A list of Edgar Wright's favorite 1000 Movies per his list on Mubi on July 27th, 2016.
One Cop. One Con. No Mercy.
A hard-nosed cop reluctantly teams up with a wise-cracking criminal temporarily paroled to him, in order to track down a killer.
Director Walter Hill is primarily know for three things: 1) action 2) an active camera and 3) testosterone. No film of his plays up all three and balances them quite like 48hrs. Add to that the comic powerhouse that is Eddie Murphy's film debut with an equal foil that is Nick Nolte's lone wolf cop and you get a high-octane and energetic neo-buddy-cop film that delivers from the amazing Hill-centric cast to James Horner's fantastic score.
The Roger Spottiswoode/Walter Hill story of a cop that has 48 hours to use a convict to solve a prison escape hits the ground running.
Hill's film starts it's action thrust from minute one. Scenes are kinetic, the narrative moves and we get just…
Walter Hill's filmography reads like a cult-canon of underrated classics. From The Driver to Southern Comfort, The Warriors to Streets Of Fire, he gave us compelling, profanity littered films with style and attitude. For some though 48 HRS slips below the radar among those minor cult films from the now 72 year old director, but it still has all his trademark visuals and frenetic action-heavy aesthetics.
It's hard to believe that this was Eddie Murphy's first film role. He came across as so confident in his ability, his star potential was obvious. Here he plays a convict who is released from prison for 48 hours in order to help gruff cop Nick Nolte capture an escaped con who killed two…
What the hell happened to Eddie Murphy?
Back in the '80s, his career exploded, and he rode a steady upward trajectory, such that it seemed there was no end in sight for this rising star. Although there were a couple of missteps along the way (I'm looking at you, Golden Child and Best Defense), his filmography consisted of an almost-unbroken string of hits. Beginning with this film, 48 Hrs., he gave the world wonderful performances in Trading Places, Coming to America, Beverly Hills Cop, and some not-terrible sequels. Let's just pretend Harlem Nights never happened. His hits all had something in common. They were intelligent comedies with a heart, and were genuinely entertaining. Then, except for a couple of decent…
There are three great scenes in this film: when Eddie Murphy struts and abuses his temporary power to fuck with a bar full of racists, when Murphy and Nolte duel a bus in a cadillac, and the tense final chase/shootout that, despite all the bullshit you have to wade through to get there, is beautiful in neon and fog. And there are some okay moments in between, but all of that is drowned out in racism (at least it's accurate! all the cops are pieces of shit!), sexism (women are literally cast aside repeatedly), and homophobia (in a few small jokes mostly at Eddie Murphy's expense). An incredible disappointment from Walter Hill, who usually cuts the chaff out and leaves only indescribable action. Nice to see not one but two Twin Peaks actors getting screen time here, though.
It is hard to know what to make of Walter Hill's "48 Hrs." Its reputation as an odd-couple, buddy comedy not withstanding, the film is a gritty, sometimes ugly cop drama/action outing. Eddie Murphy is on hand to temper the grit, adding a lighter tone than the film would have without him, but there is no whimsy or easy entertainment here.
"48 Hrs." follows Nick Nolte's hard-edge detective as he hunts a cop killer. Using Murphy's two-day parolee to help track the killer, the two men form an uneasy alliance. The plot throws in shoot-outs, stand-offs, and other stock beats common to this type of film. It is a solid premise and story, resulting in a watchable, mostly engaging film.…
Watching 48 Hrs. Conversation went something like this..
It's him from Predator!
It's him from Commando!
It's him from Batteries Not Included!
It's him from Blade Runner!
It's him from Gremlins!
Eddie Murphy's face is high art. Nick Nolte's face is hard art. Whether it wants to be or not, Nick Nolte's face when expressing or atoning for racism is "important" art. The plot isn't any less of a damp squib than, say, In the Heat of the Night's, and that's fine. At least James Remar is a freak.
#218. This was a fun 80s buddy cop movie. I didn't find it as funny as it might have been when it came out, but I really enjoyed Nick Nolte's character.
It's a decent enough buddy cop movie on its own, albeit with a paper thin plot. However, in addition to being inherently racist and sexist, I felt that everything this movie did right, other movies did better.
A decent buddy cop type film from the 80's but there are better ones to watch.
Outstanding action/comedy and also Eddie Murphy's film debut. Delightfully un-PC with snappy dialogue and brutal gun fights. Add it to the list of classics already directed by Walter Hill. 4.5/5 Highly recommended
Nick Nolte is an abrasive racist. Eddie Murphy is a smooth talking convict with information. James Remar is a villainous cop killer on the run with his partner in crime Billy Bear. I was surprised as hell to see Sonny Landham playing another knife wielding native named Billy.
48hrs isn't altogether terrible, it just doesn't do much to set itself apart from better buddy cop films. It is debatable if the word buddy is even applicable here. Eddie Murphy is easily the best part of this film. Nolte plays such an unreasonable dick and all around terrible detective. The two of them barely even get to a point where they can speak to each other like human beings let alone work together by the end.
"Time Out" perfectly describe Nolte's character as shambling (he has a car to match) - his is also the perfect opposite to Murphy's character to create the sparks that drive the film. Again Frisco's streets provide the perfect setting.
I liked it better this time. I guess subconsciously I keep expecting it to be a Shane Black movie, but it's totally fine that it's not.
Walter Hill's deadpan cornball macho schtick can be hard to swallow when it takes itself this seriously (e.g. Extreme Prejudice, The Long Riders, etc), but Murphy makes it just funny enough to transcend pure hockum. And Nolte almost gets away with his John Wayne climbing out of a whiskey bottle thing, or whatever broken hero posturing he's doing here. Don't expect any strong or useful women in this movie, though. This is bare knuckle bromance through and through.
Hill was no Peckinpah, as much as perhaps he wanted to be, but maybe that's okay too.
Testosterone and machismo seeps out of this early eighties breakout hit. It's fine but can't help but feel dated and uncomfortable. Highlight being how it features Eddie Murphy in his breakout role. Very easy to see how he burst on to the scene with this since he injects the movie with some much needed life once he enters the picture.
Edgar Wright's 1000 Favorite Movies via MUBI.