Friday, January 27, 2012

MARQUEE SHOWDOWN #2: 48 Hours vs Lethal Weapon

  • 48 Hours - Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, Annette O'Toole, James Remar, Brion James. Nolte made a specialty of bombing his own career but as a gruff detective who screwed up his life eight ways 'till yesterday, he was right at home. Murphy, heck, I never liked him period. Nice supporting cast, especially O'Toole who is an eternal beauty, but no real star power and no memorable performances. 
  • Lethal Weapon - Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Mitch Ryan, Tom Atkins. Not a lot of big names either, even years later, but Gary Busey is the closest thing to Nick Nolte's clone you'll ever find, and he's a support player here... Mitch Ryan isn't a name but he is a face, one of those "that guy" actors who always delivers. But it's the dynamic duo of Glover and Gibson whose tangible chemistry took the world by storm to make this film one of the more memorable actioner from the 80s.
  • ADVANTAGE: Lethal Weapon

  • 48 Hours - Unknown production budget (or undisclosed...) with a total theatrical take of $78M. Would seem mild today, but in 1982, that was big business.
  • Lethal Weapon - Unknown production budget (or undisclosed...) but the third cost $35M (7 years later) so let's make this one about $15M. Total domestic take of $120M, in 1987 money.

  • 48 Hours-  Box-Office Mojo= B, IMDb= 6.9, Rotten Tomatoes= 94%, Rogert Ebert= 3.5/5
  • Lethal Weapon- Box-Office Mojo= B, IMDb= 7.6, Rotten Tomatoes= 90%, Roger Ebert= 4/5
  • ADVANTAGE: Lethal Weapon

  • I know lots of people hold a cult candle to 48 Hours, one which I could never really share; I did watch the film back in the 80s as an action-fan teen, but it never did anything for me, and much less its absolutely shitty and greedy sequel. Granted it set up Eddie Murphy for what could've been a kick-ass movie career (wow did THAT fail after a few films...) but there's no memorable quote, no stand-out performance, and no great interest to revisit. When a "blockbuster" only has one sequel and no remake on the horizon, well...'nuff said. As for director Walter Hill, the guy made one good film (The Warriors) and most of the rest is so forgettable he even had his name removed from one (Supernova).
  • Lethal Weapon, on the other hand, is textbook 80s Action Fare at its best. An iconic anti-hero lead, a catchphrase already welded into pop culture history (I'm too old for this s**t), action sequences we never tire of re-wathcing and THREE sequels, not to mention Mel and Dan alwasy being asked about another one even if they're too...well you know. And the director? Richard Friggin Donner, the guy behind The Goonies, Superman, Ladyhawk, Maverick, Scrooged and much more.

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