48 Hrs. (1982)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Action Comedy, Odd Couple Film, Police Detective Film  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Matthew Doberman

We've all seen plenty of buddy movies in which our two heroes first hate each other before somehow finding mutual respect -- not to mention the time to blow up stuff. But clichés have to start somewhere, and 48 Hrs. set the trend for more than a decade's worth of copycat buddy movies. Murphy, who was still a cast member on Saturday Night Live when he made his screen debut, is on fire from the first moment we see him, belting out an off-key "Roxanne." Murphy displays the kinetic combination of action and humor that would become his trademark. And no one can play the hard-boiled cop like the splendidly raspy Nolte. Their chemistry and Murphy's spontaneity carry the film. In fact, 48 Hrs. is worth watching just for a scene in which Murphy is let loose in a redneck watering hole armed with nothing but a badge, a smile, and a whole lot of attitude. Director Walter Hill's exciting action sequences deserve a lot of credit for lifting this film above the usual fare, as do screenwriters Roger Spottiswoode and Walter Hill's one-liners. It's not perfect, and some clichés get tiring, even here -- why can't the bad guys ever shoot as well as the good guys? But if you've got a few hrs. to spare, 48 Hrs. is a great way to use them.