Burt Reynolds made so many bad films at the peak of his stardom that it's always a pleasant surprise to come across one that isn't a turkey. Not that 1973's Shamus is a great movie, but it's good enough to keep boredom away for an hour-and-a-half. It's an update on 40s private eye films without much of the wit or complex twisting plotting but with added violence - when his sports-stat obsessed informant can't dig up anything, Reynolds' idea of detection generally seems to be beating up hoods for information. And his ex-cop is a distinctly low-rent gumshoe who sleeps on a pool table (easier to keep score that way) and co-opts a portly bar-owner into acting as his secretary to save on the cost of running an office, while the film puts a 70s spin on many of the genre standbys - there's even a scene where he seduces a girl in a bookstore across the road from a club he wants to keep under surveillance a la The Big Sleep. The plot doesn't hang together terribly well, with the plot progressing almost accidentally and scenes sometimes seeming put in almost random order as if they never got round to filming the whole script, but there are a couple of good action scenes, a warehouse chase the highlight, a cool Jerry Goldsmith score that's a 70s cousin to his 60s Our Man Flint and Man From U.N.C.L.E. scores and a curious namecheck for Walter Hill in the bookstore scene that hints at an uncredited rewrite job. Disposable stuff and a lot less fun than Finney and Frears' Gumshoe, with which it shares a MacGuffin, but it gets the job done well enough.