Beverly Hills Cop: Netflix fans in hysterics at subtle dig at Eddie Murphy flop

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F, the hit Netflix sequel to the long-running action comedy franchise, contains a subtle dig at a maligned Eddie Murphy flop – but only some fans have noticed.

The new film, released on Netflix this week, sees Murphy reprise the role of police detective Axel Foley, who returns to Beverly Hills after the life of his former partner, Judge Reinhold’s Billy Rosewood, is threatened.

The film has been met with an uproarious response online, while The Independent praised it for being “a potent reminder of Murphy’s incredible skill set” after years of being wasted as a comic performer.

One joke that has gone over the heads of some, however, is a reference to one of Murphy’s least-liked films – and one that Murphy himself has critiqued. In an early scene, Axel is arrested by the Beverly Hills PD, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s hotshot cop Bobby Abbott going over his rap sheet with him.

“This is a lot,” Abbott says. “Disturbing the peace, various shootouts, evading the police. This is from ‘84, then there’s one from ‘87… and then ‘94. Not your finest hour.”

The line is a subtle reference to the years in which the original Beverly Hills Cop films were released, and notably the release of 1994’s Beverly Hills Cop III, a universally maligned sequel that put the franchise on ice for 30 years. The film introduced a new creative team to the series, and saw Axel facing off against a gang of counterfeiters who operate out of a theme park.

Murphy famously dislikes the film, calling it “garbage” in 2015 and suggesting there were problems with the script from day one. John Landis, the film’s director, has also claimed that the movie didn’t work as Murphy had decided to play Axel as a more strait-laced character – meaning not particularly funny – to reflect his maturity. He added, in a 2005 interview, that production of the film “was a very strange experience”.

Eddie Murphy in ‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F’ (Netflix)
Eddie Murphy in ‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F’ (Netflix)

The film has also been so widely panned that the director of Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F, Mark Molloy, was advised not to watch it while preparing to take the job – and even revealed in an interview that Hollywood super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the first, second and fourth movies in the series, hasn’t seen it either.

“There’s been so much history with this franchise, but I never actually saw Beverly Hills Cop III,” Molloy told The Hollywood Reporter. “I’ve never seen it, and Jerry hasn’t either. When I came in, I said to Jerry, ‘I haven’t seen Beverly Hills Cop III.’ And he was like, ‘I didn’t do it, so you don’t need to see it.’ And I was like, ‘OK, cool, Jerry. I’m going to let it go then’.”

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F is streaming on Netflix.