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Wick's Review

Created Apr 17, 2014 10:06PM PST • Edited Aug 08, 2015 03:25AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    Big time action-comedies kind of got started with Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in 48 Hrs. Big stars, big action, big laughs – big time. Walter Hill was an action guy, a Western action guy. Directing megahunk Nolte, with a never funnier Murphy, set in San Francisco, his big hit paved the way for Beverly Hills Cop.

    48 Hrs. – a genre picture done stupendously well – has been dogged by one inferior sequel after another. But even Beverly Hills Cop didn’t top the original 48 Hrs., which is still great, albeit unspeakably racist.

    From its Western opening – one of the most exciting prison breaks in cinematic history – to its tour of funky San Francisco in the early Eighties, it’s a great film independent of any comedy. Hail Walter Hill.

    The comedy comes in waves however, from one man, one source, one singular talent – Eddie Murphy. Murphy’s superstardom ignited with 48 Hrs., his first movie. Fifty more followed. Still are following.

    Studded with great scenes, 48 Hrs. is led by one of the studliest leading men of all time in Nick Nolte. SFPD Detective Jack Cates is one of Nolte’s all time greatest roles. Not just his either. Thinking about it, Jack Cates is one of the great Detective characters in cinematic history. Is he not?

    Netflix has 48 Hrs. on Instant View now. You don’t have to be Dick Fuckin’ Tracy to click Watch Now. Just look at the On Demand chip above. [Netflix removes movies too, so this may not work forever.]

  3. Great 4.0

    Nick Nolte & Eddie Murphy slay in 48 Hrs. Gifted an all-time badass villain in James Remar’s Albert Ganz, they had a tripartite star formation going in this big time studio vehicle.

    Nolte was still kind of young, showing few ravages from the hard living lifestyle he portrayed, though his patented pained growl was strongly in evidence. Bestride SFPD as Detective Jack Cates, he was like a looser version of Clint Eastwood’s Detective Harry Callahan. Matched up with Murphy, he became half of a buddy act that rivaled Newman & Redford’s.

    Eddie Murphy’s first movie role was Reggie Hammond in 48 Hrs. From his opening scene 20+ minutes in, singing Roxanne from a cell in San Quentin, to his takedown of a redneck bar, to his Armani suit in which he looked gooood, he minted a major moviestar career right out of the gate.

    James Remar has had a long, successful acting career. Albert Ganz stands alone in it however, as perfect an action villain as ever seen on the silver screen. In this he was aided tremendously by his top henchman – Sonny Landham’s Billy Bear.

    Popping Off Screen
    • Annette O’Toole as Nolte’s hot waitress girlfriend
    • Frank McRae as a big bad man
    • David Patrick Kelly as a hood improbably named Luther, other than Walter Hill likes Luthers
    • Brion James as Kehoe, Nolte’s neighbor in the squad room
    And A Huge Cast Behind Them

    Who shall go nameless after all these years

  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Good 3.0
  6. Female Costars OK 2.5
  7. Male Costars Really Great 4.5
  8. Great 4.0

    Walter Hill’s film from the screenplay he wrote with Roger Spottiswoode, Larry Gross and Steven de Souza stands as an exemplar of genre filmmaking. Big stars were essential, the singular Eddie Murphy most of all, but so was the direction, music and visuals. The writing – held down by genre requirements – nonetheless was studded with great lines, many LOL, though Murphy deserves credit there also.

    Bravura action comes before the first laugh, marking 48 Hrs. as a seminal action-comedy. Outstanding action continues all the way to the end with the hijacked Muni bus — a top notch Walter Hill action flick. Coming two decades after Some Like It Hot, it took guns-n-funnies to a whole new level.


    • Gantz watches Space Kid cartoon when the cops come to bust him
    • Band wears Air Jordans
  9. Direction Really Great 4.5
  10. Play Very Good 3.5

    Bolt of intellectual energy in the squad room: “Hey! Dick Fuckin’ Tracy.”

  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Really Great 4.5

    Great San Francisco and Bay Area scenes, including the Richmond San Rafael Bridge shimmering on the drive to San Quentin

  13. Content
  14. Sordid 3.4

    Titillating, Savage and Nasty

    Sex at a high titillating 2.5 and Violence at a savagely high 3.8 are both topped by Rudeness at a nasty 4, averaging out at a sordid 3.4 in overall Edginess.

    A word about the Rudeness: It’s not just Nasty, it’s Nasty & Racist. Pity they had to go there.

  15. Sex Titillating 2.5
  16. Violence Savage 3.8
  17. Rudeness Nasty 4.0
  18. Surreal 2.6

    Circumstantially surreal, physically surreal (Nolte ducking under hails of bullets) and biologically supernatural, 48 Hrs. clocks in at an overall deep level of surrealism — 2.6x normal reality.

  19. Circumstantial Surreal 2.3
  20. Biological Supernatural 3.1
  21. Physical Surreal 2.3


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