Walter Hill has always been one of my very favourite filmmakers. There is just something about his style, where he pushes Western movie philosophies into all of his work and the way he writes his male characters that is a perfect example of my love for action movies of the era.
In 48 HRS, his hit 1982 movie, Hill takes what would have been a cop drama and turned it into something smarter and more enticing. There are cop-killings, half-a-million dollars in a car and a unique relationship between a hungover cop Cates (Nick Nolte in one of his very best works) and Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy) who gets a 48-hour pass to help Cates find some crooks. This is also the movie that made then-Saturday Night Live player Eddie Murphy a star, in particular a classic scene where he completely owns a redneck bar. Just watching this sequence again gave me goosebumps. Oh, San Francisco, how ye have changed over the decades.
Yes, much of the movie is dated; there are some extreme ethnic slurs and the women are treated a bit more roughly than in more modern fare, but there is incredibly sharp writing and acting that keeps you completely involved throughout.
ANOTHER 48 HRS was a long-delayed follow-up, taking all the way until 1990 to find its way to cinema screens, and even with a lot of production problems, Eddie’s popularity and box office performance waning AND studio interference to force a shorter version on the market…I still think it’s a good, if not great, follow-up. Years have passed and Reggie’s still in prison, but since Cates is on the track of the Iceman and bikers. Even though it has its problems, I still laughed at quite a few of the jokes and admired Hill’s still-gritty filmmaking.
About The Blu Rays:
Paramount has been on a roll lately with their visuals and audio on their Paramount Presents series. As of right now, the Presents series is only available in the United States, however some of the releases are getting movie-only Canadian versions IF the movie is not available on Blu Ray. Since 48 HRS is already available in Canada from its much older Blu Ray release (which I have seen and am not impressed with), I managed to get a copy of 48 HRS on my own for this review, and Paramount PR provided a review copy of the sequel for our site.
Both movies are fully restored on Blu Ray and presented in their proper 1.85:1 aspect ratio, rather than being “full-screened” to 16×9 (1.78:1). On larger screens, including mine, the difference is FAR more noticeable and locks in the standard widescreen framing much better. 48 HRS is the clear winner here, showing great color and detail that I have never seen before on any home video format, making it really look like what a pristine 35mm print would have looked like on release. Ditto for ANOTHER 48 HRS which is not AS good looking of a movie photographically, but it’s great to have some restoration work done here too with solid picture quality throughout.
I was also impressed with the restored 5.1 tracks on both; James Horner’s score really triumphs in this mix and is full and enveloping. Most of the dialogue and sound effects are still of the time and all sound totally fine, but it’s the score that really stands out here. ANOTHER 48 HRS also benefits from early 90’s, Dolby SR sound design and it gets the job done.
48 HRS. contains a few slight bonus features; there’s an isolated score track in Dolby Surround, a near 20-minute filmmaker focus featuring Hill reflecting on the movie, a VERY long theatrical trailer and a full version of the SPACE KID short that is featured early in the movie. ANOTHER 48 HRS just features another short reflection doc with Hill.
My only gripe is NOT getting a full on 4k/HDR disc from Paramount, especially for the first picture, but here’s hoping either Paramount or a boutique distributor can put one out in the near future.
Regrettably, the restored 48 HRS disc from Paramount Presents is only available in the United States, however the new ANOTHER 48 HRS is available in Canada through online retailers. Whatever you do, do NOT buy the current Blu Ray in Canada as it has an old, dated 16×9 transfer; this new restoration is absolutely worth the import and will make for a great double bill.