It took eight years, a bundle of writers, endless rewrites and a few Beverly Hills Cop movies before the classic 48 Hrs. screen duo of Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte re-teamed for the highly anticipated sequel. Unfortunately, Another 48 Hrs. materialised into an enormous disappointment. Considering all the effort that went into the script, the film is even more disappointing. Eddie Murphy was also among the screenwriting committee (under a fake name), making this rubbish sequel a further disappointment. In addition to this, all the other elements were right: Nolte and Murphy back in action, as well as director Walter Hill taking the helm once again. Another 48 Hrs. crawled out with steadfast potential, but tragically died on arrival. The problem was not with director Hill, or the impeccable duo...the problem stems from the material they were given to work with.
The script suffers from a bout of committee writing - that is, several screenwriters begging to have their ideas incorporated. This is worn on the film's sleeves: there is action aplenty, violence and foul-mouthed characters...with zero laughs, zero charm, zero wit, zero laughs (yes, I know I mentioned 'laughs' twice, but it's such a criminal exclusion that it deserves to be mentioned twice) and a bunch of unenergetic actors desperately searching for their next pay-check. Nolte and Hill hadn't seen a hit since the original film, whereas Murphy obtained fame in abundance. Perhaps convincing Murphy to star in Another 48 Hrs. was a cheap attempt by Hill and Nolte to score another hit without having to work too hard. This is palpable as well. It seems like a substandard rehash of 48 Hrs. with the negatives of said predecessor inflated and the positives deflated.
Set several years after the events of the first film, the story follows officer Jack Cates (Nolte) who's working to catch a drug lord only known as the Iceman. For years Jack has investigated, only for extraordinary coincidences to continually occur that leave his investigation dead in the water. Jack soon discovers that his old buddy Reggie Hammond (Murphy) is on the Iceman's hit list. At the end of the first film, Reggie had 6 months left of his prison sentence. Apparently another 5 years were added and now he's about to be released. The addition of these extra 5 years are touched upon, but not greatly explored. It's an irritating red herring, included merely as an excuse to place Reggie in prison again for him to sing his trademark rendition of 'Roxanne'. Worse yet, the strong camaraderie established between Reggie and Jack is gone because they haven't seen each other for so long. Once again, this is an unrealistic inclusion purely to introduce a heated rivalry again. It makes little sense.
So anyway, Reggie and Jack work to track down the Iceman. Oh, and Jack's career is in trouble and he's been suspended. This marks yet another pathetic cliché. There are already tonnes of clichés, so another one is like another duck in a heavily populated pond. One would think someone held a cliché convention and the screenwriting team acquired a 3-day pass!
As one has probably also noticed, Another 48 Hrs. is a mindless "everything must go" sale of clichés. Also, it's probably obvious that the script is a mess. It was rewritten many times, and there were so many writers brought in, but it's a clunky piece of trash. The palpability of a group of writers penning the script is further cemented by a few other elements. One such instance is the police composite drawing kit, used early in the film. It's used to create an image of a suspect they're searching for. Later we find out that Reggie knew what the Iceman looked like all along. When Jack learns this information he drags Reggie across the city, asking him to point out the Iceman. Why couldn't he just use the drawing kit again?! On paper the film would have sounded worse than the eventual product. At least the visuals have the stylish touch of Walter Hill, marking one of the only positive things about the movie. The action is exciting, even if it doesn't make much sense.
Poor villains are another drawback. Instead of being memorable and menacing, the dumb baddies don't do anything but kill people for the hell of it. Their motivation doesn't exist, especially with the convoluted plot being so excessively dragged out.
The relationship between Reggie and Jack is appalling. No witty lines, no interesting twists, and worst of all no friendship under pressure. They yell at each other and punch each other in every second scene! To make matters worse, there are many scenarios used here that were also used in the original film. It's probably some feeble attempt at nostalgia. The acting is just absurd. Eddie Murphy has aged and his changed Reggie character is just boring. I expected to be laughing occasionally...but I wasn't. I wondered whether the screenwriters ever even saw the first film. Nolte is grouchy, cranky and looks bored. The horribly written villains are the furthest thing from realistic. The rest of the cast appear to say their lines rather than meaning them. Director Hill let too many faulty moments get included, it seems.
Another 48 Hrs. should be in the running for "Most Disappointing Movie Sequel of All Time". As a standalone motion picture, the film is still a pile of shit. It may be watchable during the action sequences, but everything else is frequently boring. As a sequel to the classic original action/comedy, Another 48 Hrs. is dire beyond words. It's a crime for a supposed action/comedy to spend its duration without a single funny gag or witty line. If someone pulled in a few decent screenwriters as opposed to useless hacks, something interesting could have transpired. As it is, this is just another damned sequel that never should have happened. This is a purposeless waste of the talents of everyone involved. If you're an enormous fan of the first movie, this sequel just isn't worth it.
"When you've been in prison as long as I have, you remember every story about pussy you ever heard."