Blu-ray Review: 48 Hrs. | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, September 16th, 2021  

48 Hrs.

Studio: Paramount Presents

Jul 26, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

On a desperate manhunt for two fugitive cop-killers, Officer Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) borrows their former accomplice, Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy), on a 48-hour leave from prison to help him shake down some of their old associates. Forced to see eye to eye if either’s going to get what they want, the cop and the convict become unlikely allies in a dangerous chase throughout the seedy corners of Los Angeles.

One of the codifying films of the buddy cop genre, 48 Hrs. continues to thrill nearly 40 years after its release. Perhaps the biggest reasons why it holds up better than so many of the buddy cop films that came in its immediate wake are that, first and foremost, this is an action movie—every gunshot reverberates, instilling those scenes with a sense of danger and raising the stakes of their mission. Second, the humor comes naturally from the characters and the situations they’re in; there are funny lines, but it never feels like our heroes are simply reciting one-liners that writers took too much care weaving throughout their script. This is all to say that there’s a level or naturalism here—at least, as much as there can be in an ‘80s action movie—that was lost in too many of the semi-serious yuckfests that came afterward.

The gruff, unpolished Cates is the sort of role Nick Nolte is made for, but it’s Eddie Murphy’s star-making performance as the fast-talking Reggie that really makes the film. Even if he hadn’t been SNL’s most popular player at the time, it’s hard to imagine that this film—in particular, the scene where he pretends to be a cop in the redneck bar—wouldn’t have launched him to the status of box office superstar that he’d soon achieve.

Paramount Presents’ new Blu-ray edition of 48 Hrs. looks (and especially sounds) very good. The disc has a trailer and a copy of the cartoon the villains are briefly shown watching in the film, but the main attraction is a newly-recorded interview with director Walter Hill, who shares a few memories from production, including interesting details about working with Murphy, who was inexperienced as a dramatic actor when he took on the role.


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