48Hrs. is a very efficient action entertainment which serves as a showy motion picture debut for Eddie Murphy. Pairing of Nick Nolte as a rough-and-tumble San Francisco cop and Murphy as a small-time criminal sprung for two days to help track down former associates makes for a throwback to the buddy-buddy pics of the 1970s.
It’s all pretty predictable stuff, but done with plenty of savvy and professionalism. Director Walter Hill has always worked within traditional action genres, but has generally applied an artier, more philosophical slant to them.
Speaking with a voice sanded by a constant supply of booze and cigarettes, Nolte lays on the gruff Wallace Beery stuff a little thick and is generally willing to play second fiddle to Murphy’s more kinetic shtick, but registers strongly withal. For his part, Murphy has a lot to do and gets through it amusingly.