Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy. As unlikely a comedy team as you will ever see, hard-nosed San Francisco cop Jack Cates springs convicted robber Reggie Hammond out of prison for two days to help him catch his former partners in 48 Hrs. (1982/97 min.). Now accepting that Hammond's streetwise methods work better than strict police procedure, Cates team up with Hammond again in the hilarious sequel Another 48 Hrs. (1990/93 min.). Color/R/widescreen.
Before the action-oriented "buddy movie" formula settled into place in the 1980s and 1990s with the Lethal Weapon
films, Walter Hill's 48 HRS. presented a much more irreverent and politically incorrect version of the genre. Eddie Murphy made an auspicious film debut alongside veteran Nick Nolte's consummate performance as a worn cop. Murphy plays a convict on a two-day furlough from prison to help capture his former partner (James Remar). The intense animosity between his character and Nolte's impatient detective is rude and violent--albeit in a comic way--and the film's racist and sexist banter is so ubiquitous that some viewers might be turned off. (This early, raw Murphy is not the Murphy of The Nutty Professor
.) Then again, sometimes deliberate overkill is funny in itself, which is certainly closer to Hill's intention. There are a couple of scenes for the ages in this film, especially Murphy's single-handed shutdown of the action in a redneck bar. --Tom Keogh
Another 48 HRS.
The boys are back in town, but they're wearing their carbon-paper suits in this frantic but not nearly as funny sequel to the action-comedy hit. The first time around, the combination of Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte had the element of surprise going for it: Who expected these two to have chemistry? This time, chemistry is virtually all they have in a veritable rehash of the first film. What plot there is has to do with Nolte's needing Murphy (who is just out of jail) to help him clear his own name and save his job on the police force. Director Walter Hill is back in place, but this time the script is the work of action hack Jeb Stuart and the movie barely gives Murphy room to unleash his comic riffs; when he does, we're expecting them (though he's still entertaining). --Marshall Fine