Picks and Pans Review: Another 48 Hrs.

updated 06/25/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/25/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Eddie Murphy, Nick Nolte

There's a scene in this movie where Murphy and Nolte. reprising their roles as a career con and the San Francisco cop who dragoons him into crime-fighting, sit and talk quietly. Nolte essentially apologizes; Murphy, stunned, reacts with skeptical, confused affection.

And there you have the essence of what might have been, if director Walter Hill was a little stronger in the guts department, a first-class sequel: Two accomplished actors taking familiar characters in a different direction. As much creativity as there was in the original, even.

Instead, Hill and his writers, John Fasano & Jeb Stuart and Larry Gross, took the laziest, least daring way out, filling the movie with a succession of gunfights and scenes of people falling through windows. Whoever managed to secure the shell casing and broken glass recycling concessions on this movie must have gotten fabulously rich.

As for plot: Nolte is being framed for killing a crook who took a shot at him first. He has been keeping money for Murphy, who is finishing his prison sentence, and says he won't let Murphy have the cash until they track down a drug-dealing magnate known only as the Iceman.

He's known only as the Iceman for just about two minutes, however, since it becomes obvious immediately who the culprit is, even though Nolte and Murphy have to bash around for nearly 90 minutes before they figure it out.

There's no attempt to sketch out the characters' lives. The attempts at revisiting the anti-buddy-buddy humor are just square, focusing on Murphy threatening Nolte with such comments as, "You're in deep s—-" and "Your a— is going to be grass." For drama there's Nolte snarling at a colleague, "You're a disgrace. There's nothin' worse than a bad cop."

Bernie Casey does a nice turn as one of Murphy's prison pals, and Tisha (House Party) Campbell is quite appealing as his daughter.

Nolte and Murphy seem to be more or less marking time. They don't embarrass themselves, but they would be fools to do another sequel like this. All right: even extraordinarily richer fools, but fools nonetheless. (R)

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