Axel Foley will be returning to movie screens after Paramount Studios approved plans for a fourth Beverly Hills Cop movie.

Eddie Murphy is to reprise his role as the Detroit-born detective while Rush Hour director Brett Ratner is in talks to direct the new addition to the franchise, according to Variety.

The trade newspaper reports that Murphy pitched the idea of reviving the character to Paramount who were keen to work with the one-time stand-up star again, having recently completed family comedy Nowhereland with Murphy.

It is thought that a number of directors were approaching about producing the sequel, with Ratner - currently working on Hugh Hefner biopic Playboy - the recipient of a firm offer to helm the movie.

The original Beverly Hills Cop, released in 1984, was a huge box office success, grossing $316 million (£160 million) worldwide and propelling Murphy to global stardom, while the 1987 sequel received an Oscar nomination for best song and grossed an estimated $300 million (£152 million) across the world.

However, the 1994 third instalment was critically panned for being overly family-friendly and performed poorly at the box office with only $119 million (£60 million) in global receipts.

While Jerry Bruckheimer and the late Don Simpson produced the first two Beverly Hills Cop films, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura is to commence work on the film after completing production on GI Joe and Transformers 2.

It is thought the as-yet-untitled fourth Axel Foley film will begin production in 2009 in line for a summer 2010 release.

29/05/2008 09:17:14