First came news that there would be a television adaptation of the action comedy series, which at first sounded like fun, until it was revealed that the show would center on Axel Foley’s son and franchise star Eddie Murphy would be relegated to a sporadically appearing supporting role. Still, some Eddie Murphy as Axel is better than none, right? Well, the pilot for the series got made, but CBS ultimately decided to pass on the project.
Now comes news that Paramount has decided that the future of the franchise will remain in film and are working with producer Jerry Bruckheimer to prepare a fourth installment. Which all sounds well and good, until we get to the part that hack director Brett Ratner has been attached to the project.
The news comes slightly buried in a Deadline story about Bruckheimer returning to his old stomping ground at Paramount after his first-look deal with Disney was not re-upped by the studio back in September and that returning to the franchise he launched with his late producing partner Don Simpson would be his first priority there.
This is not the first that Brett Ratner has threatened to direct a fourth Beverly Hills Cop film. Paramount was attempting to mount a fourth film back in 2008 and had hired Ratner to direct it, but the project fell through. Probably just as well, as the script that was under consideration at the time used the murder of Judge Reinhold’s popular franchise character Billy Rosewood as its motivating incident.
Now you may take from my tone that I am not a fan of Rattner’s and you would be correct. He obviously knows which end of the camera to point towards what the actors in his film are doing, but beyond that I don’t find anything of merit in his directorial skills. There is no flare, style or energy to what he brings to the screen and he has even made one of the most kinetic men in action films of the last 25 years, Jackie Chan, seem flat and lifeless in the Rush Hour films. I have seen virtually every one of Ratner’s films in the hopes that he would get better, especially when on a story level some of them sound interesting. But there doesn’t seem to have been any learning curve to his career, with even his more recent films like the watered down Ocean’s 11 riff Tower Heist never fully engaging me.
The Beverly Hills Cop franchise seriously needs a shot in the arm if Paramount hopes to revive it into an ongoing concern for them. The third film in the series was particularly underwhelming and the studio really needs someone to bring some energy back. Ratner sounds like the exact wrong choice for the task.