Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F Ending Explained: Like Foley, Like Daughter

The trend of "legacy sequel" films are called that for a reason. For one thing, they cannot be labeled as such if a franchise has been mostly active ever since its inception (thus most horror franchises need not apply). For another, they all tend to deal with a literal question of legacy in some fashion. Some of these films approach that question from a "What influence does someone leave on the world" perspective, but many look at it from the most relatable angle: family.

Even though, technically, "Beverly Hills Cop" isn't wholly a 1980s franchise, it effectively is. The original 1984 film, directed by Martin Brest, helped solidify Eddie Murphy as a bonafide movie star, kicked the careers of producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson into a higher gear, and showcased a score by composer Harold Faltermeyer that arguably best encapsulates the sound of the decade. The sequel, made in 1987 by Tony Scott, doubled down on all of these elements and then some, with Scott coming off of "Top Gun" with a total mastery of '80s iconography and verve. The delayed 1994 trilogy capper, directed by a past-his-prime John Landis, left a bad taste in most people's mouths, but more distressingly seemed to indicate that Axel Foley was very likely a product of his time.

40 years after the original film, "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F" is premiering on Netflix, in the hopes that there may still be some magic as well as relevance to the titular vacationing cop from Detroit. First time feature director Mark Molloy, along with the screenwriters and cast, manage to find both qualities within the series and the character by keying in on the franchise's winning formula of silly comedy meets gritty action and extrapolating from there. "Axel F" takes a look at how the passage of time affects someone whose irreverence can come back to haunt him, and whether or not there's a way for him and his family (biological or otherwise) to continue forward.

Axel Foley doesn't give a puck

30 years after Axel Foley (Murphy) saved an amusement park and seemed to be striking up a relationship with a beautiful park employee, the currently single Detective is up to his old tricks in his home city of Detroit, Michigan, asking a coworker, Mike (Kyle S. More), for tickets to a Red Wings game as a cover story so he can bust a gang of thieves he's been tracking for a while. As Mike fawns over getting to be on a mission with his idol, Axel commandeers a snow plow in the process of chasing the thieves who were boosting items from the player's locker rooms. During the course of the pursuit, Axel manages to wreck a ton of city property in true Foley style.

At the precinct the next morning, Axel makes his apologies to his old pal Jeffrey Friedman (Paul Reiser), now a Deputy Chief. Jeffrey gives Axel the usual business, explaining how he was just berated by the Mayor over Axel's shenanigans, and Foley flashes his winning smile, knowing that his pal pulled his butt from the bureaucratic fire yet again. However, the fact that Jeffrey is packing up his office alarms him, and Friedman admits that the only way he was able to stop Axel from getting fired was to offer himself up as sacrifice. Bringing up Jeffery's contentious relationship with one of his children as a way of trying to keep him from retiring, Axel is then called out by his friend regarding Foley's heavily estranged relationship with his own daughter. It appears that, in the intervening years between part III and "Axel F," Axel has maintained his irreverent, "act now, be responsible later" approach to life a little too much.

Jane and Billy Rosewood get hooked

2,295 miles away, in Los Angeles, Axel's daughter Jane Saunders (Taylour Paige) is continuing her career as a successful Beverly Hills defense attorney by seeking to represent Sam Enriquez (Damien Diaz), who's currently incarcerated for killing a cop. Sam insists that, although he was coerced into muling drugs for his dealer uncle, the cop was actually dirty, and that he and the cop were ambushed by a black SUV before he was knocked unconscious and woke up with the murder weapon in his lap.

After being assigned as Enriquez's counsel and attempting to subpoena the cop's financial records, Jane is attacked in the court parking lot by masked goons, who dangle her inside of her car from the parking structure using a tow truck, letting her go after warning her to drop the case. Jane meets up with her friend and Axel's old buddy Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold), who's now working as a private detective after quitting the Beverly Hills PD. Feeling guilty that he was the one who tipped Jane off to Sam's case, Billy calls Axel, informing his pal about Jane's plight and asking for his help. As soon as he hangs up, Billy snoops around a pier where some shady things are going on, only to be captured at gunpoint by a guard.

Axel puts the proverbial banana in Beverly Hills' tailpipe

Upon hearing about Jane and Billy being in trouble, Axel is dropped off at the airport by Jeffrey and catches a flight to Beverly Hills, whereupon he immediately swings by Billy's office (which is located inside a seedy motel, naturally). Discovering some goons tearing the office apart (even going through Billy's "Rambo" memorabilia), Axel turns on the charm, only to be caught by a photo of himself and Billy hanging on the wall. Yet another raucous chase ensues, this time in and around Rodeo Drive and its various shops.

Arrested by two beat cops for reckless endangerment while the goons get away, Axel is taken to the BHPD, where he meets Detective Bobby Abbott (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a younger man who seems to be much more grounded than the more improvisational Foley. Axel then reunites with John Taggart (John Ashton), who's now been made Chief ever since he un-retired from the force. In Taggart's office is Captain Grant (Kevin Bacon), a career officer who's very protective of the police and the man Sam Enriquez is believed to have killed in particular. Axel discovers that, according to Grant and even Taggart, the Enriquez case is as good as closed, something that sets off alarm bells in his mind.

Using his one phone call to contact Jane, Axel realizes that the relationship between himself and his daughter is more contentious than he assumed it was, as Jane has to be convinced not to keep hanging up on him, let alone come down to the station and bail him out. She does eventually, however, and Axel wastes no time in smooth talking Jane into teaming up to get to the bottom of this case.

Axel Foley's bring your daughter to work day

Axel and Jane head over to the impound (where Billy went before the pier) to pick up where he left off, and after smooth talking the impound clerk (who was apparently an extra in the Wachowskis' "Jupiter Ascending," a movie Axel has clearly not seen), Foley finds a surveillance camera planted in the car with its SD card missing.

Noticing that they're being followed around by some thugs, Axel turns the tables and decides to both lose them and follow them instead, tracking the goons to an exclusive nightspot known as The Eastern. Axel can't quite smooth talk his way past the snooty doorman without help from Jane, and the two head up to the rooftop club only to find Grant there enjoying a drink with the very goons who had been following Axel and Jane. Grant, grinning like a shark, attempts to smooth everything over while subtly hinting that Axel and Jane should drop their investigation, appealing to Axel's cop heritage by denouncing Jane's career.

The damage Grant intended to inflict is indeed done, as a tense Jane drives Axel back to his rental car, vocalizing some of her issues with the way he essentially abandoned her as a father. When Axel makes the pithy remark that "We both messed this thing up," Jane puts him in his place: "The parent is always the parent, and the child is always the child" she spits before leaving him behind with his car.

Axel F and strained relationships

Knowing he's got a lot of making up to do, Axel begins by showing up at Jane's office the next day with a whole new game plan, revealing that he's found out from Billy's research that there's a mansion in town where the corrupt cops seem to be working with the drug cartels to move product through.

Meanwhile, Bobby finds himself increasingly frustrated by the way Chief Taggart is attempting to close off his investigation into the Enriquez case, leading to his decision to track down and follow Foley and Jane. Bobby has good timing, too; he manages to find the duo right as they're being ambushed in the middle of Beverly Hills by some cartel thugs. Before the gunfight, Axel was feebly attempting to reconcile with Jane, seemingly getting hung up on just how old she is. After the fight, however, Axel reveals he actually does know her birthday and her age; maybe for Axel, to borrow a phrase from another LA crime flick, the action is the juice that lets him flow.

Back at BHPD, Axel and Bobby attempt to convince Taggart that something fishy is going on, demonstrating that the cartel thugs who just attacked Foley and Saunders should've been locked up months ago but weren't. Taggart explains that Billy was onto the same bad guys, but that Grant provided sufficient evidence to keep them out of lockup, leading to Billy quitting the force when Taggart backed Grant instead of Rosewood. Axel and Bobby push the tired, overworked Taggart too far; he suspends Bobby and insists Axel leave town.

Axel and friends go house shopping

Undeterred and now free to work on their own, the trio of Axel, Jane, and Bobby do some more research. Axel learns along the way that Bobby is a former LAPD pilot, in addition to discovering that Jane dumped Bobby due solely to her not wanting to date a cop.

Upon learning that a house directly next to the mansion where the bad guys are operating out of is on the market, Axel calls up an old local pal to help them get a viewing: Serge (Bronson Pinchot), the former art gallery espresso maker and erstwhile weapons salesman who is currently living his best and most fabulous Beverly Hills golden years. The foursome head to the house, and while Serge, Jane, and Bobby (the latter two pretending to be husband and wife) distract the real estate lady (Nasim Pedrad), Axel snoops around the villain's mansion.

Afterward, Axel reveals that he discovered a black SUV in the garage that must've attacked Sam's car, along with a device that jams cell signals. While Axel and Bobby discuss next steps, an incensed Jane explains how this is enough reasonable doubt for her to win her case. Realizing that Bobby and Axel are going to endanger themselves further by continuing on, she leaves the men behind.

Axel and Bobby have a beer and go joyriding

Despite Bobby agreeing to partner up with Axel in order to continue digging into the case, he tries to help with the Jane situation by explaining how he had an absentee father of his own, and how much it meant to him when he reconnected with the man years later, whereupon the father apologized for his actions.

As Axel lets that sink in, the duo visit a bar which is a known hangout for Sam's uncle, the cartel drug lord Chalino (Luis Guzmán), who is apparently a big fan of karaoke. Offering to help his nephew if he'll give some information on Grant, Chalino explains how the operation works, how the drugs are brought into the city via the pier, and how Billy has been taken hostage.

Armed with this new knowledge, Axel and Bobby are waylaid by Grant and his men, arrested outside the bar, and taken into custody. While there, Grant once again attempts to appeal to Axel's police loyalty, explaining how after suffering an injury on the job and receiving only a ribbon as reciprocation caused him to start putting together operations and deals with the cartels. Axel is having none of it, dismissing Grant as a blowhard who's seen too many movies. To prove his point, Axel stages a breakout that makes it look like he's escaped through a vent in the holding room, only to knock out Grant when the latter arrives to investigate.

Freeing Bobby, Axel leads his new partner to the roof where a helicopter awaits, only for Bobby to reveal his deep anxiety about getting back behind the stick, given that the last helicopter he piloted crashed. Left with no other option, the boys fly off the roof in the chopper, taking a wild ride across LA before finally coming down in a country club's golf course (which, in a sly nod to "Happy Gilmore," is currently being used by a man played by Christopher "Shooter" McDonald).

Beverly Hills Cops versus bad guys

A contrite Jane speaks with a guilty Taggart, both friends realizing they may have made some mistakes. While Taggart decides to no longer ignore the corruption that's been going on under his nose, Jane attempts to call Axel, only to be foiled by a group of Grant's goons who kidnap her.

Arriving at the pier, Axel and Bobby rescue Billy, who reveals that the SD card Grant has been violently searching for has been hidden in the "Rambo" knife in his office this whole time. The three men then foil the drug shipment before climbing in a truck after Grant contacts Axel, informing him that he has Jane. Axel, Bobby, and Billy race to the mansion as Axel hits as many cop cars as he can along the way so that they'll follow, without the suspended cops needing to call for backup.

As Grant goads a captive Jane, explaining how he'll make her death look like an accident while revealing that he was the one behind her tow truck attack, Axel and company storm the mansion. Billy is, at first, annoyed to see Taggart show up separately, but the two old partners quickly reconcile, realizing the affection between them is still there.

Axel and Bobby attempt to rescue Jane, who is putting the various cop tricks her father taught her as a child to good use, freeing herself from her bonds and putting the hurt on some goons. When Axel finally confronts Grant, the villain attempts to out smooth-talk Foley, distracting him long enough for a thug to get the jump on him. Jane saves her father, shooting the thug, and when Grant returns fire toward Jane, Axel jumps in front of the bullet while Bobby plants a round in Grant's noggin.

Axel Foley is hungry for a new shot

Now convalescing from his wound in a Beverly Hills hospital, an irritated Axel sneaks out of his room, attempting to get a decent meal at a local Norm's diner. Jane finds him there, and the similarly stubborn father and daughter finally reconcile. "You've been a father as long as I've been a daughter," Jane admits, with Axel apologizing for leaving Jane behind all those years. With an implied promise that Axel might make a permanent move to Beverly Hills (or at least stay around longer), Jane helps Axel back to his hospital bed.

A few days later, Rosewood and now Sergeant Taggart are keeping watch over the hospital Axel's in while he continues to recover, with Billy getting on John's nerves like old times. Speaking of old times, Axel sneaks into the pair's car just as he did all those years ago in 1984, only this time he insists that they all go get a steak given the sorry state of the hospital food. "Axel F" has been all about these characters learning to better accommodate one another's needs while simultaneously admitting their unchanging natures; as Billy observes to an annoyed Taggart telling him not to do what Axel wants, "We both know I'm gonna do it." Taggart reluctantly gives in as he always does, stipulating that they not tell Jane. Axel, ever the Bugs Bunny-esque scamp, assures the boys: "Trust me." At the beginning of the film, Axel may not have been able to be trusted on all matters, especially that of being responsible. But for now, he's earned it.






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