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  Taking of Beverly Hills, The Beat The Rich
Year: 1991
Director: Sidney J. Furie
Stars: Ken Wahl, Matt Frewer, Harley Jane Kozak, Robert Davi, Lee Ving, Branscombe Richmond, Lyman Ward, Michael Bowen, William Prince, Michael G. Kehoe, Mark Haining, Jason Blicker, Tony Ganios, Ken Swofford, Raymond Singer, Michael Alldredge
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: This is Beverly Hills, a place in Los Angeles where the rich live and the banks are routinely filled with millions of dollars. They like their wealth there, and the cops, of which Ed Kelvin (Matt Frewer) is one, are starting to resent the citizens who take them for granted and flaunt their success, so when a banquet designed the help the homeless is held one summer night, billionaire Robert Masterson (Robert Davi) has a plan to help the most aggrieved cops get even - and make himself even more money in the process. Attending the charity occasion is football star Boomer Hayes (Ken Wahl), he thought this was going to be just another night where he turns up, then leaves with a woman...

But oh no, it's not going to be like that at all, well, it is sort of as he does go home with Harley Jane Kozak, playing heiress Laura Sage, but as he's been in somewhat of a rough old time on the field, he's having second thoughts about going to bed with her - then third thoughts when she expresses an interest. This was unusually thoughtful for the action genre when the woman tended to submit to the hero's advances, and Boomer even reassures Laura she is under no pressure to sleep with him, but rest assured, if it was slam-bang sequences you wanted, The Taking of Beverly Hills supplied them in spades, just not any sex scenes or even anything particularly romantic after the introduction.

The real relationship to watch was the one between Boomer and Ed, who start a bromance as a matter of convenience when Masterson's schemes come into effect and he manages to stage a siege of the entire district. At the time, this was lumped in with all the Die Hard rip-offs, which was not a million miles away, but it was also akin to the eighties buddy movie when there was so much attention paid to Wahl and Frewer hightailing it through the streets and avenues with seemingly most of the now-corrupt police force after them, the non-corrupt ones having been locked up when they were tricked that a chemical leak had occurred. No such thing has taken place, but it's one of those plans.

You know the kind, foolproof until the maverick hero(es) throw a spanner in the works to ensure the baddies don't get it all their own way. As it was, behind the scenes the baddies were the money men, since parent company Orion had this complete shooting in 1989, proceeded to tinker with it and fire director Sidney J. Furie from final cut, then see the studio collapse and have other hands pick off its projects for release in the early nineties. This did mean, two years after it was supposed to have been finished and out into the world, the soundtrack could be filled with the hits of 1991, yet that also scuppered its chances on home video since the rights to those tunes, including Janet Jackson's Black Cat, Faith No More's Epic and EMF's then-ubiquitous Unbelievable, were prohibitively expensive.

This made it to Blu-ray eventually, some time after its heyday, such as it was, and proved to be a fairly silly but nevertheless amusing trifle which apparently believed the greatest element available to films was as many 'splosions as humanly possible. Not two minutes went by without something going up in flames, after the initial set-up, as the stunt team threw themselves into the action with almost unseemly gusto. This wasn't made in Beverly Hills at all, aside from a few establishing shots, but a Mexico City stadium where Styrofoam recreations of the location were built to drive cars and in one occasion, a tank into. It wasn't quite a by the numbers action fest either, as there were quirks to mark it out, be that goofy dialogue, the use of a Rolls Royce as a getaway vehicle that is gleefully trashed, or Davi's Achilles Heel being his asthma. Fair enough, it was not as distinctive as all that, but there was some personality to The Taking of Beverly Hills. Music (the non-hits) by Jan Hammer.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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