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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 2.0
Japanese Dolby 2.0
German Dolby 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 97 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 7/6/2021

• “Filmmaker Focus” Featurette
• Isolated Score
• 1966 Space Kid Animated Short
• 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. (Paramount Presents Edition) [Blu-Ray] (1982)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 1, 2021)

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 B/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

48 Hrs. appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a fairly attractive presentation.

The movie usually displayed good definition, as the majority of the flick offered acceptable to positive delineation. However, I got the impression a bit of noise reduction came into play here.

While the image showed some grain, it seemed lighter than I’d anticipate for a 1982 movie shot in the conditions found here. This apparent noise reduction made the image a bit “shiny” and less natural than I’d expect, though I didn’t think this technique badly damaged the presentation.

At least this transfer came without jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. I saw no print flaws either.

With a palette that leaned a little blue, colors felt well-rendered within the movie’s stylistic choices. While the tones never leapt off the screen, they seemed accurate for the movie’s aims.

Blacks appeared deep and tight, while shadows showed positive clarity – at least given the nature of the photography. The apparent use of noise reduction made the image less satisfying than I’d like, but the movie usually looked pretty appealing.

I felt fairly pleased with the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of 48, as the soundfield offered a reasonable affair. Music showed nice stereo imaging, and the movie featured a nice 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 dazzled, but given the movie’s age, it seemed more than satisfactory.

Audio quality held up pretty nicely as well, with speech that usually appeared natural and concise. A little edginess materialized at times, but the lines generally seemed positive.

Music offered the strongest aspect of the mix, as the score felt lively and bold. Effects could occasionally show some distortion, but they mostly came across as acceptably accurate and dynamic. Though never a great track, this became a better than average mix for its vintage.

How did the 2021 “Paramount Presents” Blu-ray compare to the original BD from 2011? Though I expected both to offer the same TrueHD soundtrack, I thought the 2021 BD’s audio sounded a bit less distorted and more dynamic. This wasn’t a night and day situation, but I felt happier with the 2021’s track.

As for the visuals, the 2021 disc was cleaner and better defined, though both seemed to come with the aforementioned noise reduction. Even if the 2021 release didn’t work as well as I’d like, it still became a clear upgrade over the 2011 release.

Like the 2011 BD, we get the movie’s trailer. Some new extras appear here, though.

A staple of “Paramount Presents” releases, Filmmaker Focus offers a 19-minute, eight-second chat with director Walter Hill.

Hill talks about the movie’s path to the screen, cast and performances, photography, stunts/action, music, and scene specifics. Hill offers plenty of good insights in this tight, informative piece.

Alongside the film, we can hear James Horner’s isolated score. Presented Dolby 2.0, it’s a mild disappointment that the music offers only lossy reproduction, but it still becomes a nice addition.

Finally, we find Space Kid, a 1966 animated short that lasts five minutes, 31 seconds. In it, an alien child babysits an infant and uses his ray gun to keep the situation calm.

Why does Kid appear here? Because it’s the cartoon Ganz watches after his session with the prostitute. That seems like a fairly tangential connection, but the short provides some entertainment in its own weird way.

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 mostly good picture and audio as well as a decent mix of bonus materials. Though it feels dated at times, the movie mostly works, and this 2021 Blu-ray becomes the best representation of it to date.

To rate this film visit the prior review of 48 HRS.

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