Eddie Murphy and Tom Cruise have more in common than you think.

Both became superstars in the 1980s and havent left the A-list since. Each is in his early 60s (Cruise is 62, Murphy is 63) but looks much younger.

They also resurrected their classic 80s films for a new audience with grand results.

Murphys Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F isnt the revelation that Cruises 2022 smash Top Gun: Maverick proved. Plus, the former debuted on Netflix, not in theaters nationwide.

Still, both films brought back that Reagan-era feeling while telling stories worth a fresh look. Neither apologizes for the past. Instead, they celebrate it.

Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix. Copyright 2024. Netflix, Inc.

Its been 30 years since Axel Foley walked the beat. Beverly Hills Cop 3 unofficially ended the franchise and good riddance. The formula was played out by then, and Murphys outsized talents deserved better.

Murphy wouldnt let the character go, even mulling a TV incarnation with a younger star taking the reins as Axels son (Murphy would appear in the first episode and potentially pop up now and again).

He finally re-teamed with his old producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, for Axel F. Except weve been here before.

The 2021 Prime Video original Coming 2 America followed up on the actors other 80s comedy smash. The sequel packed little of Coming to Americas magic, swapping woke bromides for Murphy-sized guffaws.

Hard pass.

So a new Beverly Hills Cop project aroused more than just suspicion. Try desperation.

Maverick proved you cant ground a talent like Cruise. The same holds true for Murphy who knows Axel remains his signature role.

Screenwriters Will Beall, Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten concocted an excuse to lure Axel back to Beverly Hills where the cop is no longer a fish-out-of-water. His grown daughter Jane (Taylour Paige, excellent) is in trouble. Shes defending a young Latino man charged with killing a cop, but she suspects hes innocent

That reveals another round of Dirty Cop 101 along with an unctuous detective played by Kevin Bacon.

Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix. Copyright 2024. Netflix, Inc.

Why does Axel F follow in the grand Maverick tradition?

For starters, neither bows to the woke mob. Maverick played it straight down the middle, avoiding the culture wars entirely. Axel F acknowledges the story exists in 2024 but it plays out sans lectures or gags that take you out of the moment.

When Axel teases a white cop on a racially-charged gag, his smile tells us he isnt serious. Its all in good fun.

Even Joseph Gordon Levitts character, a more sensitive cop for our times who briefly tells Axel his style no longer plays in todays culture, learns that old-school approach gets results.

Both films understand why we cared about the main characters in the first place. Maverick may not play by the rules, but his spine is stiff and his moral compass points true north. Axel can talk his way out of any jam, and his police improvisations would make MacGyver blush.

Its all about collaring the bad guys.

Neither Maverick nor Axel F deify our heroes. Cruises Maverick remains a hot head, and his romantic stumbles arent lost on his new love interest, Penny (Jennifer Connelly). Axels estranged relationship with his daughter didnt happen accidentally. Hes a great cop and a misguided parent. He couldnt navigate the balance between divorce and catching the bad guys.

Janes anger at her father appears justified, and Axel F isnt ready to sweep it away for conveniences sake. He must earn her trust again.

Maverick and Axel F teem with nostalgic throwbacks. The former brings Iceman (Val Kilmer) back for a bittersweet coda, and we see images of the late Goose (Anthony Edwards) to spark our tear ducts.

Axel F features the boyish Billy (now a 60-something Judge Reinhold), Taggart (John Ashton) and, of course, Serge (Bronson Pinchot).

Kayla Oaddams/WireImage

We even see glimpses of the previous Cop movies via a case files montage.

The films also boldly replays the greatest hits from the 80s, witness Danger Zone, Neutron Dance and, of course, The Heat Is On. Great pop songs never go out of style.

Murphy and Cruise didnt want to embarrass themselves with these belated sequels. Both are hands-on talent at this point, serving as producers on their requisite films. They likely realized playing to the increasingly small woke audience would not only diminish the films in question but, perhaps, their legacies.

Murphy, in particular, may have realized why making Coming 2 America woke did him and the film few favors.

You dont stay relevant in Hollywood for four decades without connecting with the American public. These stars instinctively knew we wanted to spend more time with Maverick and Axel again, but not in a way that diminished our memories.

We feel the need for nostalgia, and Maverick and Axel F deliver.

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Christian Toto is an award-winning journalist, movie critic and editor ofHollywoodInToto.com. He previously served as associate editor with Breitbart News Big Hollywood. Follow him at@HollywoodInToto.

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.