Home Entertainment The Titular Beverly Hills Cop Isn’t Actually Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley

The Titular Beverly Hills Cop Isn’t Actually Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley


In the same way that “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” isn’t truly about Ferris, but instead about seeing Ferris’s best friend Cameron Frye transform from a neurotic tightwad into a guy who’s willing to confront his father after ruining his dad’s classic 1961 Ferrari, “Beverly Hills Cop” isn’t really about Axel Foley. Axel is the catalyst for the film’s action, yes, but like Ferris Bueller, he doesn’t have a character arc himself. Axel operates as an agent of change in the story, but he doesn’t actually change. The person who changes the most, who has the biggest character arc in “Beverly Hills Cop,” is indeed Billy Rosewood, played by Judge Reinhold.

Partnered up with his aggressively by-the-book partner, Taggart (John Ashton), Billy begins the movie as a boy scout figure, an innocent who is seemingly destined to follow in the footsteps of the older men in the Beverly Hills Police Department. But through his interactions with Axel, Billy slowly learns the value of trusting your gut, operating on instinct, and even occasionally skirting the rules once in a while to achieve justice. He loosens up, and since the movie is wholly on Axel’s side compared to the uptight leaders of the BHPD, the audience gets the sense that Billy’s learned the right lessons from his new friend and that he’s going to be OK after Axel returns home.

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