However, the Duke's firearms advertisements have been made irrelevant by government legislation, the movie's feeble attempts to suggest Dirty Harry's tactics are more suited for England and not the US have been made irrelevant by congress and presidential approval as well.
Other than that, it could be classified as a more enjoyable, and at least socially, emotionally, and ethically conscious movie than the Dirty Harry series.
After the financial success of "Dirty Harry" starring Clint Eastwood, John Wayne on record regretted not accepting the role when it was (along with Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchum and Burt Lancaster) also offered to him, so when "McQ" was made, it was a response to the "Dirty Harry" and "Bullitt" movies. It opens with two officers shot sometime during the night, and by the time we see the person who was shooting at them, he turned out to be a cop too(a sergeant to be corrected) leaving the question of why. But as soon as this sergeant dropped something into this guys car, he gets shot in the back from a 12 gauge shotgun. It is daytime again, and we finally see our star, McQ played by John Wayne waking up to answer a call from his boat, struggling to find a socket to plug his phone. He's then told that a friend of his has been shot and is in critical condition. And it was during then that we learn more about who the sergeant really is, who happens to be one of McQ's best friends named Detective Sgt. Stan Boyle (William Bryant). And just when he's about to go and visit his friend at the hospital by heading straight to his car, he first catches someone attempting to break in. Then someone unknown person tries to take a shot at him before he manages to shoot him dead first.
You know for some reason, after watching this movie I'm quite glad John Wayne as well as other actors rejected the "Dirty Harry" role since in this film, Wayne not only "looked" old but also appear to look like one as well. He not only looked tired, but the story looked like that it had to be adapted to convenient Wayne, the actor since in McQ he's playing a retired sergeant, who hasn't like really quit because he felt he still had an obligation to find out what is really going on. And for some strange reason much of these older actors, particularly John Wayne looked much healthier on westerns than playing detectives or people who're still working in the police force- he even looked funny driving fast on his 1973 pontiac trans am like it was my grandfather that was doing all investigating. Besides Wayne, Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea, Brian Keith, William Holden, Glenn Ford, and Gary Cooper when age looked like that it was catching up to them all still looked good when they starred in Westerns. I mean, if you can still hear an actor, panting on a small chase scene, it means that perhaps it'd probably would've been better had he not be playing detective.
2 out of 4 stars
also stars Eddie Albert, Diana Muldar, Collen Dewhurst, Clu Gulager, David Huddleston, Al Letteri, Julie Adams and William Bryant.
directed by John Sturges.