American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
You know how sometimes, in a dream, you'll see these familiar scenes and faces floating in and out of focus, but you're not sure how they connect? "Another 48 HRS" is a movie that feels the same way. The broad outlines are familiar from the original "48 HRS" and the villains and cops are all basic movie stereotypes. But what exactly is happening here? Everybody seems to be looking for the Iceman. The Iceman is the criminal mastermind in control of all drug traffic in the San Francisco Bay area. A cop named Cates (Nick Nolte) has been on his trail for years - but every time he gets close, the Iceman slips away. Meanwhile, a convict named Hammond (Eddie Murphy) is about to be released from prison. Maybe he knows who the Iceman is. Maybe he can help Cates. On the other hand, maybe he can't. He sure doesn't want to.
Watching the movie, I was trying to remember the details of the 1982 film. In that one, Nolte was on the trail of some cop killers and he sprung Hammond from prison for 48 hours to help him out. They turned into quite a team - the hung-over white cop and the confident young black man, both suspicious of each other, both learning to be friends.
The movie contained the scene that made Murphy into a star, a scene where he walked into a redneck bar, impersonated a police officer, and intimidated everyone with the sheer force of his personality.
In "Another 48 HRS," years have passed. Cates has stopped drinking (and also apparently lost his long-suffering girlfriend). Hammond is back in prison, but Cates is holding $475,000 for him, for when he gets out. Meanwhile, in a shoot-out during a motorcycle race, Cates kills a man who fired at him. But the other guy's gun disappears, and with no evidence apart from Cates' troublesome personnel record, his badge is lifted and he's charged with manslaughter.