REVIEW: Another 48 Hrs (1990) – ManlyMovie

REVIEW: Another 48 Hrs (1990)

Runtime: 93 Mins
Rated: R
What To Expect:  A criminally underrated sequel

There’s a sad fact about Another 48 Hrs – it’s only half the movie director Walter Hill presented to the studio in 1990.  The movie we’ve all seen is 93 minutes long, but Walter Hill’s version was 145 minutes long.  When he finished the movie, they cut chunks off it and tore it down to 120 minutes.  Then, before it was released, they took another 25 minutes off.  I’m not one for internet campaigns or the like, but a home release of the 145 minute movie is something I’d really chase, especially if others wanted it and supported the idea…

What was the reasoning behind this?  Short answer, Total Recall came out a week before and Paramount panicked, they deemed the movie too inaccessible to go head to head with that movie.  At least they didn’t cut its balls off and make it PG-13.  1990 was a year that belonged to a manlier era, I’m sure we’ll all agree.  And yet despite having its story kicked in the balls, Another 48 Hrs, which Paramount won’t even bother to release on Blu-Ray, still manages to be a damned near exceptional movie.  It’s straight up Walter Hill, brutal and ice cool.  I really do love this film.

In the original movie, which presumably hides away in a Paramount warehouse somewhere, the story was much more fleshed out.  In the trailer you can spot traces of it, such as Cates (Nick Nolte) revealing that he’s actually on a ’48 Hour’ deadline to bag the Iceman.  That’s gone completely, along with several key characters such as Brion James’ Sgt. Kehoe and his entire story, who appeared in the original movie.  On repeat viewing of this, it is apparent, with some seriously harsh editing that doesn’t appear to be Walter Hill-like at all.  Pay attention, it will register on intuition next time you watch it.  Still, the shortened version is still pretty damned good.  Murphy and Nolte carry the skinny script with sheer magnetic chemistry – these are two funny motherfuckers, Nolte included.

Another 48 Hrs is unmistakably Walter Hill, possibly even in his prime. There was always something gritty about his movies, they were always the proverbial badass sitting quietly in the corner while the Tango & Cashes, the Lethal Weapons laughed loudly at the bar.  Don’t bother looking for an action movie like this nowadays, you won’t find it – not even Bullet to the Head compares.

It’s bleak yet cool, it’s funny yet it means business.  Like any good Hill movie, the bad guys are stone cold and properly cast.  Take the bikers in this movie, they make the Sons of Anarchy look like The Wild Hogs, like Perlman and Hunnam are a bunch of fake wannabes – something that always bothered me about that TV show.  They also come with a supremely manly motive – to avenge a dead brother, it doesn’t make them likeable exactly, just cooler still.  And the action sequences?  Fucking superb, from a time when clearness and consistency was a given, a foregone necessity, only with beauty and slickness laid all over it.

When you hear Horner’s steel drums in a movie, you know shit is about to get real.  I’m willing to bet the full version of this movie is something truly special, an easy 10/10.  Damn you, Paramount…