I couldn't help but recall that scene from the Simpsons when Apu's wife gives birth to octuplets and Marge Simpson bakes banana bread for them and brings it over, and it goes something like this: <>
Marge: I knew you had your hands full with the babies, so I baked you some banana bread.
Apu: (sarcastic) Oh hallelujah, our problems are solved. We have banana bread.
Marge: Well, you don't have to be sarcastic.
Marge: Maybe you two should get a nanny.
Apu: Yes, and what would I pay her with? Banana bread? Sorry, sorry, it's just that we haven't slept in days, and we're running out of money and ... banana bread? What the hell were you thinking? Banana bread. Apologize, apologize again. As a token of forgiveness, please take this baby.
What the filmmaker was thinking? That teaching kids photography (!!!) of all things can lift them out of poverty? Maybe she should've taught them some really useful skill, like reading or math? Anyone can do photography, and it seems that any well-intentioned westerner can afford to spend some time taking a walk "on the wild side", so afterwards they can sit around safely in their first-world country and pat each other on the back for all those humanitarian efforts that existed largely in their mind. I'm sure that the children benefited only marginally from their experience and are probably still living the same life as before.
The movie is a complete mess from start to finish. I haven't seen such level of overacting since 'Planet of the Apes'. It was so bad that it actually was kinda good! After the movie ended and I was walking to my car I was still savoring all those jokes that came into my mind during especially ridiculous scenes. A perfect movie to see with your friends, not unlike "The Stuff", although "The Stuff" was far more superior both in storyline and actors. If you've never seen Photoshop filters applied to film, go see this movie!
Gene Hackman's performance as a lead was a dud. I couldn't relate to his character at all - there's no internal drama, or really anything. The tagline - "good cop"? The drinking, whoring, racial slurs, shooting unarmed people? No wonder NYPD is knee-deep in lawsuits up to this day.
And a little bit of science fiction made it into the movie. It's clear that NYPD at the time made use of the time machine, because there is no possibility that you can rip apart the luxury car, including interior and the engine, and then put everything back so the car seemed untouched, all in 4 hours (!!!).
The much talked-about car chase is just a long, long, very long car chase. The 'near-collision' scenes are so heavily cut and edited, that all appearance of the continuous chase is gone, and one might be reminded of the editing style of the 'made for TV' films. It wasn't worth to block all that traffic in Brooklyn to shoot it.
One of the most overrated movies of the 70's.
Camera movement - well, it seems it's shaking so violently as to conceal the absence of any kind of choreographed movement in action scenes. The one scene with the attack on the CTX truck convoy is just ridiculous. Are we expected to believe that trained soldiers will just jump out of the back of the truck and run sideways into the volleys of bullets provided by the North Korean terrorist squad? And why those hardcore killers seem to lack the basic understanding of what 'being in the line of fire' is? They just shoot in the same direction standing in the column formation. So chaotic action and a lot of noise makes for surprisingly dull movie.
Story line - predictably executed. The 'twist' is so obvious and is given away so early in the movie when Hyun/Hee looks at the photograph that basically there's no suspense factor. Chemistry between actors is zero, and acting in general is not stellar. Sorry, just couldn't believe in the dramatism of the 'one partner dying on other partner's hands' scene. Really bad acting.
But the worst part of the movie is definitely the SOUNDTRACK.