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Walter Hill
Eddie Murphy, Nick Nolte, James Remar
Writing Credits:
Roger Spottiswoode, Walter Hill, Larry Gross, Steven E. de Souza

A hard-nosed cop reluctantly teams up with a wise-cracking criminal temporarily paroled to him, in order to track down a killer.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend:
$4,369,868 on 850 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby 1.0
Spanish Dolby 1.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 97 min.
Price: $9.98
Release Date: 2/22/2011

• Trailer


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


48 Hrs. [Blu-Ray] (1982)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 10, 2019)

In the fall of 1980 at the tender age of 19, Eddie Murphy joined Saturday Night Live and rapidly ascended to the spotlight. Within short order, he became the show’s most popular performer, and this led to offers from Hollywood.

Rather than opt for a pure laughfest, Murphy got a co-lead role in a comedy/action hybrid: 1982’s 48 Hrs. The film became a hit and the rest is movie history.

A criminal named Billy Bear (Sonny Landham) helps his convict partner Albert Ganz (James Remar) escape from police custody. They end up in a San Francisco hotel under assumed names.

When the cops investigate, Ganz and Bear retaliate violently and kill two of the three officers. Survivor Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) swears revenge and pursues Bear and Ganz.

To assist, Cates recruits prison inmate Reggie Hammond (Murphy), one of Bear and Ganz’s old associates. However, Hammond states that he’ll only cooperate if Cates takes him on the streets with him.

Grudgingly, Cates agrees. The two work to find their targets, a task made complicated by the ample disdain Cates and Hammond show for each other.

As noted, 48 marked Murphy’s cinematic debut, and he didn’t get the top credit, as Nolte occupied that slot. Murphy remained second-billed to a more established performer in his second flick, 1983’s hit Trading Places.

Technically, this stayed the case for Murphy’s third film, 1984’s Best Defense, but I put an asterisk next to that one. As originally shot, Murphy’s character didn’t exist in the Dudley Moore feature, but when the flick tested poorly, they wrote a new role and paid Murphy a boatload of money to capitalize on his popularity.

It didn’t work, as Defense still pretty much flopped. In any case, Murphy leapt to the main lead with 1984’s Beverly Hills Cop and never looked back.

Given how many clunkers Murphy made across his career, I occasionally find it tough to recall what a burst of energy he presented in the early 80s. Murphy remains arguably the most dynamic and charismatic SNL alum of them all, even if he squandered a lot of that talent over the years.

48 reminds us why we came to love Murphy all those years ago. While it doesn’t become his best performance, it still shows his talents well.

The film takes a good 25 minutes to get to Hammond, an awfully long span for a 97-minute movie. 48 works reasonably well during that expository segment, but it never feels like anything more than a standard cop drama.

Once Murphy enters, though, matters kick into higher gear – well, to a reasonable degree, at least. Despite efforts to sell the movie as a wild romp, it remains a cop drama, albeit one with more humor than usual.

This appeared to confuse some audiences back in 1982. I saw the film theatrically, and I know many people expected laughs, laughs, laughs.

During my screening, one weird patron chortled at virtually everything, no matter how inappropriate. When a cop got shot in the head, he roared with laughter – that remains one of the weirdest movie-going experiences of my life.

Once Murphy emerges, we do get a good number of laughs, but the cop material stays the focal point, and Murphy more than holds his own in these moments. While we expect Murphy to prosper in the comedic scenes, he also manages to keep up with Nolte in the more serious bits.

No, I won’t call Murphy the Second Coming of Olivier. Given that he came from a sketch comedy/stand-up background and never did dramatic acting, though, his strength in these cop scenes seems nearly miraculous.

Murphy and Nolte display fine chemistry, though the film’s portrait of Cates as a racist doesn’t play too well. Sure, he attempts to atone for his nasty comments, but he threatens to lose the audience, as his name-calling goes too far.

I admit that’s a 2019 perspective aimed at a 1982 film, though. Not that most of us felt comfortable back then with the racial taunts Cates uses, but they stand out more negatively now.

I guess we can accept that Cates throws epithets at Hammond more to get under his skin than as actual racism – maybe. In any case, Nolte does fine in the part, and as mentioned, he meshes well with Murphy to create a memorable on-screen duo, one that largely set the template for all the “buddy cop” movies to come.

Seminal as it may be, I won’t call 48 Hrs. a great film, as it seems more invested in its character adventures than a real plot. Still, its stars – especially Murphy – carry it and make it an entertaining ride.

Trivia: note than Jonathan Banks plays one of the cops killed in the movie’s opening act. He’d reunite with Murphy two years later, as he played the villain’s slimy second-in-command in Beverly Hills Cop.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B-/ Bonus D-

48 Hrs. appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was an average presentation.

Sharpness remained erratic. Actually, the movie usually displayed good definition, as the majority of the flick offered acceptable delineation.

However, many shots came across as less concise than I’d like, and I thought that too many scenes were a little soft. At least this transfer came without jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement appeared minor.

Print flaws became an occasional intrusion. Though much of the image looked clean, I saw occasional specks and marks, and the movie wobbled at times. This wasn’t a dirty transfer but it could’ve been cleaner.

Grain varied, and it varied inconsistently. I suspected some digital noise reduction during interiors, as those felt a bit smoothed out, though not to an extreme.

With a palette that leaned a little blue, colors were erratic as well. At their best, the tones appeared reasonably lively, and the various settings offered a broad set of hues. However, at times the colors could be somewhat lifeless, so they lacked consistency.

Blacks were a little too dark, and shadows tended to appear somewhat dense as well. Though not a bad image, the transfer could use some work.

Ups and downs also came from the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of 48, though for the most part, the soundfield offered a reasonable affair. Music showed nice stereo imaging, and the movie featured a decent sense of ambience.

A few action sequences added some involvement, as gunfire and cars moved around the room. Some useful split-surround material popped up at times, though the front channels boasted most of the information. The soundfield never impressed, but given the movie’s age, it seemed satisfactory.

Audio quality varied from good to iffy. Speech could sound a bit edgy and rough, but most of the dialogue seemed reasonably natural.

Music showed good clarity and range. Effects leaned a little distorted during louder scenes – mainly gunfire – but were acceptably accurate overall. This felt like a “B-“ mix based on the movie’s age.

In terms of extras, we get the film’s trailer and nothing more.

Arguably the first of the big 1980s “buddy cop” flicks, 48 Hrs. can show its age and sputter on occasion. Nonetheless, the talents of its leads make it an enjoyable action comedy. The Blu-ray comes with erratic picture and audio and it lacks supplements. While I still like the movie, the Blu-ray seems mediocre.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.9 Stars Number of Votes: 10
2 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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