48 Hrs on DVD – The DVDfever Review

48 Hrs

48 Hrs: Once upon a time, Eddie Murphy actually used to be funny and was able to crack gags without resorting to farting endless a la Nutty Professor. Although locked up in jail following his involvement in a half-million-dollar robbery, Reggie Hammond (Murphy), is bailed by tough cop Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) to help him catch a couple of cop-killers, one of which, Ganz (James Remar), was working on a prison chain-gang.

It’s another mis-match comedy as the two leads spark off each other, but it’s actually funny, unlike any of Murphy’s recent output, as Cates wants to put the baddies behind bars and Hammond wants his share of the loot, plus a bit of the ‘how’s your father’ since he’s been in jail for the last two-and-a-half years.

Firstly the good news. We are blessed with a remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack (English only, while the Germans get Dolby Surround and the Hungarians have to suffer mono), which really comes into its own during any gunfights and car chases with plenty of rear-action (oo-er, missus!)

What lets it down completely is a distinctly NOT-remastered picture. Although in the original 1.85:1 widescreen ratio, there are dropouts and flecks on the print all over the place and it’s not anamorphic. Thanks to that latter note, some brainiac at Paramount placed the subtitles at the bottom of the screen, partly in the black bars, so if you want to read the subtitles AND zoom the picture in to fill a widescreen TV… you can’t!

So many DVDs have done this and I really can’t understand their thinking. Do they just not care at all? Even if I had to watch a non-anamorphic picture, it’s less of a bind if they’ll just place the subtitles WITHIN the picture area. The average bitrate is a high and fairly steady 8.2Mb/s.

Extras: A three-minute trailer is all we’re treated to. Paramount will be bringing out some more extras for their later releases, but for now there’s slim pickings to be had.

There’s plenty of subtitles: English (and hard of hearing), German, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch and Bulgarian, but scant chapters with just a mere 15 to its name and the menu is static and silent with a shot of the front cover and the usual options.

Overall, £19.99 is too much for a back-catalogue release with little in the way of extras and a non-anamorphic picture, although the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is a bonus and there’s no more to be found on the Region 1 DVD which retails for the same price of $30.


Detailed specs:

Running time: 93 minutes
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
Cat.no: PHE8009
Year: 1982
Released: September 4th 2008
Region(s): 2, PAL
Chapters: 15
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
Languages: English, German, Hungarian
Subtitles: 8 languages available
Widescreen: 1.85:1
16:9-Enhanced: Yes
Macrovision: Yes
Disc Format: DVD 9

Director: Walter Hill
Producers: Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver
Screenplay: Roger Spottiswoode, Walter Hill, Larry Gross and Steve E De Souza
Music: James Horner

Jack Cates: Nick Nolte
Reggie Hammond: Eddie Murphy
Elaine: Annette O’Toole
Haden: Frank McRae
Ganz: James Remar
Kehoe: Brion James
Rosalie: Kerry Sherman
Algren: Jonathan Banks
Sally: Denise Crosby