Can someone perform a drive-by on this project while blasting Harold Faltermeyer instrumentals? We’ve already seen a 180-spin with Beverly Hills Cop IV, with poolguy Brett Ratner originally playing to the kiddies, then predictably back-pedaling and labeling the film “hard R, brah” followed by a tepid review of the script and its more serious “standard cop movie” tone (Judge Reinhold gets murdered etc).
Apparently screenwriters Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, who remain hot from adapting Wanted and 3:10 to Yuma, have been tinkering with their original draft. CineFools just interviewed Brandt, who clarifies that the BHC4 script is a reworking of their older, unrelated script entitled Dying Day. This reminds me of how a script entitled “Simon Says” was used, adequately if not definitively so, for Die Hard 3. Brandt had this to say about the project’s progress…
The studio called and the producers called and said hey we just got a new draft of Beverley Hills Cop 4 and the writers we keep hiring keep trying to write a comedy and we don’t want a comedy. …So what they said to us was they wanted to go back to that and Derek and I had written a script two years ago called Dying Day which was kind of a buddy cop thing set in LA with buddy FBI agents but it wasn’t jokey at all it was pretty hardcore everybody died in the end and it was the kind of movie/script that everybody who read it really liked but nobody was ever going to make it into a movie. Too dark. And they said they would like to turn Dying Day into Beverley Hills Cop 4.
These statements align with the script review Latino Review posted last year: it’s more 1997 Metro shoot ‘em up generica and less 1994 Beverly Hills Cop 3 summer FAIL. Brandt does seem to grasp the detective actioner roots of the franchise—noting that BHC was at one point a Sly Stallone vehicle—and I do think Eddie Murphy is totes capable of reprising Axel Foley‘s FU witticisms and Detroit street smarts (speaking of which, save Detroit, Axel); playing Richard Pryor in Bill Condon’s biopic is a promising sign that he wants to be funny again.
But Brett Ratner, oh Ratner, does not possess the jumper cables, the patience, nor the ambition to dust the ’80s off the franchise while paying exquisite homage to what’s come before. He churns out blocks of mediocre that are easy to market and that exude no concept of history, cinematic or otherwise. Combined with a script that wasn’t written with an aged Axel Foley or the legacy in mind—unlike Stupnitsky and Eisenberg’s Ghostbusters 3—it sounds as souless as the last sequel. But, you know, darker, man. Why not just have John Singleton remake it with Nick Cannon?