48 Hrs. (1982) / Action-Comedy
MPAA Rated: R for strong violence, nudity, sexual references, and pervasive language
Running Time: 96 min.
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Nick Nolte, Annette O'Toole, Frank McRae, James Remar
Director: Walter Hill
Screenplay: Roger Spottiswoode, Walter Hill, Larry Gross, Steven E. de Souza
Review published June 9, 1997
In Walter Hill's 48 Hrs., two escaped convicts end up killing a couple of officers, and fellow officer Jack Cates (Nick Nolte, Cape Fear) must track them down. He enlists the help of another convict Reggie Hammond (Murphy, Trading Places), who used to work with the escapees some time back and knows their hangouts, but Hammond proves to be hard to handle himself. The escapees are searching for some of the money they had stashed away before they headed to prison, and Hammond knows more about it than he's letting on. Cates and Hammond try to put a stop to the murderous convicts while trying hard to not kill each other in the process.
48 Hrs. is a well-done buddy/cop film with outstanding performances by the two leads. It's gutsy, smart and very funny, with a good dose of action and drama to boot. It's also Murphy's first major role, and one can see from his appealing performance why he became the superstar that he did.
Murphy seems to excel when he performs in roles not written with him in mind, such as this one, and ironically his career went downhill as the scripts revolved around his appealing personality. 48 Hrs. spawned a series of black/white cop-buddy films throughout the 80s, including a sequel, and not until Lethal Weapon had a film done the formula better than this.
©1997 Vince Leo