With supercool 70s chic and a smart crime thriller vibe, this is a welcome throwback to action dramas of the past, before they chose spectacle over story.
This depends on two factors: how you define action movie, and how you define modern.
The French Connection is Patient Zero in Hollywood’s epidemic of blood, guts, and mayhem, the Typhoid Mary that spread gunplay, car chases, and psychotic cops throughout filmdom. Like Typhoid Mary, though, The French Connection has only a mild, nonfatal case of the sickness that continues to rage through movies. This film demonstrates how smart action movies can be, and points out how dumbed down most of them have gotten.