Two sketchily conceived B-movies in one, starting as an urban policier and then abruptly turning into a rural manhunt. Neither segment is particularly inspiring but director Nicholas Ray does have a penchant for occasionally inserting intensely unsettling sequences—Robert Ryan’s brutal plea to his victim as he extracts a confession; the almost frightening way a shot of Ida Lupino’s face is withheld during her introduction; and the creepy way the killer’s face is obscured by camera angles when he is finally revealed. These moments alone aren't nearly enough to balance out the slackness of the plot, but they're worth at least something.
Sixteen years later the FX don't hold up, the cinematography looks chintzy, the set pieces are surprisingly small scale, and the Logan/Jean Grey tension seems forced. But Singer still got a lot right, including a wry undercurrent that never allows the movie to take itself too seriously, even if it’s a more sober and thoughtful comic book actioner than anything that came before it. He also chose the absolute correct core for the film: a surprisingly tender and plausible friendship between Hugh Jackman’s Logan and Anna Paquin’s Rogue; their connection is beautifully and understatedly delivered.