1982 - R - 96 Mins.
|Director: Walter Hill
|Producer: Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver
|Written By: Walter Hill
|Starring: Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, Annette O'Toole, Frank McRae, James Remar
|Review by: John Ulmer
Two mismatched cops team up to bring down a bad guy. One's black, the other's white, and their cultural differences create comically awkward situations during their quest. Heard this one before? Of course you have. It's been done in just about any cop-buddy or buddy-buddy film ever made, ranging from "Running Scared" to "Lethal Weapon" and certain aspects even appear in "Bringing Down the House."
"48 HRS." was one of the first, the big-screen debut of "Saturday Night Live" comic artist Eddie Murphy. This was a film made before Murphy started appearing in embarrassingly unfunny kiddie movies, before Nick Nolte went into rehab, and before the routine was becoming recycled. Heck, it was just getting started.
In my opinion Murphy is one of the funniest men to ever grace the screen , when he's trying, but lately he just hasn't been. "Daddy Day Care" and "The Haunted Mansion" are both prime examples of a once-funny man becoming quite the opposite. The sad thing is, he's making a sequel to the former of the two, and most likely we'll be seeing a "Haunted Mansion 2" sometime in the future as well.
During the '80s Murphy was infamous for his wild and "raw" antics on-screen and during stand-up routines -- he had a foul mouth, and his constantly crude behavior was something Americans had never really seen before, at least not quite so publicly. In "48 HRS." we witness a very young Murphy, constantly swearing, causing trouble for his co-partner. He's a convict released from jail for 48 hours to track down a criminal, but the plot does matter as much as the situations that result because of it.
Detective Jack Cates (Nolte) is a cop on the trail of a murderer who killed some of his fellow partners in San Francisco.
Unable to come up with any answers, Cates gambles everything on the ability of jailed gang member Reggie Hammond (Murphy) to help him track down the killer. As soon as Cates sees Hammond, he knows he's in for trouble.
Reggie reluctantly agrees to cooperate and points out the killer, Ganz (James Remar), a former gang member. In addition to being the source of information, Reggie wants to join Cates' hunt for Ganz. Cates managers for a 48-hour parole pass for Reggie.
Ah, the fun begins. The film has not stood the test of time, although it has its fair share of humorous moments. Unfortunately the heavy '80s soundtrack becomes grating after a while. I enjoy '80s films very much but "48 HRS." is often too dated within '80s pop culture to have any relevance today. It doesn't hold up as well as the far superior "Lethal Weapon."
However, fans of '80s flicks, Eddie Murphy (who upstages Nolte), or the cop-buddy genre itself, will find a fair amount of interest in this amiable picture.