As police clinically and methodically follow up a multiple killing on a San Francisco bus, this adaptation of the Sjöwall/Wahlöö novel looks as if it's setting the record straight on recent cop films. But in its desire to make no concessions to Dirty Harry and its ilk, it destroys any potential interest with almost wilful perversity. Matthau's disgruntled cop, alienated from family and superiors, emerges as a tedious protagonist, relating to nothing, continually bored and boring. The plot hops around in an unengaging manner, while the excursions into the underworld (pimps, dopers, transvestites, Angels, etc) are patchily directed. Ironically, by the end, complete with car chase and split-second shooting, the film has become indistinguishable from all those movies it's trying so hard to disown.