Beverly Hills Cop – 4K UHD Blu-ray Review
Film Title: Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Release Date: 2020
Runtime: 105 minutes
Region Coding: Region Free
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
High Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Version Reviewed: 4K UHD Blu-ray
Release Date: 12/1/20
Director: Martin Brest
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Lisa Eilbacher, Ronny Cox, Steven Berkoff, James Russo, Jonathan Banks, Stephen Elliott, Gilbert R. Hill, Bronson Pinchot, Paul Reiser, Michael Champion
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Full 4K Tech Specs found at the bottom
“Beverly Hills Cop” was a 1984 film directed by Martin Brest. Brest is most well known for directing the films “Midnight Run” (1988), “Scent of a Woman” (1992), and “Meet Joe Black” (1999).
The screenplay was written by Daniel Petrie, Jr. along with Danilo Bach, who wrote the original story. Petrie, Jr. is best known for also writing or co-writing the screenplays to films such as “The Big Easy” (1986), “Shoot to Kill” (1988), “Turner & Hooch” (1989), and “Toy Soldiers” (1991). Daniel Petrie, Jr. also directed the last film mentioned there as well as the film “In the Army Now” (1994). Danilo Bach is best known for writing the horror film “April Fool’s Day” (1986). It is certainly worth noting that this film was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and the late Don Simpson.
The story here involves a Detroit police officer working undercover, “Axel Foley” (Eddie Murphy). If any name for a character has ever screamed out Detroit – I think that’s the one, right? Anyway, when we first meet Axel he’s in the middle of a bit of a fiasco with his latest assignment. As a result of this whole ordeal, which proves to be a memorable one, his boss “Inspector Todd” (Gilbert R. Hill) gives him one final warning with some choice words. Basically, without the profanity, he’s told that he cannot screw up again or he will be fired. Meanwhile, his coworkers around the Detroit Police Department seem to think Axel’s latest screwup is one hell of a laugh. Too bad he’s not laughing with them.
Meanwhile, Axel is reunited with an old friend “Mikey” (James Russo). These two guys go back to their early days as kids, and they go out to the bar and do a bit of drinking, playing pool, reminiscing and such. Mikey has been out in Beverly Hills, California, as he informs Axel, where he was working a security gig. Let’s just say that something bad happens to Axel’s friend that he just has been reunited with, and he is murdered. But, before he was killed, Mikey also managed to show Axel some things, that’ll later serve as clues. After things end up with Axel losing his friend, the police Inspector Todd tells him to just take a vacation and not attempt to do anything stupid. He also doesn’t fire him.
Our protagonist has reason to believe something bad is going down where his buddy was working in Beverly Hills and he’s been told to go on a vacation by his boss. So, Axel is off from Detroit, by car, to California. As you’d imagine we don’t get to see that 34-hour car drive but we do get to see his reaction to being in an entirely different type of place, in his pitiful excuse for an automobile, and it’s priceless. Not his automobile, but his reaction to his surroundings. He’s a complete fish out of the water and he’s as much a spectacle as he is a spectator. Still, Axel Foley is determined to find these guys who his late friend was working with and perhaps put them to justice.
Sure, Axel Foley’s seeking revenge as he knows damn well who killed his friend and that’s why he’s determined to investigate this man. The man he’s looking for is an art gallery owner named “Victor Maitland” (Steven Berkoff). Axel actually got to previously meet a few of his bodyguards back in Detroit, namely this guy named “Zack” (Jonathan Banks). Along the way, before confronting the man, Axel will go meet up with another friend, “Jenny Summers” (Lisa Eilbacher), from his childhood days who just happens to be working at the art gallery owned by this Victor Maitland guy.
So, our guy Axel inevitably meets up with Maitland and confronts him about the murder of his friend Mikey. Let’s just say that meeting doesn’t go too well and he ends up at the Beverly Hills Police Department, and not just asking for help in his own private investigation. In fact, they’re not too happy about what Axel has been up to and don’t believe his theories one single bit. The next to the main man in charge at the Beverly Hills Police Department, “Lt. Bogomil” (Ronny Cox), is less than amused by the whole situation and he assigns the two officers “Sgt. Taggart” (John Ashton) and “Det. Billy Rosewood” (Judge Reinhold) to keep a close eye on Foley. Taggart and Rosewood don’t believe Foley’s story either, but they’ll perhaps come around to hearing things out from his side before things are all said and done. It’s a fun film, with mostly comedy with some action and just a tad bit of drama.
Movie Rating: 4.75 (out of 5)
“Beverly Hills Cop” makes its debut on 4K UHD Blu-ray in the very same 1.78:1 aspect ratio that it was previously presented in on the Blu-ray format, despite IMDb stating that it was intended to have been in another aspect ratio. That’s never been an issue, and I don’t see any reason why it should be one now.
The movie itself was shot on 35mm film using Panaflex cameras with Panavision lenses. It has received a new 4K remaster from a new 4K scan of the original film elements. The 4K UHD Blu-ray release comes with HDR10 and Dolby Vision forms of high dynamic range.
Next, let me get technical, for a bit, in regards to the 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc itself here. This release is using a BD-66 (66 gigabytes) disc, 61.52 gigabytes total, and 56.4 gigabytes for the film itself. In hindsight, the original 2011 Blu-ray release of the film only was using 35.30 gigabytes total, and then just 31.5 gigabytes for the film in 1080p HD. The 2020 Blu-ray release, included with this, was using 39.45 gigabytes total, and then 32.2 gigabytes for the remastered version of the film in 1080p HD. Looking at all of that data, it’s not quite using double the file size now on 4K, compared to the latest Blu-ray, but it’s close.
The new 4K remaster actually at times really has more visible film grain, despite some obvious DNR (digital noise reduction) being used this time around. Even on the new 2020 Blu-ray, the film grain still wasn’t really quite as pronounced as it is now on this 4K release. Some will be a bit against the idea of smoothing down some of that film grain with the use of DNR but it seems to work for this particular movie. I love film grain, as anyone who reads my reviews will know.
Still, in fairness to the occasional approval of light DNR use, it [film grain] can, I’m sure, be troublesome when it’s excessive and you have a lot of dirt on a film print. I think we should just try to first understand why they opt for the use of something like that. In this case, looking back at the previous 2011 Blu-ray and its scan, it’s a bit obvious this film print has been dirty over the years. They’ve cleaned it up a considerable bit and even did some slight bit of cropping. I found none of that at all bothersome. In fact, this looks so much better than it ever did before on either of the previous Blu-ray releases.
The addition of HDR here makes for so much more of an impressive and realistic visual presentation than we have ever seen this movie in. The darker scenes look very deep, making things seem very lifelike, and then when you see a scene with a beautiful sunny clear sky you’ll really come to notice that it stands out so bright in a beautiful yet practical manner to feel more lifelike. Things on the original 2011 Blu-ray felt like they were brightened up too much or colors were exaggerated. It also seemed to be from a really rough film print of this movie. Whereas, this time around the new 4K remastered version delivers a clearer presentation from a clean 4K scan. Even from just seeing the opening title sequence, you will immediately notice how much newfound detail comes through now in 4K with HDR.
Now, let’s look at some comparisons between this new 4K and the original Blu-ray release, for reasons I’ll be using to reference a tad bit further below.
SOURCES: 2011 Blu-ray (left), 2020 4K UHD Blu-ray (right)
And, I can also offer you a video slideshow of these with my Blu-ray VS. 4K UHD Blu-ray screenshot comparison over on YouTube (also found below).
As you can tell by the comparisons, the black level here is as solid as ever possible and that comes much thanks to the fact you’ll get the options of HDR10 or Dolby Vision forms of HDR backing this 4K presentation. Also, the colors are more realistic than ever before on foliage such as those famous palm trees in Beverly Hills. As I’ve mentioned, the whole visual presentation feels just more realistic, and with that comes a more accurate representation of the colors for set pieces, things like cars, and especially wardrobe. It should come obviously as no surprise that with HDR you do see more accurate flesh tones as well.
For the most part, this movie on 4K UHD Blu-ray ran a video bitrate of around 35Mbps to 60Mbps, which doesn’t sound like much, but at times I saw it hit the upper 90Mbps level. This is making very effective use of a BD-66 (66-gigabyte capacity) disc, especially considering it also includes bonus materials.
Undeniably this is one very impressive upgrade in 4K of this classic 1980s action/comedy. It feels like an entirely new experience seeing this movie now with a true 2160p resolution and the option of two choices of high dynamic range types. Finally, this 4K remaster of the film — released earlier this year in a Blu-ray set — is able to be seen to its fullest. This looks great and the folks at Paramount have done a very nice job on remastering this. This earns itself a very respectable and impressive 4.5 rating for video quality.
Video Quality Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
“Beverly Hills Cop” makes its debut to the 4K UHD Blu-ray format in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound, with a DTS 5.1 core for those unable to decode the lossless format. This is the exact same audio format and configuration that it received on the previous 2020 Blu-ray release. In fact, this is the very same sound mix as found on the Blu-ray — included with this release. Some films just don’t get object-based sound mixes when they come to the 4K UHD Blu-ray format, and that’s fine sometimes but at other times, such as this, it might have made for a better audio presentation if it had.
The theme song to the movie, “Axel F” by Harold Faltermeyer, sounds great here. Trust me, you’ll get to hear that a few times. But, first, during the opening credits, the song “The Heat is On” (as performed by Glenn Frey) is enough to leave most with an idea of what to expect. This comes with a large amount of LFE representation you’ll feel via the subwoofer, especially on the deeper low-end bass. You will hear the music being driven primarily through the front (left & right) channel speakers and a decent amount of accompanying rear channel speaker use. The sound effects and such get that very same type of treatment when it comes to this 5.1 surround mix.
The most important thing here is of course dialogue, which is driven distinctly through almost (if not) entirely the center channel speaker. I found no reason at all to make any volume adjustment here for the dialogue, nor did I find it to have any issues. This lossless 5.1 mix still manages to deliver a nice surround sound presentation that does this film somewhat justice. The action scenes here can pack a little bit of a punch, so-to-speak, but don’t really come with as much oomph to them as I’d like. It’s nothing too over-the-top but what would you really expect for a film that is both a comedy foremost and an action flick secondly. And, yes. That opening scene still sounds as impressive as ever, giving the listener an idea of what to expect all throughout in terms of sound.
All and all, “Beverly Hills Cop” on its debut to the 4K UHD Blu-ray format may only come in the same 5.1 lossless surround sound configuration that you’ve grown accustomed to over the years but if something isn’t necessarily broken, per se, then why totally try to fix it? This lossless 5.1 mix gets the job done just as well as it ever has. It could perhaps sound a little better someday, admittedly, perhaps if they gave it an Atmos mix and reworked it some? That said, I find this to be still a pretty impressive lossless 5.1 surround sound experience that merits a 4.25 rating for audio quality.
Audio Quality Rating: 4.25 (out of 5)
Bonus materials physically on this release include:
- A Digital Copy of the film is included, via a physical paper insert with a redemption code, which is compatible with services like AppleTV (iTunes), VUDU, and Fandango Now. You’ll get the film in 4K on all of those services, to my knowledge. I personally opted for the AppleTV (iTunes) version.
The 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc features extras that are presented in HD and 4K (as noted below) with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound unless otherwise noted. The bonus materials on the 4K disc include:
- Audio Commentary by Director Martin Brest with optional subtitles in English, French, and German languages.
- Isolated Score Track is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound (@ 640kbps).
- Deleted Scenes (3:49 – HD) features a “play all function” and a total of two scenes.
- “Behind The Scenes 1984 Interviews” (6:49 – HD) features a “play all” function and a total of four different 1984 archival interviews — just released this year, 2020. Those interviewed here include Eddie Murphy (Axel Foley) and Martin Brest (director).
- “BHC Mixtape ’84” (4K) allows you to jump to scenes that feature certain songs off the film’s soundtrack. The songs featured here are listed below.
- “The Heat is On’
- “Neutron Dance”
- “New Attitude”
- “Do You Really?”
- “Stir It Up”
- “Nasty Girl”
- Theatrical Trailer (2:34 – HD)
The Blu-ray included here is the newer 2020 Blu-ray, previously included in the “Beverly Hills Cop 3-Movie Collection” set — released earlier this year. This Blu-ray Disc, in addition to the film itself in 1080p HD with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound, includes the same bonus materials found on the 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc — presented in HD with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound unless otherwise noted below.
- Audio Commentary by Director Martin Brest with optional subtitles in English, Spanish (Latino America), Japanese, French, German, Spanish, and Italian languages.
- Isolated Score Track is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound (@ 640kpbs).
- Deleted Scenes (3:49 – HD) are detailed above on the 4K disc.
- “Behind The Scenes 1984 Interviews” (6:49 – HD) are detailed above on the 4K disc.
- “Beverly Hills Cop – The Phenomenon Begins” (29:11 – SD) was previously included on the original 2011 Blu-ray. This featurette includes some great interviews with Jerry Bruckheimer (producer), Danilo Bach (screenwriter), Daniel Petrie, Jr. (screenwriter), Martin Brest (director), Judge Reinhold (Rosewood), Eddie Murphy (Axel Foley), Billy Weber (editor), John Ashton (Taggart), Lisa Eilbacher (Jenny Summers), and Ronny Cox (Lt. Bogomil). This featurette was from 2001.
- “A Glimpse Inside the Casting Process” (9:37 – SD) was previously included on the original 2011 Bu-ray. This is pretty self-explanatory by its title, but I’ll explain it a bit further. Here you will get interviews and a look at why those who were cast made it into the film. There are some of those who were originally slated to play parts in the film discussed, like Sylvester Stallone who was originally set to play the lead role. Those interviewed here include Margery Simkin (casting director), Judge Reinhold (Rosewood), Jon Ashton (Taggart), Martin Brest (director), Lisa Eilbacher (Jenny Summers), and Ronny Cox (Lt. Bogomil). This featurette was from 2001.
- “The Music of Beverly Hills Cop“ (7:49 – SD) was previously included with the original Blu-ray release of the film from back in 2011. This focuses on the songs (music) used on the film’s soundtrack as well as the original score. You’ll find interviews here with Jerry Bruckheimer (producer), Judge Reinhold (Rosewood), Martin Brest (director), and Bob Badami (music editor), and Billy Weber (editor). This featurette was from 2001.
- “Location Map” was previously included on the original 2011 Blu-ray. This interactive experience allows you to browse locations actually used in the film. Note: Some of these are fictionalized names for the location, such as Victor Maitland’s mansion but there was a real place they filmed in the Los Angeles area. This features interviews for each location with Angelo P. Graham (production designer) The locations here include:
- Beverly Hills Police Station (1:28 – SD)
- “Victor Maitland’s Mansion” (1:45 – SD)
- The Biltmore (0:51 – SD)
- “Warehouse” (0:58 – SD)
- “Art Gallery” (1:31 – SD)
- “Harrow Club” (0:40 – SD)
- “Strip Club” (0:28 – SD)
- Theatrical Trailer (2:34 – HD)
- “BHC Mixtape ’84” (HD) is described above on the 4K disc.
The bonus materials here are solid and at the same time pretty impressive in how they’re put together. You not only get a good portion of them, including most importantly the audio commentary with the director and the isolated score track over on the 4K disc but you also get the other original archival extras presented on the new 2020 Blu-ray (featuring this same new restoration). That all, including the trailer and an interactive feature, total up to almost an hour in runtime. Then, you get a digital copy of the film in 4K via whichever streaming service of your choice. The extras here are nice and will leave you entertained and informed after you’ve watched the film in 4K.
Bonus Materials Rating: 4 (out of 5)
“Beverly Hills Cop” was a 1984 modern classic of sorts and is a definite favorite for most fans of Eddie Murphy. I’ve personally loved this film since I was a kid and I’ve never stopped enjoying it over the decades. The performance given by Murphy is unforgettable and downright funny as hell, but don’t forget about the film’s great supporting performances by Judge Reinhold and John Ashton as the two Beverly Hills Police Department officers Rosewood and Taggart. Fun fact, both John Ashton’s and Judge Reinhold’s characters would go on to appear in the first sequel, “Beverly Hills Cop” (1987). Also be on the lookout for a younger Jonathan Banks, now of “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” fame, in a small supporting role as a bodyguard here for the bad guy in this film.
In terms of video quality, this makes a rather impressive debut to the 4K UHD Blu-ray format from a new 4K remaster. You’ll get both Dolby Vision and HDR10 forms of high dynamic range here, which really adds a lot to this visual presentation. Fans of the film who have previously owned this on Blu-ray, as well as other forms of home video physical formats over the years, will be happy to finally see the film looking the finest, in my opinion, that it has ever looked. The new remaster and the addition of HDR here just adds so much to this 4K experience.
In terms of audio quality, this gets the very same DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix that was found on the previous 2020 Blu-ray release and comes in the same configuration and format the original 2011 Blu-ray had. Essentially, if a mix still manages to do pretty good in a lossless 5.1 configuration why would they try to turn it into an object-based mix like Atmos? Well, I personally would have opted for a new 5.1 remix or have gone with an Atmos upgrade. Apparently though, Paramount couldn’t justify that the film needed to be upgraded here for sound. In fairness, the mix does the film, from an original Dolby Stereo source, somewhat justice. Don’t get me wrong here, it’s still a pretty impressive surround sound mix at times, but it could sound a tad bit better.
Finally, in terms of bonus materials, you get a good amount of the extras actually included on the 4K disc itself like the audio commentary and isolated score. Then, there are even more extras such as the archival featurettes found on the previous Blu-ray release. Plus, there’s a digital copy of the film in 4K on streaming platforms such as AppleTV (iTunes), Vudu, and FandangoNow. It’s a solid set of supplemental material.
All and all, “Beverly Hills Cop” in its debut to the 4K UHD Blu-ray format comes as a recommended visual upgrade in comparison to all other releases of the film that have come before it.
In terms of 4K UHD Blu-ray release, this gets:
4.5 (out of 5) for video quality
4.25 (out of 5) for audio quality
4 (out of 5) for bonus materials
A Recommended Visual Upgrade
2020 4K UHD Blu-ray Release