Sunday, January 06, 2008

From Drama to comedy, complements of Mr. Foley.

Eddie Murphy, in the eighties was easily the most popular comedic actor of the decade. With amazing films such as Coming to America, Trading Places, and of course, Beverly Hills Cop, it was no wonder that he was able to achieve such stardom. Originally cast for Stallone, Beverly Hills Cop was supposed to be more of an action flick. Instead Murphy in his role of Axel Foley depicts a very confident black man who doesn't have to push his race or fall into any specific stereotype to become a popular movie character. The film grossed quite a bit, more so than Murphy's other movie with mostly black casts (Guerrero 129). Still Murphy was able to create in Axel Foley a character who was, highly intelligent, amazingly clever, and very passionate about his job as a police officer. He is often able to be confidently black in such locations where blacks were not commonly accepted. Axel Foley is cleverly able to procure a suite room at a single room price in an upscale Beverly Hills Hotel, by pulling the race card. It is far from a Blaxploitation flick as Eddie Murphy’s blackness, and the black community itself, is not the focus of the movie. The Movie’s focus is more on the background and location difference. For example, it is not because Foley is black that he doesn’t play by the book, it is because of what he has to deal with being a Detroit cop that forces him to not play by the rules. Even though Foley was often reprimanded by his superior officer for his recklessness, he was sometimes rewarded in Detroit for his recklessness, because he was given complements for being a fine young detective. The movie does not focus on Axel Foley trying to stop the white man, and his oppression. It is more about working class cops working together to bring down the rich oppressor, by means that are not always by the book, as the white cops in Beverly Hills have trouble understanding at first. The black jokes are kept to a minimum in the movie, taking the focus away from Foley’s blackness and keeping the focus on uniting of similar interests instead of the uniting of races.


Blogger Vladigogo said...

In a sense you are correct. The film really does play down his blackness but is that a problem for the film? Is the film cheating by doing such a thing? Shouldn't/wouldn't race be an issue in Beverly Hills? If a black guy burst into a white man's office building, wouldn't race be a huge issue? Are the filmmakers cheating?

5:52 PM  
Blogger paigecole said...

I think the film could have expanded the issues of race in Beverly Hills. Clearly when he drives down the street in his beat up car the people in cars beside him are judging and caught off guard by his presence. Though Foley could care less what others think of him, and his only goal is to solve the case about his friend's murder, the filmmakers could have made a bigger deal out of racial tensions in the predominantly white elite area.

6:44 PM  

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