Isn’t it strange how there can be some wildly popular movies it just happens you have never seen? Movies you weren’t actively trying to avoid, but they somehow always remained on the periphery of potential films to watch.
For me, one of those movies was 1982’s 48 Hrs. I was in elementary school when this film was released. Many classmates were taken by their parents or other adults to see this hard-R film. At the time, this was not considered by most to be an irresponsible act. Having now seen 48 Hrs., I want to build a time machine and have a long conversation with some of those adults.
I tried to turn off my brain and just enjoy this film; however, I wasn’t having fun most of the time and was instead distracted by the extensive violence, racial slurs, homophobic slurs, sexist put-downs, nudity and profanity.
I won’t pretend to be a prude, and I have seen movies with far more violence, nudity or profanity. Actually, I’m not even offended by profanity and I often find it very funny in the right context. Here, on the other hand, it seems to be as randomly scattered as the extensive gunfire, and to the same effect—both starting wearing my nerves early on.
There’s no reason for me to relate the plot: you have either seen the movie already or you can easily find a concise summary on IMDB. My opinion is there isn’t much plot here, just enough to frame the action sequences, which all basically go like this: BANG BANG “[PROFANITY]” BANG BANG BANG “[RACIAL SLUR]” (boobs) BANG BANG BANG BANG
As for the cast, this is my idea of natural territory for Nolte, so he just does his default act here. The real shame is Murphy isn’t better used here. I suspect he wanted to shift his image from primarily being a comedian to becoming an action star. It’s understandable if he didn’t want to be pigeonholed but, damn, this movie desperately needed his character from Trading Places.
48 Hrs. is big and dumb, but what is so disappointing is it fails to be fun. I was surprised to see the director was Walter Hill (The Warriors) as this seems more like the kind of movie John Landis (The Blues Brothers) would make, operating under the assumption people endlessly yelling at one another and things endlessly crashing into each other is entertaining.
I was initially unsure I would be keeping this disc; however, an awesome little special feature convinced me to do so. In the movie, we briefly see an old cartoon playing on a hotel TV, and an extra here is the entirety of Paramount’s bizarre 1966 one-off “Space Kid”. This cartoon is short, sweet, lovingly restored and drawn in a great mid-century modern style. Seems odd to keep a disc solely for a short extra, but at least I got something for my money.
Dir: Walter Hill
Starring Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy
Watched on Paramount Presents blu-ray