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4.3 out of 5 stars
48 Hrs. [Blu-ray]
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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
"48 HRS." is a terrific action-comedy that gets everything right for its genre. The action is tough, but not overdone; the comedy is funny, but not over-the-top; the direction by filmmaker Walter Hill is skillful, edgy and playful; the San Francisco location shooting makes for a wonderfully dark, atmospheric and gritty backdrop; the dated-but-effective soundtrack is awesome in its own "1980s" sort of way; and the script is tight and witty, with sharp characterizations and crackling dialogue that is sometimes vulgar, yet always smart. Best of all, the two leads are at the apex of their star power, making the film a joy to watch.

Indeed, this is the film that made Eddie Murphy a superstar, and it's easy to see why. Raw, dynamic and totally charismatic, it is not hyperbole to state that Mr. Murphy's first film performance easily ranks as one of the greatest film debuts in cinematic history. Young, lean and hungry, Murphy plays a semi-tough street hustler/convict with just the right combination of streetwise smarts, slick charm and youthful defiance. While Eddie exudes a certain level of cockiness throughout the film, there are (thankfully) very few signs of the (often unbearable) egocentric smugness that would later come to define much of Mr. Murphy's later 80's film roles. On the other hand, Nick Nolte is no less great, playing a burnt-out, casually racist cop that somehow manages to retain a gruff charm even as his character alternates between being obnoxious and racially offensive. The two actors have distinctly different acting styles, yet the contrast works, as the two performers have genuinely great chemistry when performing together.

If I have one caveat with the film, it's the rampant male chauvinism (a typical characteristic trait that many of Walter Hill's films share) that permeates throughout "48 HRS.", a quality that hasn't aged particularly well over time; fortunately, it's not enough to taint one's overall enjoyment and respect of the film's achievements as a superior piece of pop culture entertainment. Thanks to the many knock-offs' this film has spawned over the years (e.g. "Midnight Run", "Lethal Weapon", "Bad Boys", "Rush Hour", etc.) aspects of "48 HRS" undoubtedly seem hackneyed by today's standards, but even so, the film manages to engage and thrill in a way that still feels fresh after all these years. A five star film (out of five).

Unfortunately, Paramount has never seen fit to release this highly influential film in a home video release worthy of its quality. The first DVD release from 1999 is in non-anamorphic widescreen, and barren of any type of special features. The second DVD release from 2007 is a decent (if minor) step-up, a budget title that paired up "48 HRS." with its inferior sequel "Another 48 HRS" on one dual-layer, single-sided disc with no extras. While this guaranteed a rather anemic bit-rate for both films, the presentation for both films is in 16x9 anamorphic widescreen and (surprisingly) both look and sound pretty good, all things considered; unfortunately, as with the 1999 release, the 2007 edition contains no special features. Finally, a third release followed shortly in 2008, an "I Love The 80's" DVD edition of "48 HRS.", which unfortunately is the exact same bare-bones non-anamorphic widescreen edition that was released in 1999. It seemed that "48 HRS." would never get its due respect on DVD, leaving fans to hope that the inevitable Blu-Ray release would finally do the film some justice.

Well, prepare to have your hopes dashed, as Paramount has released an incredibly weak Blu-Ray catalogue title. The 1080P picture quality is certainly sub-par, as the master used for this Blu-Ray release looks worn, faded and tired; in other words, the film master used for this release is crap. There is dirt and excessive film grain rampant throughout. Contrast is mediocre, with blacks alternating between looking pretty good and dark grey. Colors pop slightly better than the DVD, but generally come across as muted and flat. Sharpness wavers from scene to scene, with some scenes looking pretty good, and other scenes coming across as so soft, you'll swear you're watching a shoddy DVD. About the only thing this Blu-Ray picture has going for it is that there isn't any noticeable DNR or edge enhancement... but considering the overall disappointment of this Blu-Ray release, this is a small consolation at best. This is not the worst Blu-Ray title I've ever seen, but it is certainly one of the most disappointing, considering the caliber of this film.

The audio fares little better, with the Dolby True HD 5.1 sound coming across only slightly better than earlier DVD iterations. Bass is decent at times, but stereo separation overall sounds weak and muddled, even for a 1980's action film. Overall, about the only thing you'll notice different about this Blu-Ray soundtrack from its 5.1 Dolby Digital DVD counterpart is that its mixed louder.

To add insult to injury, there are no extras to be found outside of the included trailer.

At a ridiculous sticker price of $24.99, this throw-away catalog release is absolutely sure to disappoint both hardcore and casual fans. While the picture and sound quality is a step-up from the non-anamorphic 1999 (and 2008) DVD release, it is in fact only barely superior to the 2007 16x9 anamorphic widescreen release, and has no special features to speak of. Therefore, unless you can grab the Blu-Ray for $10.00 or less, I recommend the 2007 double-feature DVD release of "48 HRS" over the Blu-Ray release. The picture and sound quality on the 2007 edition is good for a DVD (especially when upconverted), the price is right at 9-12 dollars brand new, and it's the only home video version of "48 HRS." that comes with any special features, namely the sequel "Another 48 HRS" (as a side note, the "48 HRS." DVD double feature is still the only way to see "Another 48 HRS." in 16x9 anamorphic widescreen, as the stand-alone release is presented in non-anamorphic widescreen only).

If Paramount chose to release "48 HRS." on Blu-Ray as a double bill feature similar to the 2007 DVD release, the $24.99 sticker price would be far more tolerable; in fact, this is exactly what Warner Brothers has been doing recently with the release of some of their catalog titles (e.g. "Analyze This"/"Analyze That" and "Presumed Innocent"/"Frantic"). While those double feature releases carry no special features, the comparable $24.99 sticker price certainly feels a lot less painful. Of course, the most ideal situation would be for Paramount to wake up and (finally) show this film some respect, by giving "48 HRS." a proper home video release, remastered and full of special features... because ultimately this is what a classic film like as "48 HRS." really deserves. Chalk this up as yet another Blu-Ray disappointment.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2006
This is absolutely Eddie Murphy's best movie! Certainly better than most other stuff he's done this century, and the past decade! I saw this movie for the first time in the theater, and also have it on VHS. I have watched this movie easily 50 times. I'm sure it might be more though.

It is a true classic, highlighting the true natural talent of Eddie Murphy. He and Nick Nolte play off each other well, and Nolte isn't too bad himself in the comedy department. Though his type of humor is much more subtle. He does get his digs in, on Mr. Murphy's expense, mind you.

To the best of my knowledge, this was one of the first movies that combined excellent humor scenes with extreme violence and emotion. And while many tried to duplicate it, in later years, including other Eddie Murphy vehicles, such as Beverly Hills Cop, nothing can compare to the original!

A true classic. I will probably buy this on DVD soon, but I'm kind of holding out for an "extras loaded" special DVD, if it were to come out! Don't know that for a fact, but I'm still holding out hope!

Two very enthusiastic thumbs up!!!

MC White said: Check it out!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2010
Jack Cates is a cop who doesn't exactly play by the rules and is not a team player. He works alone. When he runs into two cops who are going to arrest someone for a misdemeanor, he joins them. When they knock on the door, they're shot at. Eventually Jack comes face to face with them and when one of them has his gun trained on the other cop, the other guy tells Jack to give up his gun which he does. He then shoots the cop and tries to shoot Jack but misses. Later part of the department thinks Jack was a coward for giving up his gun and the others think that Jack's wild ways got the cops who was with him killed. Jack learns that the guy who told him to give up his gun is an escaped convict and the other guy was the one who busted him out. Jack also learns he's been killing his former associates. Jack learns that another associate, Reggie Hammond is in prison. Jack goes to see Hammond; initially Hammond doesn't want to help until he learns of the man's escape but insists that Jack has to get him out to help with him. Jack does and Hammond takes Jack all over town hoping to find the guy but Jack suspects Hammond is holding back. The movie is exciting and tight, one of the best action movies of the eighties.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
First of all, I truly LOVE this movie! I was 27 years old when it was released and have seen it a good 30 times since then, first on VHS rentals, then repeated HBO showings , the DVD release and finally on HD Net Movies. I know it has never fared very well on ANY of those formats and I was hoping for even a modest amount of improvement with the Blu Ray. I knew going in that this was NOT a remaster of the original film elements and I knew not to set my expectations too high. The disc has no artwork printed on it and looks like a cheap rental with the title etched into the flat gray paint. The case is an el cheapo "Eco" which consists of more air than plastic.

Was it worth the upgrade? In a word, YES! Here are my reasons:

Better overall color, sharpness and depth than any other released version. This is not to say it is a nice rendering. For the most part , it is NOT. Colors are faded all over the place. Contrast levels come and go, sharpness shows in some scenes and the image goes flat in others. Sometimes grain is horrendous, other times it is a nice addition to the picture. The best scenes are any of the Chinatown shots during the film and the morning shots in front of the parking garage. The fight between Nick and Eddie looks pretty good but the interiors of the police station are hideously awful.

I can describe the video quality in one word: UNEVEN !!

This is 100% the fault of the print used to make the production master. It is the same print that was used for the DVD from years ago. The film needs to be cleaned up and rescanned at the least and totally remastered for best results. I doubt either of these things will ever happen, and that I why I chose to own 48 Hours in the best presentation currently available, warts and all.

The film would have easily been made better by presenting it in it's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 The image has been slightly enlarged to fill a 16:9 HDTV screen and some picture info on the sides has been chopped off. There is also some evidence of pan and scan even with this 16:9 release. By enlarging the image it has literally magnified flaws in the print and reduced our perceived resolution and sharpness of the image. I hate when studios adjust the image to fit a 16:9 screen. When I buy a Blu Ray I expect the films original aspect ratio. In the case of 48 Hours, doing so would have given us a good 8 to 10% perceived improvement in image quality.

Many times I found the image to be very pleasing, while other times I was cursing my television. Bottom line, this is the best it has ever looked for home video and may always look like this in my lifetime. (phooey) For those that have seen this on Pay Cable channels it is the same master but looks a BIT better in 1080p and you are not dealing with cable system compression artifacts.

The sound is another matter. I heard little bits of dialogue and sound effects that were never revealed before on either my VHS or DVD copies. The one thing that REALLY stood out, at least for me was Nick Nolte's character of Jack Cates breaks wind after getting out of bed and then excuse himself. Yes that is a weird thing to notice but in over 30 viewings I had NEVER noticed this before so this does say something for the Dolby Tru HD 5.1 soundtrack. For those of you that do not care about audible farts, the dialogue is for the most part VERY intelligible and the sound effects and music have never sounded better. Some of the surround effects seem a bit artificial, car noises, gun shots, etc, but overall this is the very best I have ever heard 48 Hours sound and that includes it's original theatrical release. The sound is much better than the video quality.

The included "extra" is the original theatrical trailer which suffers from such poor video quality that I don't even recommend viewing it. However, it DOES show you just how much better the film looks now in comparison.

As I stated earlier in my review, 48 Hours has been one of my favorite films for many years now and purchasing this Blu Ray disc was something I was gonna do, come hell or high water. People are calling this a bad transfer, and it really isn't a bad transfer. It is just transferred from a very poor print. I even wonder if the original film elements would yield better results or if they even exist in any usable condition. These are things we as fans of this film may never know.

Regardless, I love 48 Hours, the picture IS better than any other current option and the sound is much improved. On a 1 to 5 scale I give the Video Quality 3 stars and the Audio 3 and 3/4 stars.
If you love this movie, you won't regret this purchase unless you expected a remaster. If you like your DVD copy, this is better. How much better is in the eye of the beholder but I do not regret this purchase one bit although I recommended you wait for a sale with a price around 10 bucks or buy it used.

Recommended for rabid fans of the film, otherwise stick with your DVD or give it a rent!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2005
Director: Walter Hill

Cast: Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, Annette O'Toole, Frank McRae, James Remar, David Patrick Kelly, Sonny Landham, Brion James, Kerry Sherman.

Running Time: 96 minutes

Rated R for violence and language.

Walter Hill is one of those directors who seems never to make an average film, mainly because his movies are, generally-speaking, either very good or very bad. "48 Hours" is one of his "very good" offerings, giving Eddie Murphy one of cinema's most unforgettable movie debuts and invents the conventions of the buddy cop genre that were to become blueprints for years to come. The film opens with psychopathic Albert Ganz (James Remar) escaping from a chain gang. Determined to track down Ganz, tough cop Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) springs a fast-talking convict named Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy) from jail for forty-eight hours, during which time the mismatched duo must find their quarry. Cates doesn't like blacks, and Hammond doesn't like cops, so before they can even get to the business of tracking down their man they first have to come to terms with working alongside each other.

Fast-paced, energetic, foul-mouthed and funny, 48 Hours is simply a great ride. Nolte underplays brilliantly, wisely allowing Murphy to handle the loud and showy role while he etches a gruff, rugged characterisation as a cop on the warpath. The leading characters are rounded off wonderfully by James Remar, as a genuinely bad villain. If the plot to "48 Hours" sounds like a collection of all the clichés and predictabilities that ruin most films, it's important to remember that before this film nothing like it had really been done. These plot devices and conventions are only considered "cliches" nowadays because "48 Hours" was so influential, not to mention frequently-imitated, in the ensuing years. James Horner's music score is perfectly judged too. There are numerous exciting and hilarious moments, but none rival the bit where Murphy causes a stir in a redneck bar. More often than not famous movie scenes fail to live up to their lofty reputation, but in this case that simply isn't so. It really is an electrifying screen moment in a film that really is an electrifying screen experience. Paved the way for Murphy's great film career and buddy cop successes such as "Lethal Weapon" and "Rush Hour".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2001
When i look back at the films of the 1980's "48 Hours" has to
be one of the best and most memorable films of that particular
time periord. What is shown here is a slam bang mix of action
and rasict comedy when Murphy is sprung out of jail on a weekend
pass to help a tough no-nonsense cop(Played by Nick Nolte in his
good attempt at playing these type of roles) in tracking down
Murphey's ex-partner who is ine search of hidden loot from a
previous heist. The chemistry between Murphey & Nolte is realistic and times very funny. This is the film that pretty much
started the whole "buddy buddy" craze which was very popular back
in the eighties especally films like THE LETHAL WEAPON films
The standout performaces was when Murphy masquarades as cop
in a local redneck bar. Very funny film and is indeed one of
Eddie Murphy's best.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2011
Bad, crappy, horrible picture quality!!! 48hours is the best action comedy of all time! Why doesn't the director, producers , studio, or someone involved with it feel the same way I don't know. Someone needs to fix the picture quality. Don't buy this Blu Ray version unless you have to have it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2013
What a great comedy team with Nolte and Murphy.
My cover for this is a little different than the 1 shown,i have the b&w background city with red and white lettering region 1.
Man what a couple of bad muthers Ganz and Billy Bear were,oh and can't forget Luther too.
The version that i have has great sound to it,sounds awesome.
With my dvd i also got the trailer for this and i rate this movie excellent+
My dvd has a silent menu to it and clocks in at 96m.
Check out Another 48HRS,also a fast-moving movie,this time with Ganz brother.
This is one of my favorite movies,so i recommend this.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
48 HRS, a nifty actioner from director Walter Hill, is considered as the buddy movie upon which future films of this ilk would be judged. Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy certainly had a sharp chemistry in this tale of a veteran cop who "borrows" convict Murphy for the titular 48 hours to nab a prison escapee and cop killer, played luridly by a young James Remar. The action is fast and furious and Murphy in his first big screen breakout overcomes his foul mouth with a good turn, especially in the critically lauded scene at the redneck bar. Sonny Landham and David Patrick Kelly are suitable villains but lovely Annette O'Toole is wasted in the role of Nolte's sometime lover. However, this is a very entertaining film and shows why Murphy became such a hot box office property at the time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2013
48HRS, a classic action comedy from the 80'S
this is about the DVD and Blu-ray release of this classic film

Eddie murphy's first film and he's a Natural in the film
Great comedy performance and same with Nick Nolte Great performance aswell
Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy are a perfect team in this film
Brilliantly Directed by Walter Hill from the first scene to the last scene
i have the 2006 DVD reissue of the film
so the DVD release on the amazon listing is wrong
the cover shown is correct but the release date is wrong
the picture and audio quality on the 2006 reissue is excellent
bright coloured Widescreen the Audio is Digitally remastered in 5.1 surround sound aswell
better than VHS quality for sure

but very Dissapointing there's no special features at all
No new interviews with Walter Hill or Nick nolte or Eddie murphy about the making of the film
not even an Audio commentary by Walter Hill
there is only a Theatrical trailer
but at least the picture quality looks excellent, brilliant Widescreen transfer
very Disgusting that there's no extras except for the Trailer
a classic film like this deserves a special edition for sure
this film deserves a Interview with Walter Hill, Eddie Murphy or Nick nolte at least
but Dissapointing for some reason Paramount pictures have not released a special edition of this film.

but Paramount have released this film on Blu-ray, which i think is a waste of money
cause the blu-ray reissue is the same as the DVD release
absolutely no new interviews at all except for Theatrical trailer
maybe the films presentation has been given a blu-ray upgrade to HD quality.
i havn't seen the blu-ray version cause there's no extras at all
so i didn't bother wasting my money buying it, i already have the DVD release.

Hopefully one day Paramount pictures will get a wake up call and finally realize
that this classic film deserves a special edition Blu-ray release
with all new interviews with Walter Hill, Eddie murphy and Nick Nolte
but who knows so don't Hold your breath waiting.
if you think the blu-ray is worth buying
just to check out the film's presentation if it's HD or not then fine burn some cash.

i'm staying with my DVD release
i gave this review 4 stars cause i love the film and the DVD 2006 reissue
picture and audio quality is Good enough for me in terms of Quality
if the new blu-ray release had all new extras like new interviews
then i would give it a 5 star rating but sadly it's barebones release.
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