Detectives Beyond Borders blog about his experience watching it and it appears his chief complaint is one of the meta-text or the heavy-handedness of the film's nods (heavy-headedness?) to its predecessors and lineage - particularly when Gene Hackman's detective is interviewed by a potential new client and she asks him, on behalf of the audience, if his model of detective is anything like (Dashiell Hammett's) Sam Spade.
a thing or two about crime flicks and Andrew Nette who covered Night Moves on his Pulp Curry blog (and in honor of the late Michael Cimino had this recent re-visit of Year of the Dragon - which Nette points out owes a conscious debt to Roman Polanski's Chinatown).
But being a fan both of crime fiction and film of the mid and late twentieth century I've found particularly the private detective subgenre to be rife with metatextual nods to influences and ancestry, especially at times of cultural shifts and pivots.
No, but man, they make sweet music together.
New times, new politics, same old shit.
Detectives Beyond Borders and Pulp Curry have some swell pieces on Jack's Return Home author Ted Lewis and his final novel - the face-melting GBH - go check em out) begins the schtick that Hodges and Michael Caine continued in their next (and very-meta) film Pulp (1972) in which Caine plays a pulp novelist drawn into actual events that mirror the plots of some of his hacky creations. That credit sequence of Carter on the train reading Farewell My Lovely winks pretty hard without becoming parody and the film itself is more or less a detective picture in which the detective is anything but noble and all the elements of a typical revenge thriller are left out a beat too long - to spoil, to twist, to sour, to hurt.
What that says about the film makers' artistic/commercial intent or the audience's perceived appetite vs. the actual reception/rejection it received is worth thinking on. Similarly, you could almost compare Payback and Payback: Straight Up's film makers'/audience's intent and reception with equal intrigue.
So yeah, it's nothing new. It's more or less its own trope by now.
@CrimeFicTrope on Twitter is always good for a chuckle.