http://chud.com/nextraimages/axelfoley1.jpegEven though it’s probably a damning commentary on the psyche of America that audiences (or, at least, filmmakers) seem so eager to revisit the blockbusters of their youth with late-in-the-day sequels like Rocky Balboa, John Rambo and Indiana Jones 4, I still get a little giddy when I hear talk of a Beverly Hills Cop 4. While the nostalgia reflex is definitely being induced here, my excitement largely derives from a desire to see a return to cocky and profane form from Eddie Murphy. And the only likely way we’re going to get the old Eddie back is if someone gives him a cushy franchise landing.

Look, I know this is a long shot. The last Beverly Hills Cop movie came out in 1994, and it was an unmitigated disaster – as devoid of charm as the second installment, yet minus that film’s entertainingly wretched excess (thanks Tony Scott!). And even if producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura wrangles a greenlight from Paramount, there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to attract above-average talent to write and direct it.

The first order of business, however, is securing studio approval for an R-rating. And that seems to be a sticking point right now. Here’s what di Bonaventura had to say at today’s Transformers junket:

Q: Beverly Hills Cop 4. We’re revisiting Rocky, Indiana Jones, James Bond and now Beverly Hills Cop?

Di Bonaventura: Axel Foley is a great character. When you travel with Eddie, people constantly come up to him and go, "When are you going to do Axel?" Like with Indiana Jones, there’s a reason why these things come up, and it’s because people love them so much. They’re the ones who are usually informing us why we should do it.

Q: But now that Eddie’s such a family comedian, would he be able to do R-rated Axel Foley?

Di Bonaventura: I think it’s going to be a really interesting debate, and it’s one we’re going to have for a while.

When a few of us told him there’s no sense in making a PG-13 Beverly Hills Cop IV, di Bonaventura responded, "Would you please call Paramount and tell them that?" If you choose to give ‘em a ring, also be sure to tell them Brian Robbins is a sleeper agent for al Qaeda.

Other than that, there isn’t much to report from the junket, but the following may be of interest…

J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek: Writer Roberto Orci was extremely tightlipped on this. I asked Orci if Abrams might at least retain the Jerry Goldsmith theme for the sake of continuity. He said he wasn’t sure.  He didn’t dismiss the idea outright, though.

Indy 4: Yeah, right. Shia LaBeouf has learned his lesson, and kept very quiet on any developments no matter how miniscule. He did mention that he’s got something cooking with Spielberg after Indy 4, but it’s not a role a Lincoln or Interstellar. I also thanked him for naming CHUD as his third favorite website. He was cordial, but seemed incredibly burnt out on press junkets (can’t blame him; he’s been at it for most of 2007).

Prince of Persia: Michael Bay would neither confirm nor deny his involvement (which was smart since Brad Grey was apparently lurking about). I do know that Boaz Yakin recently finished a draft for Jerry Bruckenheimer.

Jon Voight: He’s a staunch defender of Donald Rumsfeld.