Beverly Hills Cop appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Never the best-looking movie, the Blu-ray offered a pretty good presentation.
Sharpness seemed reasonably good. A few shots came across as a little soft and fuzzy, but these occurred infrequently. For the most part, the movie appeared acceptably distinct and accurate. No problems with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes were minimal. Source flaws also failed to be a factor; I saw a small speck or two, but that was it. Grain was natural and consistent.
Colors seemed acceptably distinct and vivid. The movie didn’t boast the most dynamic palette, but it rendered the hues in a satisfying manner. Blacks were pretty dark, and shadows were usually fine. Some shots didn’t light for Murphy’s skin tone well, so he occasionally became a little lost, but that wasn’t a real issue – and it stemmed from the original photography. Overall, the transfer replicated the source preytty well.
The film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix stayed heavily anchored to the front speakers. In that spectrum, I heard reasonably good stereo separation and imaging for the music, and effects also spread across the forward channels to a positive degree. At times those elements came across as somewhat speaker-specific, but they usually blended together in a fairly pleasing manner, and effects moved cleanly across them.
Surround usage appeared to be extremely negligible. At most the rear speakers offered general reinforcement of the score and perhaps some mild ambient effects. When I said this sucker stayed oriented toward the front, I wasn’t kidding!
Audio quality was decent. Dialogue occasionally displayed some edginess, but speech usually seemed reasonably natural and distinct, and I heard no concerns related to intelligibility. Effects also demonstrated periodic bouts of distortion; explosions and gunfire provided the most notable examples of these concerns. Otherwise, those elements sounded acceptably clean and accurate, though they never displayed terribly positive range.
Early in the film, the music seemed oddly restricted. “The Heat Is On” and “Neutron Dance” came across as though their high-end frequencies had been mildly chopped off, and the songs sounded somewhat flat and muffled. However, this problem largely evaporated in short order, and most of the music appeared acceptably well defined and robust. The track remained somewhat muddy at times, but it usually presented the score and the songs with fairly good fidelity. Overall, the soundtrack for Cop showed its age, but it still seemed to fall within the acceptable range for an aging movie.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the prior DVD from 2002? Audio was a wash; the lossless track might’ve had a little more pep, but it still showed the same issues. Visuals demonstrated a more notable improvement, though, as the Blu-ray looked much tighter, cleaner and more vivid. This was the best I’ve ever seen the movie appear.
We get almost all of the DVD’s extras here. We launch with an audio commentary from director Martin Brest. He appears alone for this running, screen-specific track. Brest starts well and offers a lot of useful and engaging material during the early parts of the film. However, after a while he begins to sag, and the track becomes less interesting. The gaps increase in length and frequency, and the remarks themselves seem more mundane.
Nonetheless, he does give us a fair amount of compelling material, and he picks up considerably during the flick’s climax. He relates some debates that occurred along the way, and we find out why the movie’s ending freeze-frame - which he openly despises - appears in the final piece. Overall, it’s definitely a spotty track, but it has enough worthwhile information to merit a listen.
Next we get Beverly Hills Cop: The Phenomenon Begins, a new 29-minute and 11-second documentary about the film. We hear from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Martin Brest, writers Danilo Bach and Dan Petrie, editor Billy Weber, and actors Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Lisa Eilbacher, and Ronny Cox. All of the participants seem to have been shot specifically for this piece except for Murphy; the credits indicate that his footage comes from Fox, so I’d speculate that it was taped during interviews for one of the Dr. Dolittle flicks.
As such, we don’t get much information from the movie’s star, and the program suffers for it. Some decent information pops up in this show, especially as we learn about the film’s genesis. Sylvester Stallone’s early involvement is well known, but the documentary expands on this area nicely and lets us know the flick’s development process. It also includes some worthwhile anecdotes from the set, but a lot of it falls back on the usual praise. Enough information appears to make it a good program, but it’s not anything terribly memorable.
During A Glimpse Inside the Casting Process, we get some minor insights into that realm. The nine-minute and 37-second piece includes comments from casting director Margery Simkin as well as director Brest and actors Reinhold, Ashton, Eilbacher, and Cox. Although some decent tidbits pop up along the way, for the most part this show just echoes a lot of the same kind of praise we heard in the prior program.
One unusual feature is the Location Map. This shows an LA grid and lets you select seven different locations: “Beverly Hills Police Station”, “Victor Maitland’s Mansion”, “The Biltmore”, “Warehouse”, “Art Gallery”, “Harrow Club” and “Strip Club”. When you choose one of these, you find comments from production designer Angelo P. Graham; he tells us about the locations and gives us some useful information about them. Each of the clips lasts between 28 seconds and 105 seconds for a total of seven minutes, 41 seconds of material. It’s a good collection of information, as we learn some useful facts about the different areas.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we get another featurette called The Music of Beverly Hills Cop. This seven-minute and 49-second piece offers statements from producer Bruckheimer, actor Reinhold, director Brest, music editor Bob Badami, and editor Billy Weber. They discuss most of the pop songs heard in the flick and indicate why they ended up in the movie. It’s a fairly compelling little program. (Prior to this piece, I’d never really considered just how incredibly lame the lyrics to “The Heat Is On” are - they’re absolutely pathetic. Give it a listen and see if you agree!)
Beverly Hills Cop established Eddie Murphy as a major movie star in 1984. Despite his many ups and downs over the years, it remains a fun and lively piece, largely due to his winning and charismatic performance. The Blu-ray includes very nice visuals, decent audio and a reasonably informative set of supplements. Even after nearly 30 years, Cop continues to entertain, and the Blu-ray represents it well.
To rate this film, visit the Special Collector's Edition review of BEVERLY HILLS COP