John Q (2002) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama
Warner Brothers || PG13 - 116 minutes - $28.99 || April 7, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-05-03


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Writer(s): James Kearns (written by)
Cast: Denzel Washington, Kimberly Elisa, Daniel Smith, James Woods, Robert DuVall


Theatrical Release Date: February 15, 2002


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Audio Commentary
  • 2 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Fact Track
  • Focus Points
  • Theatrical Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Stereo 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, German

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.::THE FILM::.

As I flipped through my catalog titles today, I realized something magical. No, itís not the fact that I have more titles than most video stores do; I found out that Iíve never actually seen a bad movie that Denzel Washington has been in. Starring in 2002ís John Q which is the story of a man on a mission against the HMOís and the Insurance companies of the world, itís a gripping tale that is one of the best movies of all time.

John Archibald (Denzel Washington), his wife Denise (Kimberly Elise), and son Michael (Daniel Smith) are going to a ball game where his son plays. Michael hits the ball and is rounding home plate when he passes out from something, and is rushed to the hospital. The family already struggles with paying their bills on time and are poor, even though both John and Denise have decent jobs. While at the hospital they meet with one of the insurance agents Rebecca (Anne Heche) and the heart surgeon transplant doctor Raymond Turner (James Woods). Turner lets them know that a heart transplant is the best option to save their son, and without it odds are he will die within months or weeks. John and Denise quickly agree to do the transplant, but Rebecca informs them of one big issue: money.

It turns out that Johnís work had recently changed their HMO to a different system, and it no longer covers crisis like this anymore. Heís been paying the same rate, but itís a new insurance policy and it wonít help his son out. They need roughly $250,000 for the transplant, and in order for Daniel to be put on the heart transplant waiting list, they need to pay thirty percent of the bill, which is $75,000 soon. Since they are so poor, they have to turn to every possible avenue to get the money. John pawns off an expensive diamond ring, tries to get a new job but gets turned down because heís ďoverqualified,Ē and does everything else he can to raise the money but only manages $20,000.

With no other alternatives left, John gets a gun and heads to the hospital and places the people there in a situation. John announces free health care for everyone, and that heís not leaving until his son gets the heart he needs. Heís doing this to save his sonís life, and as it becomes apparent as the movie progresses, he will do anything to save Danielís life by any means necessary. He bars the door with chains so no one can get in or out of the hospital and Lt. Frank Grimes (Robert Duvall) is brought in to deal with the hostage negotiations. Grimes assures John that everything is being done to help him out with his son, but demands to know that everyone is okay inside and asks him to let some people go in terms of good faith. John is only doing this to help his son out, and all this time Rebecca fights with him every step of the way about putting his son on the transplant list. Can Daniel make it onto the transplant list? Will John make it out alive in the situation heís in?

As one of the best movies Iíve ever had the pleasure of seeing, Iím keeping this summary short and sweet because I donít want to spoil the film for you. If you havenít seen it, you need to right now. Washington, Duvall, and the rest of the cast (yes, even Eddie Griffin) put on a monumental performance that is believable and kept me gripped to the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. Make no mistake about it: this is one of the best movies of all time, and you would be a fool not to see it.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Commentary by Nick Cassavetes, James Kearns, Mark Burg, and Rogier Stoffers: The crew talks about their experiences on the film, how it was made, and various other topics. They crack a few jokes but they donít really connect, and the voices are dry and a bit boring at times. I wouldnít recommend taking a listen to this one unless you just have to.

Fighting For Care (34 minutes): A long feature dedicated to the subject of the film, which deals with the organ donor shortages and the high cost of medicine. Itís incredibly informational, but itís long and does drag on towards the end.

Behind the Scenes (17 minutes): The cast and crew talk about the filming process of the movie and how it came to fruition. Itís short and to the point, so if you found the movie to be enjoying, like I did, then be sure to watch this.

Deleted/Alternate Scenes (20 minutes): A few of these are deleted and the rest are alternate scenes from the film. These are well-worth watching, even if you didnít find the movie to be good, as they do add a bit to the story and the character development.

Fact Track: A useless trivia track that plays throughout the movie that probably didnít need to be added. Most of the information is basic knowledge, so I wouldnít bother turning this on unless you just have to.

Focus Points: When you see a giant spinning yellow icon in the top left corner of the screen you press enter and are taken to some behind the scenes footage. After itís done playing, it returns you to the same spot in the film that you left it at. This is a neat extra, but the information given isnít that entertaining or informational.

Finally, the theatrical trailer is also available.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

As great as the movie is, the video quality suffers somewhat from the movie being an older flick and not one based for its visual effects. There is a distinct amount of noise that is present in a decent portion of the film, and at times, becomes a bit distracting when watching it. Black levels were also off, as at times the movie appeared darker than it should have been which also affects the overall color of the film as well. Flesh tones were spot-on in their appearance, and other than the black level issue, the color remained decent. Itís still a great transfer, just not one to show off to your friends.

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track for the dialogue-driven movie doesnít exactly blow your mind when hearing it, but it makes due with what it is. Dialogue levels are consistent throughout the movie, although at times they were a bit too low but then picked up shortly thereafter. Surround use is limited at best; as though I only recall my rear surround speakers going off maybe once or twice. The audio still booms for the voices, and it sounds good. I had hopes that it would sound a bit crisper in terms of the dialogue, but it is still passable.



.::OVERALL::.

John Q is a great movie that has drama, action, and suspense rolled into one perfect combination. The cast is beyond excellent in their roles and the script is phenomenal. The special features package is decent but doesnít sport anything different than the original DVD that came out years ago. The video and audio are also above-average, so this makes it easy for me to say by all means get this one. You donít have to hold anyone hostage to pick this one up, itís pretty cheap.