48 Hrs. (Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray)

A hard-nosed cop reluctantly teams up with a wise-cracking criminal temporarily paroled to him in order to track down a killer.

December 5, 2022 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

For a look at Eddie Murphy’s starring debut role, look no further than 1982’s 48 Hours. It made him a superstar and would spawn a mediocre sequel about 8 years later. Starring opposite Nick Nolte, the film is considered a classic to many. While I enjoyed it overall, it didn’t make a huge impression on me. Still, there are enough qualities and fans will be delighted that it has been given a proper upgrade as well.

A criminal named Billy Bear (Sonny Landham) helps his friend/convict Albert Ganz (James Remar) escape from police custody. The two are located, but a shootout leaves two officers dead and one survivor. This survivor is Jack Cates (Nick Nolte). He swears revenge, but he enlists the help of prison inmate Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy). Reggie reluctantly agrees to help, but it’s if he gets to go out on the streets with Cates. And the back and forth ensues. While more of an action flick with comedic beats than a full-fledged comedy, 48 does put a bit of a twist on what would become known as the buddy-cop genre. Murphy knows funny, and he does get a lot of mileage here, but I found myself starting to tune out during much of the film. The chemistry between Murphy and Nolte is a large part of what works so well here. Without them the film might not be remembered by many the way it is today.

More modern audiences may be a bit put off by the pacing here as it can seem awfully slow at times. There’s certainly a hard edge to the film, and it makes good use of the R-rating, but after all these years, it just doesn’t leave me with much. It’s certainly better than the sequel, but it’s not something I’m itching to revisit any time soon.

Video: How’s it look?

There’s one reason, literally only one reason, to get this disc. It’s the picture. Paramount Presents brought a nice-looking transfer to the Blu-ray when it was released last year, and now (for whatever reason) we now have this in 4K. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I just feel that a movie that’s now over four decades old that looked pretty good before, now has a new transfer. Why not just put it out on 4K the first time? At any rate, the 1.85:1 HEVC 4K image does improve, albeit a very little, on its Blu-ray counterpart. Colors are a bit bolder and brighter and I felt the detail was a bit sharper but honestly…who really knows? If someone had this playing and I walked into the room I wouldn’t be able to say “Oh, this is clearly the 4K version.” If you missed out on this the first time around, get this one – you get both the 4K and the Blu-ray in one package. If you own the Paramount Presents version, keep it and don’t be persuaded by this one.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The Dolby TrueHD track was also impressive. There is certainly no shortage of action in the film, so expect a very busy track here. Vocals have the clarity I have come to expect and the track kept me involved throughout. Like the transfer, this track satisfies.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Isolated Score – From the settings menu, we can watch the film with the score only. If this does much for you, have at it.
  • Filmmaker Focus: Director Walter Hill on 48 Hrs. – This 19-minute feature is a good one, with Hill giving us a good breakdown of how the film came to be, casting and other nice tidbits.
  • SpaceKid – Original 1966 Animated Short – This is the full cartoon which makes a brief cameo in the film. It is interesting to see.
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Bottom Line

I’m not really sure what some studios do and how/why they do what they do. Make sense? This is now one of a handful of discs that was fine before and for whatever reason, we now have the exact same disc in 4K. If you absolutely need to have a movie in 4K in your collection – here you go. And if you don’t own this movie on disc, this is the one to get but with no new incentives (other than it being in 4K) then there’s absolutely no reason to upgrade.

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