“It’s a hard R,” the director promised MTV News in an exclusive interview, rebutting web gossip that he’ll be helming a watered-down PG-13 reboot of the beloved action comedy franchise staring Eddie Murphy as foul-mouthed, wise-cracking Detroit cop Axel Foley.
The remake will not only maintain the original movie’s rating and star, it will also carry the same title. “We’re not going to call it ‘4,’ he said. “It will be a new ‘Beverly Hills Cop.’”
At the same time Ratner dished fresh details about the upcoming film, he batted down persistent rumors, such as the one about a plot that had Axel joining forces with an overweight, insecure cop to investigate a suspicious suicide. “There was all this stuff on the Internet and they’d read a script,” he said. “It’s not the script I’m making.”
“It’s a reinvention,” the director revealed. “I’m going to reintroduce it to a contemporary audience. I’m going to take the best of the first two films and put it into the new one.”
Thankfully he made no mention of “BHC III,” widely reviled as both a slapdash insult to the series and the nail in its Hollywood coffin until now. Tasked with reviving the dormant franchise, Ratner cited a curious recent example. “Look at what they did with ‘Indiana Jones,’” he said. “Tonally you have three different films.” Left unstated was whether Ratner believes ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ was an honorable installment or an unholy desecration of a dearly loved hero.
The new “BHC” script is being written by the team who penned last year’s “Wanted,” which is great news for the many fans of that hyperkinetic Angelina Jolie flick and a worrying sign for those who found the film derivative and hampered by galling plot holes.
Ratner, who directed all three “Rush Hour” films, seems certain he has a winner on his hands. “Eddie Murphy to me was what Chris Tucker is to 12 and 13 year olds today,” he said. “I would never do another buddy cop movie, but to do ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ is a dream for me. Eddie is a genius.”
Is or was? The central question in the whole production is the star himself. No one can dispute the Eddie Murphy of today is hardly the Eddie Murphy of the ‘80s (“48 Hrs,” “Trading Places”). Heck, it’s not even controversial to say he’s barely the Eddie Murphy of the ‘90s (“Boomerang,” “The Distinguished Gentleman”). For some, he’s long since joined that sad roster of “SNL” comic greats who just aren’t funny anymore (see also: Chevy Chase, Dana Carvey). Is Murphy’s years-long spate of clunkers (too numerous and depressing to list here) an indication that he can no longer bring the funny, or simply that he hasn’t found the right script in, say, a decade? Might 2010, when “BHC” is expected in theaters, be the year that Eddie finally gets his comeback?
A fourth “BHC”: psyched or not getting your hopes up? Another Eddie Murphy comedy: his long-awaited comeback or another disappointment?