"48 Hours" is one of the founding classics of mismatched-buddy-flicks. Given the massive success it was for Paramount, it's surprising that they should release such a lacklustre DVD.
It was the movie that put Eddie Murphy on the Hollywood map. As with "Beverly Hills Cop", according to "High Concept", Charles Fleming's book about producer Don Simpson, "48 Hours" started out as a vehicle for Stallone, then Burt Reynolds, and then Richard Pryor. Finally, when Gregory Hines wasn't available, Murphy got the job only to be fired, briefly, three weeks later. But despite all the problems that surrounded this film, it was a smash hit.
Unfortunately it's little more than a damp squib on DVD with the main complaint being the variable picture quality. The movie is presented in a non-anamorphic widescreen transfer. The added detail and sharpness that an anamorphic transfer can add is sorely needed in the opening scenes that suffer from a lot of grain. As the movie progresses, things improve with exterior day shots generally sharper than the grimy interior scenes.
But to give Paramount credit, they have upgraded the film to a 5.1 sound mix that brings out the most incredible ricochets during the various gun battles that take place. Other Foley effects are nicely enhanced and the music score is well placed around the speakers. (NB: If James Horner's score sounds familiar, it's because he near-replicated it for Schwarzenegger's "Commando" in 1985.)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Extra Features: Scene selection, trailer, multiple languages, subtitles, English for the hearing impaired.