48 Hrs. – Blu-ray Review

48 Hrs.

48 Hrs may be one of the first buddy cop films ever made, but it’s not the finest. For one thing, the story is nothing special. 48 Hrs follows a no-nonsense cop (Nick Nolte) who must team up with a fast-talking con (Eddie Murphy) to stop a cop killer (James Remar). On paper, it sounds like any cop film from that era. Yet what makes 48 Hrs a classic is the chemistry and relationship between Nolte and Murphy.

Their dialogue towards each is snappy and quirky. However, what makes Cates and Hammond great characters is not simply because of their exchanges. It’s because of their vulnerability and humanity. They’re basically the odd couple. The both of them start out wary of each other, which eventually becomes a lukewarm dislike of each other. Then grudgingly, they kind of start to respect one another. Their thawing relationship was more interesting than the actual storyline itself.

Thus, it’s no surprise that Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy are stellar together as they provide the necessary chemistry to make the buddy cop genre work. In his debut film, Eddie Murphy gave a high-flying performance that defined the rest of his career. Nick Nolte is also good as the cynical and hard-nosed cop. Even James Remar and Sonny Landham are well cast as Ganz and Billy Bear, respectively.

Overall, 48 Hrs isn’t the best buddy cop ever made, but it did introduce us to the sparkplug that is Eddie Murphy. The film manages consistent action, comedy, and thrills — the basis of all buddy cop action comedies from then on. Not to mention, Cates and Hammond form an entertaining partnership amidst a generally satisfying crime actioner. It may not be the best buddy cop film, but it is the film that kickstarted a brand new subgenre. 

Movie Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

48 Hrs. - Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy

Video

48 Hrs hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Bright whites throughout, but there is a slight bloom in these areas during a few scenes. When the film takes place at night or indoors, you lose a lot of the shadow details. Yet when it’s outdoors during the day, the shadows stay a consistent deep black with minor shadow loss. Films back in the 80s had a flat-looking color saturation. It’s no different here as the color looks dull. The picture is crisp and clean, and the film grain is thick and noticeable throughout. As a whole, the picture looks excellent.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

48 Hrs. - James Remar

Audio

48 Hrs hits Blu-ray with a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. Surprisingly, this is a very low-key mix with a few exceptions. The gunshots in this are one of those exceptions. They are loud and commanding and make use of the surround channels. At the same time, the atmospheric effects and James Horner’s score fill up the soundstage, but they all sound static. However, other than the score and occasional atmospheric effects, the surround channels are underused. The dialogue, on the other hand, is distinct throughout. Overall, this is a good and subtle audio mix.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

48 Hrs. - Nick Nolte

Special Features

48 Hrs‘s Blu-ray disc has the following special features on Blu-ray disc:

  • Filmmaker Focus: Director Walter Hill on 48 Hrs.
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Space Kid – Original 1966 Animated Short

Due to COVID, this iteration of “Filmmaker Focus” is recorded through a video call. Nevertheless, director Walter Hill (The Warriors) goes in-depth in giving audiences a first-hand account of the production in the film. The feature also has many black and white behind-the-scenes photos and film footage to help alleviate the exhaustive look of being in on a Zoom call. Lord knows we’ve had a lot of Zoom calls throughout quarantine. “Space Kid” is the entire animated short film that was shown in bits during the movie. It’s a fun Hanna Barbera-style animated short, so if you’re a fan of the animation style, then it’s worth watching.

Special Features Rating: 3/5 atoms


Overall, 48 Hrs is a vital moment in cinematic history. Walter Hill’s film gave us the buddy cop genre, which spawned such classics as Lethal Weapon and 21 Jump Street. It may not be the best of the genre, but it is the original. The Paramount Presents remaster is stellar, but the audio mix for it is a bit lacking. Unfortunately, the same can be said about the bonus features as well.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

The 48 Hrs. Paramount Presents edition hits stores on Blu-ray on July 6th.

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1669 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.

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