Be honest Brett, will Beverly Hills Cop 4 happen?

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I don’t know about you, and maybe it’s just my hard-on for nostalgia doing the talking here, but I want to see Axel Foley again. I want to see Eddie Murphy vomiting curse words and getting his well-worn football jacket dirty again. I want to hear the Pointer Sisters during a gunfight. And I’ve been wanting this since I walked out of “Beverly Hills Cop III” in 1993.

Inarguably one of the lamest, most depressing sequels of all time, “Cop 3″ shat over all Martin Brest’s original. I can’t believe John Landis, who directed Murphy to great effect in “Trading Places” and “Coming to America”, would handball over such a turd!? Maybe that’s the reason I want to see Axel again? – because he, much like Rocky Balboa (who got one), deserves a good, fitting send-off sequel. We, the fans of the series, deserve a good “Cop” movie before Murphy does the inevitable and joins Sesame Street (C’mon, you know I’m right). One, again, with Pointer Sisters and ‘Getthefuckouttahere’s.

Granted, Brett Ratner isn’t the best director for the job, he hasn’t even done anything super impressive (I do like “Red Dragon” and “The Family Man” though), but he has done “Rush Hour” and I think that enough suggests his “Beverly Hills Cop 4″ will atleast have the action and comedy combo downpat. Maybe.

Now, that last script I read didn’t really back up Ratner’s claims, but then, that libretto has also since been axed (as have the writers apparently). “3:10 to Yuma” scribes Derek Haas and Michael Brant had penned a draft and it, well, wasn’t much – I felt the tone was off and the storyline wasn’t fun; not only did the sequel start with Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) being thrown out a window, nosediving to his death (nobody kills Billy!), but the whole thing just felt hokey (the script ends with Axel discovering his favourite cafe has named a sandwich after him! What the…!?) and quite honestly, more a “Cop 3″ companion than anything. As a “Metro” sequel? Yeah! but as the Axel Foley swansong film he was desperately desire? Nup. Everyone agreed. I think that’s the reason it’s taken so long for this “Cop 4″ project to get off the ground – nobody has nailed the script. Granted, Ratner is a procrastinator and has a habit of just attaching himself to projects for the sheer sake of fattening up his IMDB profile, but in this case, they do need a script before Ratner can committ to a start date (wow, did I just defend Brett Ratner!?).

I like the direction Ratner’s thinking for the film – hard R action/comedy that links directly to the original film. “It’s a reinvention. 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”, he told MTV a coupla years back.

Ratner did end up making a movie with Eddie Murphy last year – the ensemble heist comedy “Tower Heist”. One can only imagine director and actor had many a discussion about “Cop 4″ on the set and before/after the film, given the fact they’d bump into each other on a daily basis for a couple of months, but strangely enough there’s still no movement on the project.

With all the stops, starts and script issues, there’s been talk that Eddie Murphy has lost interest in bringing the Detroit police officer back.

Ratner confirmed that last November saying, “He’s sensitive about it. He made two great ones, the third one didn’t really work. It’s an important film for him. It’s a character that’s iconic. I don’t think he goes anywhere in the world where someone — they’re not going, ‘Yo, Eddie Murphy,’ they’re like, ‘Yo, Axel Foley!’ It’s his Clark Kent. His Darth Vader. His albatross. He wants to go out with a bang… Hopefully he’ll have a great experience with me on ‘Tower Heist.”

And today, Deadline reports that Ratner has gone and attached himself to an adaptation of the young adult book series “The 39 Clues”. Jeff Nathanson, who worked with Ratner on the “Rush Hour” films, wrote the script.

The film would tell of “the most powerful family in the world, the Cahills, and the books give clues as to the secret of the clan’s power.”

Sounds like a potential moneymaker – even without Ronny Cox in the cast. It also sounds like the thing might be near ready to go….in which case, “Beverly Hills Cop 4″ just got pushed back a couple more years (it’s already listed as a 2014 release) didn’t it!?. I’ve a horrible feeling we’ll never see Axel Foley again… I see him forever stuck in Wonderworld, Kevin Flynn-style… forced to dress up as a fuckin’ elephant and rescue kids from rusty rides.