John Landis who brought us the ambitious THE BLUES BROTHERS and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON directs this last BEVERLY HILLS COP installment. It would be unfair to say that he ruined the series as the previous installment, (COP 2) was mostly putrid. COP 3 is closer in spirit to the original, putting more focus on potential comedy and less on slick action.
Again, The film starts out in gritty Detroit, Michigan where Axel Foley is leading a bunch of Detroit Police on a raid that goes sour. This one results in the death of his Chief Inspector Todd (Played wonderfully in all three films by an actual police chief.) And all of the evidence points to a theme park in Southern California, WONDER WORLD. All right, its not exactly Beverly Hills but the series has become a cartoon so its close enough. He again teams up with Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) but Taggart (John Ashton) has retired. It appears he became unavailable at the last minute and was replaced by Hector Elizondo. All of that doesn't matter any more, especially after a totally ridiculous appearance by Bronson Pinchot as "Serge". He was hysterical in the first film, now he represents a desperate attempt to recapture the magic.
Landis has the most fun in creating his own 'Disneyland'-esque theme park. Filmed at the Paramount Theme Park and Universal Studios Theme Park, he succeeds in creating WONDER WORLD, equipped with its own repetitive theme song written by Disney composers the Sherman Brothers (It's a Small World, MARY POPPINS). He also has fun by casting other film directors in cameo roles. Joe Dante, Arthur Hiller, Robert and Richard Sherman and most recognizably George Lucas make appearances.
The DVD is part of a new Special Edition release of the "COP" trilogy and has a nice audio/video transfer. Its supplemental features include a half hour cast and crew interview and some music videos. There are rumors of Axel Foley returning for yet a fourth BEVERLY HILLS COP.