A hard-hitting opening starts The Laughing Policeman, a film, in which, the extraneous cryptic mystery and strenuous investigation scenes hamper it greatly. It takes an hour and a half of its 111 minutes for its investigation to feel like it's going somewhere plotwise, making this too minor of a work to garner emotional connection and more than a passive resonance. It's quite bland and boring.
A good solid 3 star movie. A mass murder takes place on a San Francisco bus and one of the victims is Walter Matthau's partner. Mattthau and new partner Dern must piece together why he was there and who the killer is. Matthau is at his crabby best and Dern comes off as almost sleazy at times, which works well with his character. The story gets a bit convoluted by the end but still makes for an enjoyable film.
Gritty police thriller creates of genuine atmosphere of 1970s San Francisco underworld, but falls a bit short in the story department. Excellent performances, especially from Walter Matthau and Bruce Dern - but the plot is just too dry and convoluted, and drags in the middle. But still, worth watching for the clashing personalities of Matthau and Dern and the hard-hitting, if dated, style.