Greatest Movie Series
Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)
Beverly Hills Cop Films
Beverly Hills Cop (1984) | Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) | Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)
|Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)
d. John Landis, 104 minutes
Film Plot Summary
The film opened in Detroit, Michigan on an early Tuesday morning, where Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) was going over plans with his associates for a raid at an illegal automobile "chop shop", and confidently informing his boss Inspector Douglas Todd (Gil Hill) that a SWAT team was unnecessary. Inside, a group of mechanics, two of which danced to the Supremes' "Come See About Me," had pulled off a successful job - the hijacking of boxes of US government property. The tanned and coiffed criminal boss, Ellis DeWald (Timothy Carhart) ordered the assassination of all eight mechanics by his hit men, revealing towels in the gun attache cases from the Wonderworld Hotel, just before Foley arrived. The Detroit cops were unexpectedly assaulted by machine-gun fire, and during the encounter, Inspector Todd was killed by DeWald (he died in Axel's arms after ordering: "Axel, are you on a coffee break? Go get that son of a bitch!"). The gang escaped in a cream-colored Ford truck (with phony plates) carrying the stolen property, with Foley in pursuit in one of the body shop's cars - a pink sports vehicle that fell apart around him as it was pelted with bullets. When he crashed his vehicle, he was confronted by a group of Secret Service agents and firmly told by one of them, Steve Fulbright (Stephen McHattie), that he was "in the middle of a federal investigation" - and the criminals shouldn't be apprehended at this time: "We wanna know where he's going with what he's got and who he's selling it to."
After Todd's funeral, Foley strongly vowed: "F--k the federal government. I want the man that killed Todd." One of Foley's associates described the link from the towel to the Wonderworld Hotel (and amusement park) in California. In the next scene, Axel had returned to California, where he looked up former associate, cop Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) in the Beverly Hills Police Department, now promoted to Sergeant - with the bureaucratic title DDO-JSIOC (Deputy Director of Operations for Joint Systems Inter-Departmental Operational Command), responsible for crimes that crossed jurisdictional green lines ("Whoever controls the green lines controls Southern California"). His partner was detective Jon Flint (Hector Elizondo) (no longer Sgt. Taggart, who had retired from the force, and moved to Phoenix to play golf). [On Rosewood's desk was a picture of a foursome fishing in Cabo San Lucas: Axel, Rosewood, Taggart and Bogomil, all characters from the previous films.] Foley described his mission to find his boss' killer and search around WonderWorld. Flint gave him the name of a friend of his, the park's security head Ellis DeWald, who "runs the biggest private security force in America."
Axel visited WonderWorld (the amusement park was actually Paramount's Great America, in Santa Clara, CA, in the South Bay Area of Northern California], where he was eventually forced to pay the exorbitant admission of $35 when dropping Ellis DeWald's name failed at the gate. He entered an underground staff-only, maintenance tunnel area and went inside the Alien Attack Control Room, where the controller Janice Perkins (Theresa Randle) demonstrated the popular attraction-ride to him [Alien Attack was actually the Earthquake section of the Studio Tour at Universal Studios in Hollywood, CA]. Foley was spotted on video surveillance camera monitors, and security head DeWald ordered "Get him." Security agents fired at Foley, who fired back and fled into crowds at the park. He sought to hide in one of the cars of the Spider ride, posing as a maintenance worker. When the two agents attempted to prematurely stop the ride, its gears malfunctioned and caused a "Code Red" alert (Rosewood lept from his office chair, crying: "Axel!") - endangering the lives of those on the ride. Officer Flint was ordered to the area for "emergency rescue," as Axel climbed all over the revolving mechanism and jumped from car to car to save two children from a damaged car. He was applauded by bystanders for risking his life to save them, but hauled away nonetheless.
Foley was questioned by DeWald's associate Orrin Sanderson (John Saxon), accused of firing his gun on the premises, and causing the ride malfunction in the first place. When DeWald entered the office, Foley recognized him immediately as Todd's killer from the previous weekend: "That's the f--kin' guy I'm lookin' for!" DeWald claimed he was at his beach house in Laguna the previous weekend. When Officer Flint arrived, Foley screamed out at DeWald again: "That's the guy. That's the killer!" But Axel was taken away by both Flint and Rosewood, as DeWald warned: "You just keep him and his delusions out of my face and out of my park." Flint and Rosewood thought the vengeful and distraught Foley might be mistaken, while vouching for their well-known colleague DeWald: "Everybody loves him," although Foley called him "foul."
Rosewood and Foley decided to attend an awards dinner that evening, where DeWald was scheduled to receive an award from the National Association of Private Security Agencies during their 17th Convention. That afternoon, however, in his room at his local Sunset Hotel, Foley discovered "Uncle Dave" Thornton (Alan Young), the much-loved park's owner, accompanied by worker Janice. Both revealed their concern when "Uncle Dave" asked: "Detective Foley, what's going on at my park?" Foley learned that two weeks earlier, Roger Fry (the park's chief operating officer and Dave's personal friend) disappeared after leaving a cryptic note: "THIS IS IMPORTANT. LIFE AND DEATH. Roger." He may have been conducting a routine park inspection at WonderWorld ("a place of childhood innocence and fun") - and found something suspicious: "He must have found something someone didn't want him to find."
A flamboyant Serge (Bronson Pinchot), the heavy-accented, fey art gallery receptionist from Beverly Hills Cop (1984), recognized Foley and Rosewood as they entered the awards dinner lobby, and proudly displayed his "Survival Boutique" booth of weapons, protective devices and stylish products (i.e., a key chain Stunner designed by an ex-Navy SEAL to be used in car-jackings, was given as a present to each of them). They viewed a demonstration video of his "ultimate survival tool" or luxury personal weaponry, starring Annihilator Girls (Symba Smith, Julie Strain, and Heather Parkhurst) - the models showed off the Annihilator 2000 "total security unit" - a combination TV, CD player, boombox and microwave - and a bazooka weapon for the "helter-skelter world of today." Serge bragged about his sales and customers: "Sly come in and bought 14." At the dinner itself, Sanderson introduced DeWald as the "Private Law Enforcement Man of the Year" award winner -- commending him for his accomplishments and work with underprivileged kids. Foley made a scene, clapping loudly and crying out: "Bravo!' - he then ascended the stage, encouraged more applause from the audience, and then gave a sarcastic speech about what the people of Detroit and elsewhere owed Ellis DeWald. When the award-winner whispered to Foley: "You mad at me for shooting your boyfriend?", Foley punched him and instigated a full-scale brawl.
They were both jailed for disturbing the peace, and Billy worried about losing his plush office. In the police station, Secret Service agent Fulbright again cautioned Foley: "We do not want to panic this man. We want him doing business as f--king usual." Foley was offered a first-class ticket back to Detroit, and he politely promised to be on the plane. Officer Flint helped release the two of them, and they drove together to the Santa Monica pier where the Ford truck (painted lime green) from the night of the Detroit shooting had been abandoned and found by LAPD. SWAT teams and police assembled (Billy had over-orchestrated "Operation Truck Siege") as the truck was opened in the secured area, and found to be empty. However, a small portion of paper used to print a $50 bill was identified by Foley.
Back at WonderWorld, Foley (disguised in a full-sized Oki-Doki elephant costume) spoke to Janice, who was newly placed on "park safety watch" by DeWald, but still had mainframe computer access. From tunnel maps, she realized that only one area of the park, the Happy Forest ride area (at the end of Corridor B), was restricted from personnel during renovations that had been going on for a couple of weeks. Foley suspected it was being used by DeWald's operation, and entered the closed-off area. From an elevated catwalk, he discovered a Print Shop area with high-end copying machines printing sheets of counterfeit money. DeWald entered and spotted Foley's reflection in a mirror, and quietly alerted his security guards. Foley fought off a couple of the guards and fled for his life, and found himself on stage in the middle of one of the attraction's shows amidst dancing costumed animals. He found a park phone and called agent Fulbright to tell him: "I found what you're looking for," but was forced to end the call when shot at by a security guard. Watching the attack on a video monitor, Janice alerted 911, as Foley ducked onto a moving carousel ride, but soon found himself surrounded by armed guards. He fired his weapon into the air, but then surrendered and was apprehended for breaking into a security area.
When Secret Service agent Fulbright arrived, Foley revealed his findings regarding the contents of the hijacked Detroit truck: "Paper. US Mint quality," used for DeWald's operation at WonderWorld in a "hidden room" under a closed ride. At the print shop, Sanderson admitted they were printing money - sheets of WonderWorld $20 dollar bills ("redeemable for admission, rides, souvenirs. It's our big Christmas promotion"). Sanderson demanded Foley's arrest for "public endangerment." And Fulbright was thoroughly exasperated with Foley: "Our case is blown." As Foley left to depart with Flint, DeWald ordered his agents: "Make sure he doesn't get on the plane." Realizing that he was being followed by car, Foley fled on foot and then met up with Uncle Dave. He was shocked to discover that Fry's hand-written warning note was written on "sample" counterfeit paper with a barcode - it could be used as incriminating evidence against DeWald. Suddenly, DeWald appeared with agents and guns drawn, retrieved the 'evidence,' and shot Uncle Dave in the stomach with Foley's own gun to frame him. Foley turned the tables on DeWald, took back the note, and escaped driving Dave's car - and took the wounded Dave to a hospital emergency room for surgery. However, Foley was considered the main suspect in the shooting, and knew he could easily be identified. Back in the park, DeWald held Janice at gunpoint as a hostage, knowing that she was aware of the incriminating note, and he used her to lure Foley back to the park alone and unarmed within a half hour.
Foley borrowed one of Serge's Annihilator weapon floor models and threw it over the wall at WonderWorld - he then gave himself up to four security agents at WonderWorld's entrance. When DeWald demanded Foley's car keys to get the note, Foley used Serge's keychain Stunner to blind DeWald and seize his gun. A struggle ensued in the Main Control Room when Billy Rosewood arrived, and stray gunfire accidentally activated some of the park's rides. Billy and Janice were locked in the computer mainframe room for awhile, as Foley escaped and retrieved the Annihilator near Hometown Square in the park - at first, he didn't know how to use its many complicated features against two agents firing at him. He then activated the Alien Attack ride to subdue and kill a few other agents, before returning to the Happy Forest area (where he programmed the computer to print "Kiss My Ass" dollar bills with his own photo). He ended up in the Land of the Dinosaurs ride area, where he outsmarted another agent before coming face-to-face with DeWald. Billy was wounded by a security guard as Officer Flint arrived at the park, finding a scene of total devastation. Foley was shot by DeWald, but managed to kill him.
The surprise twist was that Secret Service agent Fulbright (who had just killed Sanderson in the Print Shop) found the wounded Foley and pulled his gun on him, telling him: "So long, Foley," but Axel was able to kill him too. One of the bullets that went through Fulbright's body struck Officer Flint's arm. All three of the bloodied and wounded survivors, Foley, Rosewood, and Flint, were reunited in the ride area, as Foley asked: "I wonder what time the park opens." Seriously-hurt Rosewood fell, prompting Flint to declare matter-of-factly: "He needs medical attention."
The film ended with a park ceremony to welcome back Uncle Dave, after his recovery, and to announce a new park animal character, named after Axel -- Axel Fox. The three officers were on stage with slings, casts, and bandages. Axel's love interest Janice suggested pushing wheelchair-bound Axel to the new Tunnel of Love ride.
Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)
With a production budget of $50 million (that eventually exceeded that amount and was closer to $70 million), and box-office gross receipts of $42 million (domestic) and $119 million (worldwide).
The film was soundly criticized for being lackluster, generic, routine and formulaic. It contained multiple cameos from film directors George Lucas, John Singleton, Martha Coolidge, Joe Dante, Arthur Hiller, and Barbet Schroeder, and other roles such as special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen as a bar patron.
The comedic action-oriented film had a surprising number of bloody shootouts - and a high bodycount by film's end, as well as Murphy's surprising swearing with the F word at a young park visitor.
With two Razzie Award nominations: Worst Director (John Landis), and Worst Remake or Sequel.
Detective Axel Foley
Inspector Douglas Todd
Agent Steve Fulbright
Uncle Dave Thornton
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