By: Garrett Collins
Starring: Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, Brion James, Andrew Divoff, and Bernie Casey
A lot can happen in eight years. And, in the span between when the original 48 Hours opened in 1982 until its sequel in 1990, a lot in fact did happen. Eddie Murphy, a newcomer when the first film put him on the map, was now a big star and even had his own film production company. In fact, some of the first words to appear onscreen when Another 48 Hours starts are ‘From Eddie Murphy Productions’. Haircuts change. The weight that an actor once held tight is changed (Nolte). And, of course, villains change. Fortunately for the audience viewing this film after highly enjoying the first, the chemistry between the leads has not changed. Unfortunately however, the quality between the two motion pictures has.
That’s not to say that they didn’t try. With Walter Hill once again at the helm, the film starts off with a camera shot that looks like it was lifted almost shot for shot from the first film’s opening. So, at least they are conscious of what their audience is looking for. However, once our villains are introduced in the very beginning (again, like the first one) this is when I knew that the quality was going to take a downturn. Because, long haired greasers who ride motorcycles and are somehow connected to the high stakes drug lord Iceman (more on him later) just had me saying ‘bleh’ and realizing that these criminals just aren’t as captivating as the last ones. Don’t get me wrong: the set of criminals from the first film Ganz and Billy Bear weren’t the best. But, at least that plot was kept simple. Here, script writers John Fasano, Larry Gross, Jeb Stuart and Murphy (under the pseudonym Fred Braughton) bring a corn fed, ridiculously layered plot that, no matter how many windows they throw people through in slow motion and bars they blow up, really does nothing but keep audiences yawning and waiting for Murphy and Nolte to hit the screen.
Fortunately, they do. And, admittedly, prove to be just as entertaining and chemistry-filled as the last time. While it was undoubtedly more fun to watch them go for each other’s throats as they weren’t even familiar with each other in the first one, Cates and Hammond prove here that time did not in fact make their hearts grow fonder. From Hammond throwing a basketball at Cates’ head to Cates laughing as Hammond’s car blows up, Another 48 Hours proves that it does know one thing: making these two antagonistic to one another is a hell of a lot more fun than when they get along. Scenes such as these also prove that Hill has not lost his touch. A much underrated director in my mind, Hill had gone on since 48 Hours to direct such underrated films as Streets of Fire and Schwarzenegger starrer Red Heat. Here, he again does action very well, and does nice call backs such as a woman having to yell that she has to get dressed as cops knock on her door, and the very last gun fight is very nicely staged & directed. All in all, even as an action film, Another 48 Hours is yet another film that can be counted in Hill’s resume as being very well made.
The groans that are induced by this sequel really start when the entire plot gets rolled out. By the time the mystery surrounding who the Iceman really is gets revealed, it just feels too drawn out to be effective. And, really felt thrown together. Like, they had another character in mind, but changed it at the last minute. There is also a sub-plot involving Hammond owing money to a prisoner that really had no point. And, again took me right out of the story every time it was touched upon. These couple things prove that the script this time around is very weak, and don’t even get me started on the loop holes it has. Overall, Another 48 Hours is a pretty big let down. Yes, the lines are still funny, the shoot outs are good, and the combination of action & stunts (check out that bus crash) are still very nicely done. However, overall, its faults highly outweigh its good points, making the movie feel pretty bland. I would recommend that you just watch the original and leave this behind. For completists only.
2.5 out of 5