Monday, January 07, 2008

Framing Blackness and Beverly Hills Cop

Beverly Hills Cop follows many of the ideas presented in Ed Guerrero's "Framing Blackness". Murphy stars as Axel Foley, a detroit policeman who's best friend is the murdered outside Axel's apartment late one night. After his boss refuses to let Axel in on the case, he is granted two weeks vacation, but is under strict orders to leave the case alone. As he travels to the predominantly white Beverly Hills, Axel's "blackness" is shown by stereotypical characteristics of African Americans. Axel's old beaten up Chevy Nova, and "hoodlum" way of dressing makes him stand out in the streets of Beverly Hills. As he's driving through the shopping district, lined with high-end stores. Axel shows content with standing out, and likes that he is different from the white elite, and throughout the film shows he won't conform to the BHPD. As he rolls up to the Beverly Palm Hotel, he manages to finagle his way into the hotel by lying and creating a scene. Axel follows stereotypes of African Americans as being loud, poor, and from the hood. However, the stereotypes don't stop there. As the movie continues, Axel is arrested twice for disturbing the peace. He lies numerous times, including passing as a Custom's inspector, and a RollingStone journalist at the hotel check-in scene. And in the end steals three robes from the hotel. Though all of these incidents helps him with solving the case, his character goes against the books and therefore, the white cops. By the end of the film, Axel who refuses to conform to working "by the book" causes his new white cop friends to tell a few lies and even talk them into drinking on the job.  

Guerrero mentions that the original character of Axel was meant for a white actor, Stallone. The whole reason Axel can get away with doing things his own way is the tension and controversy of race. Hollywood does a good job of presenting these differences in the law enforcement, as black and white. The White cops go about their job by the book, follow all rules. Axel comes into the picture with a totally different view on how to go about the case. In my opinion, if Stallone would have played this character the whole point of the film would be thrown off.  The fact that Axel is a black character surrounded by white cops, gives him the spotlight in the film. 


Blogger Vladigogo said...

Does no one call Axel on any of these aspects because he is black?

9:20 PM  

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