Bullitt with Steve McQueen [Review]

I’m convinced that there must be two “Bullitt” movies with Steve McQueen. Because all the reviews seem to talk about one of the best action movies ever, the best car chase ever, a great story. They use words like “thriller”, “epic”, and “gritty”, but none of these things apply to the film I saw.

The director made sure that whenever the audience came within view of a potentially tense moment to quickly salve their nerves with at least ten minutes of sleep inducing banter, bored toothpick chewing, newspaper and frozen diner purchasing, car washing, clicky machine watching, plane embarkment and disembarkment, and, of course, coffee house music. Nothing is resolved in the end. And the plot is essentially: witness gets shot, cops slowly work their way from one clue to the next, as they learn more about why the man was killed. Eventually more people get shot, and no-one cares. I’m not kidding. No-one cares. The guy who was impatient to get the witness’s testimony starts reading his newspaper, Steve goes home and washes his hands in the bathroom sink, and the credits roll. The end.

I’m convinced that it would be possible to induce a heart attack in the director simply by going back in time and showing him a modern action flick like The Bourne Identity. And the infamous 100 Mph car chase through San Francisco? It was quite possibly the most boring car chase I’ve ever seen. It’s entirely possible that this was a great action flick by the standards of it’s day, but it’s not by today’s.

On the up side, they did a great job with the transfer to HD so you can watch the boredom in all its glory.