Oddball cop and tough guy, Jack Cates is the only survivor of a cop shooting and in hunting down the murderer collects Reggie Hammond from jail for 48 hours. Hammond is oddly motivated to help. The killer is searching for his stash of cash. Cates and Hammond who have the Black-white, cop-crook thing to work out make surprisingly good partners as they navigate through the city looking for their suspect.Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The boys are back in town. Nick Nolte is a cop. Eddie Murphy is a convict. They couldn't have liked each other less. They couldn't have needed each other more. And the last place they ever expected to be is on the same side. Even for... 48 HRS See more »
Paramount Pictures studio executives were concerned during shooting that the picture would be too violent to also function as an effective comedy. The hotel-lobby shoot-out was the execs' major grave concern. See more »
While trying to get Reggie's attention in his cell, he yells into his walkman causing feedback. That's not something that can be done with a walkman. See more »
[in fake southern accent]
I want y'all to know somethin'... there's a new sheriff in town...
[Reggie removes his cowboy hat and tosses it to the bartender, then speaks in his natural black dialect:]
... and his name is Reggie Hammond! Y'all be cool! Right on!
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The original UK version of 48 HRS. was released with a '15' rating on CIC video in the mid-1980s, but had every swear word edited out of it (what was basically the TV version). The film was re-released on CIC video in the early 1990s in an 'uncut' version with all language left in, rated '18'. Strangely, both versions on CIC video altered Reggie's singing in the prison cell. Whereas in the original version of the film he was singing "Roxanne" by the Police, on the video he is singing a different song, probably because of copyright/licensing reasons - it has even been removed from the end credits. In order to remove the song it was dubbed in by an Eddie Murphy soundalike, but the other dialogue in the scene (when you can hear Reggie's singing in the background) had to be dubbed over as well. This has ended up with Jack's dialogue being spoken by someone other than Nick Nolte. The replacement actor's voice is very high-pitched, which is unintentionally rather amusing. See more »
Walter Hill's dark cop drama doubles as Eddie Murphy's propulsive film debut
Only a privileged few who remember "48 Hrs." acknowledge it as the primary influence of the buddy-cop films of the 80's ("Lethal Weapon", "Miami Vice"). Nick Nolte plays Jack Cates, a rusty, cranky, tough-guy cop working the homicide department in San Francisco. When a violent chain-gang escape reunites two hardened criminals (the greasy-looking Ganz and a towering Indian named Billy Bear) who subsequently murder two police officers and a prison guard, Cates is assigned to babysit paroled convict Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy), an old member of Ganz's gang. Reggie has been released for one weekend (hence the title) to aid Jack in capturing these two cop-killers. Unbeknownst to Cates, Ganz & Billy Bear are not simply out on a killing spree but rather in search of a very important briefcase that belongs to Reggie.
I can't think of another film debut as explosive as Eddie Murphy in "48 Hrs.", even though Murphy's work on "Saturday Night Live" already tossed him into the public's consciousness. It's also worth noting that because director Walter Hill is known for casting interracial leads in his non-western films ("Brewster's Millions", "Crossroads", "Supernova"), never before had we seen a black man act like this in a movie; assured, aggressive and confident to the point of being cocky. It would be easy to dismiss Murphy's character as a black stereotype; well-dressed, horny, smooth-talking, bantering, but Murphy pulls his character away from stereotype cobwebs with unfiltered charisma and instinct. Think of it, most people who now wail away the chorus to "Roxanne" are invoking Murphy instead of Sting (and what a hilarious introduction that is). Also, there is the unforgettable sequence where Reggie takes over a redneck bar, posing as a cop! It's the most magnetic scene in the film, and Murphy delivers ("You know what I am? I'm your worst f***in' nightmare! That's right I'm a nigger with a badge and I got permission to kick your f***in' ass whenever I feel like it.")
Obviously, this film wasn't written as a comedy. Nolte spends much of his time hurling every kind of racial epithet imaginable at Murphy when he's not chain-smoking or guzzling from a flask. Murphy injects his humor into the story without disrupting the movie's violently grim tone, and Murphy & Nolte are excellent at creating an oil-and-water duo that keeps them at odds for most of the film. There are no stylistic explosions, but there are some tense gunfights including a chase scene in a train station and a shootout that employs a convertible and a public bus. Composer James Horner, who would come to prominence in the 90's as one of the more reverent film composers, creates an unusual, percussion-driven score heavy with Caribbean flavor. It's works well, adding an element of heat while Jack & Reggie cruise San Francisco with the top down. The film has thankfully dated pretty well, and sometimes even holds the faint resemblance of a 1970's cop film (I'm sure interracial blaxploitation movies like "Across 110th Street" served their influence). Of all of Walter Hill's work, "Crossroads" remains closest to my heart, but this is certainly his most mature effort. Expect to laugh, but expect to be shaken too.
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