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The Ending Of Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F Explained

Contains spoilers for "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F"

It's been a few good years for Eddie Murphy fans, as the actor recently emerged from a nearly decade-long hiatus to return to entertainment. Along with being one of the best hosts of "Saturday Night Live" during his triumphant return in 2019, Murphy just followed up his long-awaited sequel to "Coming to America" with another highly-anticipated project: a new "Beverly Hills Cop" movie exclusive to Netflix, titled "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F." 

Back in the role that made him a breakout movie star and confirmed Eddie Murphy to be a comedy genius, he plays an older Axel Foley who remains unchanged in his reckless pursuit of justice. This takes him back to Beverly Hills, when his daughter's life is threatened for defending a client accused of killing a cop and his old pal Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) goes missing. Axel's investigation finds him crossing paths with old friends, interesting allies, and dangerous enemies. 

The film's ending will feel nostalgic for fans of the original "Beverly Hills Cop," as Axel teams up with Rosewood, John Taggart (John Ashton), and others to rescue his daughter from the clutches of Captain Cade Grant (Kevin Bacon), managing to not only rid the Beverly Hills Police Department of corruption, but restore his fractured relationship with his daughter. It may seem like business as usual for Axel, but there's a lot more to this movie's ending than you'll find in any of the other "Beverly Hills Cop" films.

What you need to remember about the plot of Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F

As happens in almost every "Beverly Hills Cop" movie, Axel Foley is up to his usual crime-busting in Detroit when he gets a call from Billy Rosewood, requesting his help on a case that's endangered the life of Foley's estranged daughter Jane (Taylour Paige). She's a lawyer representing a wrongly-convicted felon as a favor to Rosewood, who's been investigating corruption in the Beverly Hills Police Department. However, when Foley shows up in Beverly Hills, Rosewood's gone missing, forcing him and Jane to put their differences aside, find Rosewood, and obtain evidence of foul play in Jane's case.

Jane gives up on the case after she acquires enough evidence to provide reasonable doubt for her client. But in typical Axel fashion, her father decides to partner with detective Bobby Abbott (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), her ex, in order to take down Grant, the head of Beverly Hills' narcotics task force, who is secretly running a drug smuggling operation under the nose of Chief Taggart. 

As the film nears its third act, Axel and Bobby are apprehended by cops and framed for possession of cocaine, but Axel outsmarts Grant in order to escape custody and free Bobby. The two break out, finding Rosewood at the port, before learning that Grant has kidnapped Jane and is holding her hostage at his mansion headquarters. 

What happened at the end of Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F?

After Axel crashes into Grant's Beverly Hills mansion with a stolen truck, a shootout occurs between Grant's thugs and Axel, Rosewood, Abbott, and the police, led by Taggart. Meanwhile, a captive Jane frees herself from handcuffs while Axel shoots his way through to find her, ending up in a stand-off with Grant. Axel is nearly taken out by a lone gunman before Jane saves him, though when Grant redirects his fire to Jane, Axel jumps in front of the bullet, taking the hit for his daughter as Abbott shoots Grant. 

Jane later visits a recovering Axel in the hospital, only to find him absent from his bed. As she expects, Axel's at the famous Norm's Restaurant for a burger and milkshake, wanting a better meal than the ones offered at the hospital. There, Axel takes responsibility for his failures as a father, while Jane accepts responsibility for cutting him off. She invites Axel to visits her sometime in the future before walking him back to the hospital.

The very last scene of "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F" is one that fans of the franchise may have been waiting the entire movie for: Taggart and Rosewood sit in a car outside the hospital as Axel sneaks in, catching them surveilling him as a favor to Jane to make sure he doesn't escape. As usual, Axel coaxes the duo into going out anyway. 

Axel's greatest case is figuring out fatherhood

Early in "Axel F," Chief Jeffrey Friedman (Paul Reiser) encourages Foley to make things right with his daughter, Jane. As it's later revealed, Axel had Jane and his wife move out to Beverly Hills after a case in Detroit threatened his life and theirs. However, Jane accuses Axel of focusing on his work more than her. While Jane claims all Axel ever did was teach her to shoot or get out of a trunk, Axel argues it was his way of showing love. 

Axel slowly begins to realize how his actions, however well-intentioned they were, damaged Jane's adulthood, learning that she broke up with Abbott because she "couldn't date a cop." As the film goes on, it becomes clear that Axel was a better parent than Jane gives him credit for, perfectly recalling the date she was born and her age. And, coincidentally, Axel's lessons were more useful to Jane than she thought, as she uses his technique for getting out of handcuffs to escape from Grant's captivity in the film's climax.

By the end of "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F," Axel and Jane realize they each could have done a lot more to be a part of each other's lives. It's a sweet ending for the father and daughter duo, who still have a long way to go to solve their issues, but are at least now willing to try. 

Rosewood and Taggart's friendship is repaired

Fans of the original "Beverly Hills Cop" movies might be anxious to see the iconic trio of Axel Foley, Billy Rosewood, and John Taggart share the screen. Sadly, the film makes you wait for the reunion, as Rosewood, one of the few actors to appear in every "Beverly Hills Cop" movie, is captured while poking around Grant's criminal operation before Foley even makes it to Beverly Hills. However, a lot's happened between Rosewood and Taggart prior to the events of film, with Taggart's protection of Grant causing a suspicious Rosewood to turn in his badge and investigate privately.

Of course, Taggart has a lot to apologize for once he realizes that Rosewood was right, thanks to Foley. The duo finally reunite after Taggart saves Rosewood from a shooter at Grant's mansion, and Rosewood in return rescues the duo from being cornered behind debris from Foley's crashed truck. 

In the aftermath of the shootout, Taggart swallows his ego to apologize to Rosewood for not having his back with Grant, something Foley had called him out for earlier, given their history together. It's nice to see them make up, and judging by their banter about Taggart's sex life in the car during the film's final scene, it seems that their dynamic hasn't changed much in the 37 years since Judge Reinhold and John Ashton first shared the screen together. 

Grant's criminal backstory is a lot of B.S.

"Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F" finds Kevin Bacon giving arguably one of his best on-screen performances as Cade Grant, the corrupt captain who threatens the lives of Rosewood and Jane. Despite Taggart's assertion that Grant is a good man, Axel sizes him up in their first meeting, noting his expensive suit and gold watch as unfitting a police captain's pay, even for Beverly Hills. During a confrontation at a social club, Grant insists he's "earned" everything he has. 

It's not until after Foley and Abbott are arrested by Grant that the captain reveals the reasoning behind his unreasonable actions. After getting shot in the line of duty, Grant balked at his only reward being a ribbon, making a decent point that he put his life on the line for his job only to struggle to afford a life in Beverly Hills. 

During Axel and Grant's final confrontation, Grant admits he's sacrificed his family for his taste of power and money (let's hope he means figuratively), but Axel isn't empathetic — especially since he also isolated his loved ones in pursuit of his job, and deeply regrets it. 

Bobby saves Jane's life (but almost kills Axel)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt will probably never get his Robin movie, but at least he now gets to say he shared the screen with Axel Foley. The actor plays Bobby Abbott, a Beverly Hills detective who Foley meets early in the film, after a car chase gets him arrested. Foley quickly sizes Bobby up, noticing a photo of the detective as a BHPD helicopter pilot and assuming he had a "fall from grace." The tension between the two becomes higher once Foley learns that Bobby is Jane's ex, showing she has more than one estranged detective in her life.

Despite being enemies at first, Bobby eventually joins Axel and Jane's investigation. It turns out that the two detectives actually have quite a lot in common. Jane eventually leaves the two to handle the investigation on their own, with Axel and Bobby getting arrested. Axel's escape involves Bobby flying them to safety on a helicopter, though Axel learns too late that Bobby's "fall from grace" was literally due to a helicopter crash while he was at the controls. 

Bobby nearly kills Axel in yet another helicopter mishap, but luckily he's more focused during the final shootout at Grant's mansion. Bobby even delivers the killing blow to Grant, saving Jane's life and redeeming himself as a damn good cop.

Jeffrey is finally retiring from dealing with Axel

It might be easy to forget that Paul Reiser appeared in the first two "Beverly Hills Cop" movies, as they predated his more well-known roles in "Aliens" and "Mad About You." Thankfully, Reiser's role in "Stranger Things" has re-introduced him to audiences, resulting in his return in "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F." In the first "Beverly Hills Cop," Reiser's role of Detective Jeffrey Friedman is brief, introduced as Foley's rule-following partner who is judgmental of his reckless decision-making. 

Since then, it's clear that the dynamic hasn't changed much between Jeffrey and Axel. Jeffrey has been promoted to police chief while Axel remains an irresponsible detective, though things are about to change. At the beginning of "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F," Jeffrey reveals that he's retiring, which means he can't protect his old partner anymore. Axel tries to convince Jeffrey to not quit, but Jeffrey admits they're getting old, as much as Axel doesn't want to admit it.

Reiser doesn't appear again until the end of the film, when Axel calls him in Detroit asking for help tracking Jane's phone after she's kidnapped by Grant. In that scene, Jeffrey seems to be having a retirement party at the precinct, so it's likely that he's sticking with his plan to retire despite Axel's encouragement. 

Serge still can't pronounce anyone's names

Those who haven't watched the original Eddie Murphy movies in a while may be surprised to see Bronson Pinchot return as Serge, given that the "Beverly Hills Cop" actor looks a lot different today. In the first movie, Serge was an art dealer working for the film's antagonist, Victor Maitland. He returned in "Beverly Hills Cop III," owning a weapons shop visited by Foley and Rosewood. Among the character's many unique traits was his inability to pronounce Axel's name.

The character re-emerges in "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F," where he's recruited by Axel to help him, Jane, and Bobby get into a real estate showing next door to Grant's mansion headquarters. While Serge, Bobby, and Jane distract the realtor (played by "SNL" alum Nasim Pedrad), Axel sneaks next door to spy on the mansion and poke around for evidence of Grant's corruption. 

Thankfully, Serge's appearance doesn't come without more mispronouncing of names, as he gets stuck on how to pronounce Bobby's last name, Abbott. It's only a shame that Pinchot's screen-time in "Axel F" is limited, as he's quite the fan favorite among the original film's fans. 

There's a surprising cameo from a famous movie golfer

There's one cameo in "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F" that may surprise fans of '90s comedies starring breakout performers from "Saturday Night Live." In the aftermath of Bobby safely landing (to put it generously) a helicopter on a golf course nearby the Beverly Hills Police Department, Axel and Bobby are approached by a golfer played by Christopher McDonald, who portrayed the iconic villain Shooter McGavin in "Happy Gilmore," the Adam Sandler comedy which just recently blew up on Netflix. 

Thankfully, McDonald is easily recognizable with his golf attire and gloved hand, though whether the character is actually meant to be Shooter McGavin is unclear. Either way, the casting of this distinctive actor in a role like this must be an intentional nod to the Sandler comedy, especially with McDonald recently saying that "Happy Gilmore 2" is on the horizon.

For the most part, McDonald's golfer is incredibly kind and helpful to Axel and Bobby, who distract him by claiming that someone else is trapped in the helicopter wreckage and needs saving. That allows them to steal his golf cart and escape the scene of the crime.

Axel F borrows a lot from the first Beverly Hills Cop movie

If you've watched "Beverly Hills Cop" a plethora of times (or even just recently), then watching "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F" may feel a little bit like deja vu. The new film shares a lot of elements with the first movie, from scene callbacks to entire story beats. 

Each of the "Beverly Hills Cop" movies opens on Axel on a mission that goes haywire, and while he may apprehend the perps and receive applause from his fellow cops, he gets chewed out by his superior officer for insubordinance and damage to public property. Then, once someone close to him is endangered, the detective is whisked away to Beverly Hills to investigate despite the orders of his boss. He utilizes his street smarts to sniff out the truth, is pursued in dangerous car chases, and is even arrested on false charges. 

The film's ending is also a callback to the original film, ending on a freeze frame of Eddie Murphy's face, which usually takes place after he just finishes messing with Rosewood and Taggart. While some audiences may be upset at an ending that could be construed as cheap nostalgia bait for "Beverly Hills Cop" fanatics, the rest of the film has a lot of heart and brings many new elements to the table, while still harkening back to the films that made audiences fall in love with Eddie Murphy and Axel Foley in the first place. 

The final scene was a dream come true

Getting the opportunity to direct a "Beverly Hills Cop" movie is quite a big responsibility. At least it was for director Mark Molloy, who made his feature debut with the highly-anticipated Eddie Murphy film. Appropriately, Molloy carried with him a lot of reverence for the original movie, which is made clear in the one scene he wanted to do: a nighttime stakeout by Axel Foley, Billy Rosewood, and John Taggart which ends up closing the film.

As Molloy told Entertainment Weekly about the scene, "I always had that image of those three guys on a stakeout in the car together, it was just imprinted in my brain ... And then I remember sitting with the three of them in that car, and I actually happened to look around at the crew filming it. I just saw on everyone's faces, like, 'Oh man, this is exactly where we want to be right now.'" The scene was also an opportunity for Murphy, Reinhold, and Ashton to improvise, as they had done on the first film.

Despite Molloy claiming to have never seen "Beverly Hills Cop III" (a blessing in disguise), he was adamant that he wanted the film to pay tribute to the franchise by bringing back as much of the returning cast as possible. Thankfully, it's all resulted in a film that feels lovingly indebted to the trilogy that came before it. 

Eddie Murphy says a sequel is in the works

These days, audience members have been spoiled by nostalgia, with many franchises returning to their roots after decades of failed reboots, as we've seen with "Ghostbusters," "Godzilla," and soon in 2024, "Beetlejuice." "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F" is yet another modern-day revival, but hopefully it won't take 30 years for the next film to arrive. As some of the cast and crew have indicated, "Beverly Hills Cop 5" might be just around the corner.

MMark Molloy confirmed that the project was in the early stages of script development, an important step in determining if the film is even worth doing. At the "Axel F" premiere in June 2024, Murphy seemed confident about a fifth film's prospects, telling Variety, "If it comes together, we'll be doing another one." Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who was involved in the first two "Beverly Hills Cop" movies, revealed that they have ideas for a possible future for Axel Foley and company.

Things may be quite busy for Eddie Murphy in the next few years, as the actor also confirmed that they've been recording the voices for "Shrek 5" as well as a Donkey spin-off movie. While "Coming 2 America" wasn't beloved by critics, hopefully "Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F" will be well-received enough to warrant Murphy either pursuing another appearance as Axel Foley, or perhaps reviving another iconic film character of his, like The Nutty Professor or Dr. Dolittle.