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John Sturges
John Wayne, Eddie Albert, DIana Muldaur, Colleen Dewhurst, Clu Gulager
Writing Credits:
Lawrence Roman

Police Lieutenant Lon McQ investigates the killing of his best friend and uncovers corrupt elements of the police department dealing in confiscated drugs.

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
French Monaural
Castillian Spanish Monaural
Latin Spanish Monaural
Castillian Spanish
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:
Castillian Spanish
Latin Spanish

Runtime: 111 min.
Price: $14.97
Release Date: 6/7/2016

• “John Wayne in Action” Featurette
• Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


McQ [Blu-Ray] (1974)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 7, 2016)

With 1974’s McQ, we get one of John Wayne’s final films – and a flick that takes the Duke away from his usual Western milieu. Set in Seattle, a mysterious assassin murders police officers in cold blood – and then gets shot by hitman Paddy Samuels.

We learn that the original assailant was a cop himself: Detective Sgt. Stan Boyle (William Bryant), the partner of Detective Lt. Lon "McQ" McHugh (Wayne). With an obvious interest at stake, McQ becomes part of the investigation and also a target of whoever launched this murder spree in the first place.

Apparently Wayne was offered the lead role in 1971’s Dirty Harry but he rejected it – and later regretted this decision. As such, one can easily see McQ as Wayne’s attempt to make up for that lost opportunity.

Unfortunately, McQ is no Dirty Harry - no matter how hard it tries, it feels like a pale imitator of its more successful predecessor. I don’t want to imply that McQ slavishly imitates the Eastwood movie, as both take different paths, but it remains clear McQ wouldn’t exist without the popularity of Harry.

Wayne seems game to play a badass cop, but he lacks the vicious bite Clint Eastwood brought to Harry. While Wayne made his bones as a movie tough guy, he always imparted a gentle sense of humanity, so he lacks the dark edge that we need from McQ. We just don’t buy him as a cynical, no-holds-barred presence, so Wayne leaves a mushy hole at the film’s center.

It doesn’t help that Wayne seems to be much too old to play the character as depicted here. As written, McQ seems like someone who should be a much younger man – especially since the film forces him into potential romance with Diana Muldaur, a woman who was more than three decades younger than Wayne. Even without those awkward love interests, though, McQ simply comes across as a role that would better suit a guy in his 40s or maybe 50s, not a man who then pushed 70.

Even if I ignore that factor, McQ fails to give Wayne much into which he can sink his teeth. The plot seems loose and purposeless much of the time. While it feels like something that should prompt great intrigue – what with dead cops and various forms of deceit – the narrative simply lacks much energy.

This means the movie ambles and wanders when it needs to kick into higher gear. There’s an odd sluggishness to the proceedings, and this absence of momentum can turn it into a tough ride.

At times the film feels more like a random collection of strange scenes than a coherent narrative. Probably the worst of the bunch occurs when McQ plies an informant named Myra (Colleen Dewhurst) with cocaine and then beds her. This feels bizarre, gratuitous and wholly unnecessary.

That factor makes McQ longer and slower than it needs to be, and it helps ensure the viewer never buys what it sells. McQ doesn’t flop enough to be a bad movie, but it seems mediocre at best.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B/ Bonus D

McQ appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Though not great, the image seemed satisfactory.

Sharpness appeared generally solid. Some softness cropped up at times, mainly in wider shots, and the movie could look a bit dated. Still, most of the film showed pretty positive delineation. I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement remained absent. I detected no print flaws, and if any noise reduction occurred, it was modest.

Colors were a little erratic and could go from fairly vibrant to somewhat dense. However, the concerns stayed minor. Blacks were appropriately firm and dense, and the many low-light shots demonstrated good delineation and accuracy. This was a largely positive image given the film’s age and origins.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack, Elmer Bernstein’s score became the most successful component. The music showed surprising life and vivacity, much better than I expected from a 43-year-old recording.

The rest of the mix seemed more ordinary, though. Effects were decent but dated; they sounded clear enough but lacked much range. Dialogue showed a somewhat brittle feel but the lines were intelligible. Bolstered by the score, this became a “B” soundtrack.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find a period featurette called John Wayne in Action. This piece runs six minutes, 57 seconds and takes us to the set, where we get comments from director John Sturges, stuntman Denny Arnold and actors John Wayne, Al Lettieri, Julian Christopher and Eddie Albert. It’s a promo piece but it gives us a few decent glimpses of the shoot.

John Wayne embraces his inner Harry Callahan in 1974’s McQ - and he does so in a losing effort. The movie fails to coalesce so it turns into a random collection of scenes without much cohesion or thrust. The Blu-ray provides pretty good picture and audio but it lacks substantial supplements. McQ delivers subpar Wayne

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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