(On TV, November 1998) Unexplainably, I think that film is weaker than its sequel… but that’s just me. Still, Eddie Murphy is in top form as an unflappable Detroit policeman investigating a murder in sunny California. Watching this movie now is probably even funnier that it was then, given that the sunny-California-cop formula exhibited here has been copied countless times from the serious (Lethal Weapon) to the silly (The Last Action Hero). We get all the clichés. But I still prefer the sequel.
(Second viewing, On DVD, August 2007) Holding up better than most contemporary releases, this first Eddie Murphy release still has some charm and interest. Though it can’t shake off the legacy of almost twenty five years of increasingly sophisticated Action/Comedy hybrids, this unexpected hit still works reasonably well. Eddie Murphy’s grandstanding can be grating, but the repartee with the other characters can be a hoot. Plus, hey, at least two pieces on the soundtrack have become classic pop music. The DVD edition contains a reasonably informative director’s commentary track, as well as a number of documentaries that rely a bit too much on archived footage.