48 HRS is one of the best cop-buddy movies made, but don't credit the script, which, taken by itself, wallows in a variety of good guy/bad guy cliches. Nick Nolte stars as San Francisco PD Det. Jack Cates, a hard-assed cop who drinks whiskey for breakfast and argues with his girlfriend all the time. After two of his fellow officers are killed in a shootout and one of the killers gets Cates' gun, the grumpy gumshoe finds Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy), one of their former accomplices, in San Quentin and gets the convict a 48-hour furlough to help him track the bad guys. If the premise sounds a bit hackneyed, the conclusion is no less surprising. What makes 48 HRS special is what happens in between. In the midst of rotten dialogue and two-dimensional acting from most of the supporting cast, Murphy absolutely lets go with a variety of improvs, infusing his two-bit hood character with such energy that he's impossible to ignore, and the scene where he rousts a redneck bar may be the best bit he's ever committed to film. Nolte proves a worthy adversary, trading quips, insults, and even a few fisticuffs with his weekend hostage. 48 HRS is a good example of how gifted actors can rise above their material, and it's no surprise that the film launched Murphy's Hollywood career. Good transfer from a very good source print, the original Dolby 2.0, trailer.
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