Eddie Murphy Didn't Mince Words About Beverly Hills Cop's Lackluster Sequels

Few comedians have ever been as absolutely electric as Eddie Murphy was in the '80s. Murphy was setting the world on fire everywhere he went, from his television work on "Saturday Night Live" to his time in cinema with "48 Hrs.," "Trading Places," and "Coming to America." It seemed like everything he touched turned into gold.

"Beverly Hills Cop" was one of his biggest hits. A buddy comedy about a street-smart Detroit detective going to Beverly Hills to solve his best friend's murder, the film was a massive success both critically and at the box office, earning more than $300 million worldwide, blowing most modern comedies completely out of the water.

It's no wonder that, following the success of the film, "Beverly Hills Cop II" came soon after, followed by "Beverly Hills Cop III." Each installment produced diminishing returns, and the franchise was never quite able to recapture the magic of the original. This is an opinion Murphy himself voiced in a Rolling Stone interview:

"Do you know what's scary? 'Beverly Hills Cop II' was probably the most successful mediocre picture in history. It made $250 million worldwide, and it was a half-assed movie. 'Cop II' was basically a rehash of 'Cop I,' but it wasn't as spontaneous and funny."

This frankness regarding the quality of his sequels is refreshing. Often, sequels can feel like shameless cash-grabs piggybacking off of the success of the original, and Murphy isn't afraid to admit that.

Collecting checks

When you're as talented as Murphy, you have more room to speak these kinds of harsh truths. After all, Murphy's the reason the original "Beverly Hills Cop" was any good in the first place.

In the same interview, which was conducted between "Cop II" and "Cop III," Murphy was very explicit about why he'd continue making the films.

"There's no reason to do it: I don't need the money, and it's not gonna break any new ground. How often can you have Axel Foley talk fast and get into a place he doesn't belong? But these motherf***ers [at Paramount] are developing scripts for it. They're in preproduction. The only reason to do a 'Cop III' is to beat the bank, and Paramount ain't gonna write me no check as big as I want to do something like that. In fact, if I do a 'Cop III,' you can safely say, 'Oooh, he must have got a lot of money!' ... ... Because [actors are] whores."

Like most of his old standup, his explanation was vulgar and didn't age particularly well, but his honesty is still ... well, it's something. And with "Beverly Hills Cop 4" in production for Netflix, we can assume that either his opinions have changed significantly in the past 30 years, or the streamer offered him boatloads of cash to return as Axel for a new outing.

In a way, it is a greedy pursuit. There's no question that Eddie Murphy is already a very rich man. But on the other hand, can you blame him for taking these opportunities when they're being shoved at him from every angle for years after years? Will "Beverly Hills Cop 4" be as good as the original? Almost certainly not. We should all know that. But people will see it in droves, and as long as that's true, Eddie Murphy will happily continue to collect his checks.