement park, the film might've been able to overcome some of its hindrances.
Beverly Hills Cop is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is clean with only a few specks popping up infrequently. Colors are vibrant, bold, and free from bleeding, flesh tones are accurate and blacks are rich and detailed, with excellent contrast.
Beverly Hills Cop is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 in English, and Dolby 2.0 Surround in English and French. The 5.1 track is active throughout, with a great deal of activity in the rear channels. The film's music, while a bit more subdued than in the first two films, sounds great and is balanced well with the effects. Dialogue is clean and easy to understand during the film, with no distortion. Optional subtitles and captions are available in English.
The main extra on the disc is the Beverly Hills Cop III – Triple Axel featurette. Running twenty-four minutes in length, it contains both new and old interviews with Reinhold, Landis, Randle, Travolta, Carhart, Steven E. de Souza (writer), and Robert Rehme (producer). The featurette discusses early plot difficulties and unused story ideas, a few stories from the set, and how several parts of the final storyline were conceived at the last moment. They also talk about some deleted footage and outtakes that were not included.
The only other extra is the film's trailer.
While certainly not the worst film ever, Beverly Hills Cop III is definitely the weakest in the trilogy. Paramount has skimped on the extras, but has still provided a terrific presentation for the film. While fans will want to add it to their collection, most should stick with Cops I & II and settle for renting Cop III to see how the series concluded. Rent it.