Saturday, January 05, 2008

Beverly Hills Cop & Framing Blackness

Beverly Hills Cop opens in Detroit, where the audience is introduced to Axel Foley. Detroit is portrayed as poor and run down, including both black and white people. Axel often works as an undercover cop and right from the beginning it is clear that he does what he wants to do whether it abides by the rules or not. Also, his authority, the police chief, is a black man. Axel’s past reflects that of the stereotypical black man, he is from the hood and wasn’t always associated with the best people. However, he trained to become a cop and was successful in doing so, without changing who he truly is. Issues with race arise when Axel goes to Beverly Hills in order to solve the murder of his friend. He stands out, not just because of his color, but also because of his car and clothing. When thrown through a window by two white security guards (at the request of a powerful white villian, Victor Maitland), Axel is arrested and the story is changed around. Axel’s reaction to being arrested clearly shows that he is taken aback by this kind of treatment; he even fails to inform them that he is a cop because he is so appalled at the way he is being treated.
While Murphy’s character is isolated in race in Beverly Hills Cop, after this incident, it doesn’t seem to really affect him, as Guerrero suggests. Guerrero is all about pointing out how blacks are isolated and the white’s are portrayed as elite. However, I find it interesting that Foley mocks one of the black cops in L.A. and then in another scene claims he is gay and has herpes. This comment brings up another stereotype all on its own. Despite the fact that Murphy gets in trouble with the Beverly Hills police, this does not stop him in what he came to do. He stays true to his character throughout the film, and doesn’t let police tails, doubt or anything else get in his way.


Blogger Vladigogo said...

So are you suggesting that the film is more about attitude and self-confidence through the behavior of Foley rather than being about race or East Coast vs. West Coast?

6:57 PM  

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