Image from here.
If you've watched more than two movies with me, you have probably heard me complain about what I consider self-indulgent directors creating films that are much longer than they need to be. One or two people have probably heard it many more times than they should have to.* I heard a rumor somewhere that it started with studios wanting to fill videotapes or something, but whatever. The end result is action scenes that go on far longer than they should, and stories that meander off and sometimes never return.
If you want to see a great example of old school cop drama movie-making, watch Bullitt. It's the movie that sealed Steve McQueen's reputation as a badass, and contains what is still one of the best movie car chases I've ever seen. No music. No explosions or driving on the sidewalk. Just two cars hauling ass through San Francisco. It made enough of an impact at the time that a number of urban myths grew up around the scene, and the movie.
You will probably be surprised at how simple the story and effects are, and how quickly it seems to be over. I was, when I watched it again recently.
* Sorry, Biscuit.