The New Centurions is a somewhat unsatisfying film. Story [from Joseph Wambaugh’s novel] largely avoids like the plague any real confrontation with the gray areas of modern-day citizen-police interactions which are at the seat of unrest.
George C. Scott domintes the first 76 minutes, starring as the oldtime cop with a paradoxical philosophy. He sees nothing wrong in applying some pragmatic justice at the street level (there are several good, sometimes amusing episodes in this regard); at the same time, he is obviously blind to the realization that laws are contemporary reflections of transient attitudes which every few generations undergo a major flushing out.
Also starring is Stacy Keach. The nature of the plot necessarily makes Keach second banana to Scott. After Scott retires from the force the film falls off in impact.