Roger Ebert noted in his 1982 review that “sometimes an actor becomes a star in just one scene. Jack Nicholson did it in “Easy Rider,” wearing the football helmet on the back of the motorcycle. It happened to Faye Dunaway when she looked sleepily out of a screen window at Warren Beatty in “Bonnie and Clyde.” And in “48 Hrs.,” it happens to Eddie Murphy.” Ebert was referencing the scene when Murphy walks in to a redneck bar, impersonating a police officer to get some information.
Redneck: What kind of cop are you?
Reggie: You know what I am? I’m your worst fuckin’ nightmare, man. I’m a nigger with a badge which means I got permission to kick your fuckin’ ass whenever I feel like it!
Murphy owns the scene and the film which is pretty interesting considering that director Walter Hill clearly didn’t know what we had in the comic who would quickly become one of the biggest box office stars of the decade. In Hill’s defense, 48 HRS is a flick that is more worried about setting up the next action scene than setting-up the next joke.
Nick Nolte is Jack Cates, a burnout drunk of a cop who survives a long and well staged hotel shootout. To get the man responsible, Cates springs Reggie Hammond (Murphy) from the joint to find the killer who is after Hammond’s secret stash of cash which is hidden in the trunk of his car. Along the way we get fist fights, gun fights, car chases, fucked, fuckers, and mother-fuckers (all Murphy staples). Riggs and Murtaugh owe a lot to Hammond and Cates, the template for the buddy cop film and still one of Hill’s best.
Couple of quick geek notes:
James Horner did the score for 48 HRS, he would also do the score for COMMANDO with Arnold Schwarzenegger, both sound very similar.
David Patrick Kelly, who plays a wimp called Luther in 48 HRS, co-starred in COMMANDO.
Sonny Landham, who plays a knife wielding Billy Bear, co-starred with Schwarzenegger in PREDATOR and THE LAST STAND.
Frank McRae, who plays the loudmouth Chief Haden, was Schwarzenegger’s loudmouth Chief in LAST ACTION HERO.
Walter Hill went on to direct Schwarzenegger in RED HEAT which also co-starred Bryon James who plays Det. Kehoe in 48 HRS (he also appeared in an episode of BENSON which has nothing to do with anything).
In non-Schwarzenegger notes: The Busboys, who appear in 48 HRS, went on to tour with Eddie Murphy and are thanked by Murphy when he opens DELIRIOUS.
LOCKED AND LOADED,