48 Hrs., the Walter Hill film starring Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy, became the 19th title to join the Paramount Presents line on Blu-ray.
This film kickstarted the buddy cop genre and cinema would never be the same. Even though a 1974 film predates it, history looks to the 1982 comedy as the first. But it’s fair to say that without 48 Hrs., there is no Beverly Hills Cop, Bad Boys, Rush Hour, and even though it stars an antisemitic bigot, Lethal Weapon. But genre history aside, the film launched Eddie Murphy’s film career. If Walter Hill hadn’t been dating a talent agent at the time, Eddie Murphy might not have been cast in the film. Behind the scenes, Paramount wasn’t a fan of the Eddie Murphy when they saw his work in the dailies. They wanted to fire him. However, Hill and Nolte fought to keep Murphy in the film. The rest is history and 48 Hrs. became one of the top grossing films of 1982.
Inspector Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) and convict Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy) are certainly an odd couple. Hammond is out of jail just so they can catch a pair of cop killers, Albert Ganz (James Remar) and Billy Bear (Sonny Landham). Ganz just happens to be Hammond’s old partner-in-crime. He’s on a San Francisco killing spree while chasing after some $500,000. Hammond just happens to know where it is and so he gets a 48-hour release from prison to join Cates. They make do with laughs and punches along the way.
In another universe, Clint Eastwood and Richard Pryor could have starred in the film. This was after the film moved over from Columbia to Paramount. It’s funny to look at casting all these years later. It wouldn’t be the same film with Eastwood in one of the two roles. This was when the film was struggling to get off the ground in the 1970s. When it was later dated for December 1982, it wasn’t just counter-programming to the melodramas opening that weekend. It was the SECOND Paramount film to open on that date next to Airplane II.
Cates directs a lot of racist remarks towards Reggie. He later apologizes when they’re at the bar but this doesn’t make it any less okay. Studio executives might have considered it as being okay for films in the 1980s. However, the language is not okay now. Honestly, it wasn’t even okay back then if you ask me. Language aside, the hotel murders are a bit dark for a comedy movie. You’re more than welcome to judge for yourself.
For a film coming up on its 40th anniversary and highly influential to the buddy cop genre, the Blu-ray is light on bonus features. We have the usual Filmmaker Focus and that’s it. Well, that and an animated short from 1966. There’s no cast interviews or even a director’s commentary playing alongside the feature. Maybe Paramount is saving this for a 4K release? However, the film is restored from a new 4K film transfer so holding off an additional features makes no sense. Oh, well.
The racism doesn’t hold up but 48 Hrs. would change cinema with the big screen arrival of Eddie Murphy.
- Filmmaker Focus: Director Walter Hill on 48 Hrs.
- Theatrical Trailer
- Space Kid (Original 1966 Animated Short)
DIRECTOR: Walter Hill
SCREENWRITERS: Roger Spottiswoode and Walter Hill & Larry Gross and Steven E. de Souza
CAST: Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, Annette O’Toole, Frank McRae, James Remar