The Cop and the Convict

48 Hrs. popularized the buddy cop genre. It also gave us Eddie Murphy in his breakout feature film debut. He was already making a name for himself on Saturday Night Live, but 48 Hrs. really turned him into a star. The idea for a 48 hour buddy cop movie is as old as the 70’s. Although it could’ve starred Clint Eastwood and Richard Pryor, Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy are just as good. Nolte gets top billing since this is basically his movie until Murphy shows up.

48 Hrs. centers on deadly criminals loose in San Francisco. A very young James Remar is Albert Ganz and Sonny Landham plays his first of two Native Americans named Billy. Nolte is the mean cop Jack Cates with the traditional strained home life and hot-headed boss. Annette O’Toole plays his angry girlfriend Elaine. The first act is pretty serious with R rated shoot-outs and traditional 80’s nudity. It only gets funny when Jack recruits black convict Reggie Hammond.

As a former accomplice of Ganz, Reggie is the only person who can track him down on a 48 hour prison leave. It’s not always a laugh riot, but Murphy really proves his star power. Reggie messes with country boys in a bar and desperately wants to have sex. Jack and Reggie are polar opposites with unexpected chemistry that only the 80’s could pull off. Jack seems racist, but they really become good friends after they fight things out. He even lets Reggie have a gun to help when his money becomes part of the crime. 48 Hrs. works thanks to the commitment of its leading men.

48 Hrs.

Jack Cates and Reggie Hammond on the job

Followed by: Another 48 Hrs.

7 thoughts on “The Cop and the Convict

  1. It still boggles my mind a little that Eddie Murphy’s film debut had him playing it pretty much straight with only tidbits of his comedy stylings thrown in. To me, he’ll always be a comic actor, but I can’t deny he’s delivered some good serious performances too.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Love the movie (I tend to like Walter Hill films). I re-watched it not long ago and was surprised at how nasty and profane the film was. Gritty and funny cop movie with Murphy stealing scenes right and left (Nolte is pretty great too).

    Liked by 1 person

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