Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 9, 2021)
With 1982’s 48 Hrs., Eddie Murphy made his cinematic debut. In one fell swoop, Murphy went from SNL castmember to movie star, as 48 Hrs. became a substantial hit and launched his film career with a bang.
Eight years later, Murphy reunited with director Walter Hill and co-star Nick Nolte for 1990’s Another 48 Hrs. When we last saw them, San Francisco cop Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) and convict Reggie Hammond (Murphy) joined forces to stop a killer. After Reggie went back to prison to finish his sentence, Jack found himself in pursuit of “The Iceman”, a violent drug kingpin.
As Jack continues to go after Iceman, he learns that Reggie appears to be a target as well. With Reggie now formally released from the hoosegow, he gets back with Jack to stop Iceman.
On the surface, Another looks like it did as well as the first film. The latter made $78 million US whereas the former took in $80 million US. Sure, inflation means the original sold more tickets, but both performed fairly similarly.
However, given the expectations for Another, it had to be viewed as a commercial disappointment. Whereas the first movie cost only $12 million, the sequel boasted a $50 million budget. Because it brought in more than $150 million worldwide, Another made a profit, but it still clearly underperformed studio expectations.
Beyond finances, Another simply didn’t enjoy nearly as much affection from fans. It sold tickets based on name recognition but didn’t seem much loved.
The original movie was so popular that it took 15 weeks to fall out of the US top 10. On the other hand, Another dropped below that number after only seven weeks. Those aren’t terrible legs, but I remain convinced that the studio expected much better from the sequel.
I know I saw Another during its 1990 theatrical run, but whereas I remember my 1982 screening of the original movie well, I possess next to no memory of this one. That seems like a bad sign.
I guess I can see it as a minor positive that I don’t recall that I hated Another. If I’d genuinely loathed the flick – like I did with that same summer’s atrocious RoboCop 2 - it likely would’ve stuck in my wee brain.
Nonetheless, it seems like an ominous sign that a big-budget, hotly-anticipated sequel like Another left my memory so long ago. As I rewatched the film almost 31 years later, I figured out why I forgot it: because it’s eminently forgettable.
Not that this makes Another a bad movie. At its core, it offers a watchable affair, one that musters sufficient entertainment value across its 95 minutes.
However, Another doesn’t remotely threaten to recapture the magic of the original. Indeed, it feels more like a semi-lazy rehash of the 1982 movie than anything creative in its own right.
Another goes out of its way to remind us of the prior flick. We find the same antagonistic dynamic between Reggie and Jack, and a number of scenes consciously echo memorable sequences from the first film.
Because of this, Another comes with a feeling of obligation more than inspiration. I get the impression the movie exists to churn out box office dollars, and it feels like a calculated attempt to create a hit than anything clever or creative.
Murphy and Nolte do little to alter this impression via their less than stellar performances. While both do okay in their roles, both seem a little bored with the project and fail to demonstrate the chemistry that they showed in 1982.
In particular, Murphy looks vaguely annoyed to play Reggie again. He seems semi-peeved through the whole movie and lacks the dynamic charisma he showed the first time.
Like the original, Another exists more as a series of action and/or comedy scenes that revolve around a loose plot. The 1982 flick boasted enough charm and vivacity to overcome its lackluster narrative.
The sequel’s other flaws make the limp story more problematic, though. We find ourselves stuck down a series of dead-end streets as we await the inevitable confrontation with the Iceman, and the plot just doesn’t offer much substance.
Again, I can’t call Another 48 Hrs. a poor movie, as it keeps the viewer with it. Nonetheless, it remains a shadow of the original and remains a disappointment 31 years after its debut.