It remains impressive after all this time:

  • The detective partners are a joy to watch, and remain my most favorite pair in movie history. Superb character development and humor.
  • The direction, set design, script, and cinematography are all superb. It's wonderful watching Porter, the lead character, progress from level to level, all the way to the top of the underworld.
  • The character of Val Resnick is the best-developed in the movie, complete with a real good performance. His shining moment is an outburst resulting from pride and fear.
  • The three heads of The Outfit represent more great character development, and are honored with impressive performances, best of which is Kris Kristofferson in what amounts to my most favorite of his work, and a very memorable lead villain.
  • The two ladies in Porter's life are given solid portrayals.
  • There are some more nice appearances here and there, fat guy being one, and his boss another.

So, overall this is a real joyful experience, and my complaints aren't major:

  • Mel Gibson gives a nice performance, but is not a convincing bad/tough guy; his narration is excellent though.
  • The final shootout involving the Orientals was just needless, and its violence almost cartoonish.

A Director's Cut version was released in 2006, and I loved it too.