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"JOHN Q"
(2002) (Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Heavy Extreme Heavy Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Heavy None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor Minor Heavy Moderate Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A desperate father takes various people in an emergency room hostage to ensure that his sick son gets the heart transplant he needs.
PLOT:
John Q. Archibald (DENZEL WASHINGTON), his wife Denise (KIMBERLY ELISE) and their young son Mike (DANIEL E. SMITH) lead a relatively happy life despite their various financial problems that stem from John's hours being cut back at the factory where he works with his friend, Jimmy (DAVID THORNTON).

When Mike is suddenly stricken ill and Dr. Turner (JAMES WOODS), the head cardiologist at Hope Memorial Hospital, informs the Archibalds that their boy needs a heart transplant or he'll die, their world is shattered. It gets worse, however, when hospital administrator Rebecca Payne (ANNE HECHE) informs them that John's health insurance doesn't cover that operation and its related costs, and that unless they can come up with a $75,000 down payment on the total $250,000 amount, Mike won't be put on the transplant waiting list.

To his shock, John learns that's true, and so the two set out to raise the money any way they can, including sell most of their personal effects. When that doesn't raise enough and the hospital announces it's going to discharge Mike, John becomes desperate and takes Turner and a handful of other people in the emergency room hostage.

Among those held by John is Mitch (SHAWN HATOSY), a cocky young man with a penchant for beating his lover; Lester (EDDIE GRIFFIN) a wise-cracking man who there's with a bloody hand; expectant parents Miriam (TROY BEYER) and Steve Smith (TROY WINBUSH), and Max (ETHAN SUPLEE), the unarmed security guard who isn't about to risk his life for such a low-paying job.

Arriving on the scene is veteran hostage negotiator Lt. Frank Grimes (ROBERT DUVALL) who tries to go through the normal drill, but must deal with Monroe (RAY LIOTTA), the police chief who shows up and wants his men to take out John as quickly and quietly as possible. Unfortunately for both of them, smarmy TV reporter Tuck Lampley (PAUL JOHANSSON) also shows up, as does a horde of supporters who crowd the streets and cheer on John's efforts.

As Mike gets sicker and the police get more edgy, John must deal with the various issues that pop up in the ER, as well as the increasingly intense hostage situation, all as he attempts to force the hospital to put Mike on the transplant waiting list and then finds himself forced to take extreme measures to make that happen.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast, it doesn't seem likely that a great deal of teens (the most likely viewers) will want to.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For violence, language and intense thematic elements.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • DENZEL WASHINGTON plays the desperate blue-collar father who takes measures into his own hands to help his ailing son by taking an emergency room hostage to ensure surgery for him.
  • KIMBERLY ELISE plays John's wife who's worried and distraught about Mike's condition.
  • DANIEL E. SMITH plays John's ailing son who needs a heart transplant to live.
  • ROBERT DUVALL plays the hostage negotiator who arrives on the scene and must deal with John's demands as well as Monroe wanting his men to kill the kidnapper. He uses some profanity.
  • JAMES WOODS plays the heart surgeon held hostage by John who's somewhat cold to his plight and briefly uses strong profanity.
  • ANNE HECHE plays the hospital administrator who's also cold to John's plight.
  • EDDIE GRIFFIN plays one of the emergency room hostages who makes various wisecracks and uses some profanity.
  • RAY LIOTTA plays the edgy police chief who doesn't like Grimes and wants his men to end the standoff by killing the suspect.
  • SHAWN HATOSY plays another hostage who's a jerk to everyone and an abusive boyfriend/husband to the woman with him. He uses some profanity.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this dramatic thriller that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 2 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Violence consists of a man taking others hostage at gunpoint, some fighting over that gun or hitting of others, a sniper shooting and injuring a man, and a miscellaneous woman being killed when a large truck strikes her car.

    Some of those moments and others have bloody results (including a brief and rather graphic shot of heart transplant surgery), and they, the overall hostage situation, and a scene where a man nearly takes his own life by shooting himself in the head may be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes (including the protagonist who takes people hostage and a minor character who apparently beats his girlfriend/wife), while tense family moments are present in the form of a husband and wife who are told their sick son is going to die.

    Beyond that, some very brief drinking and smoking occur. If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • John's friend, Jimmy and others drink beer at a little league baseball game.
  • Mitch claims his drunk driving caused his girlfriend/wife's injuries, but no one believes that (and we don't see any of it).
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Lester's hand is bloody as he's in the ER.
  • Mitch's girlfriend/wife has a big bruise on her head, while he has a few scrapes on his arm.
  • A gunshot victim shows up at the ER and his bare chest is bloody. Later, Turner's surgical gown has some blood on it after working on this man.
  • Mitch's face is rather bloody after John head-butts him several times.
  • We see some blood on a large bandage on a man.
  • There's a little bit of blood on a man's face after John repeatedly punched him earlier.
  • A surgeon readies a rotary chest saw to use on a donor's chest. While we don't see the actual cutting, we hear it and see some blood splatter onto the man's surgical mask.
  • We see a large and bloody hole in a person's chest during a heart transplant (seen from above), as well as the donor heart both in and out of that cavity (with bloody results there and on the surgeon's gloves).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Despite his intentions, John obviously has both for taking those in an emergency room hostage and making threats that he's going to kill some of them if he doesn't get what he wants.
  • Payne and Grimes come off as being cold and uncaring toward John's plight.
  • Mitch acts like a jerk toward everyone, including his girlfriend/wife who he obviously beats (she has a bruise on her face and what may be a broken arm from his actions - we only see the results) and calls her "a stupid bitch." He also calls Steve, who's black, "Tyrone" (presumably a racist statement).
  • Monroe has a bad attitude toward Grimes and his police behavior, while other cops also belittle Grimes and his age. Monroe also plans to send a sniper in to take care of John without informing Grimes.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," and a few of the more gory/bloody ones under "Blood/Gore" may also be tense or unsettling for some viewers, while the overall hostage situation might be the same for some.
  • A woman drives around various vehicles on a hilly road. While passing a large truck, she tries to cut in front of it just as another large truck approaches from the opposite direction. That second truck clips the back of her car, spinning her around and stopping her in front of the first truck that then smashes into her car, severely damaging it and injuring her.
  • Mike suddenly collapses while running from first to second base in a baseball game and convulses on the ground. John and others frantically rush to him, carrying him to their truck and then race him off to the hospital.
  • John pushes Turner back through a door and then holds a handgun on him. When others in the ER see he has a gun, they panic and run.
  • Steve pushes Mitch backwards who then sprays something caustic into John's eyes and then stabs a scalpel into his arm/shoulder. John then head-butts Mitch a few times (causing the latter to have a rather bloody face) and the two then struggle on the floor. Mitch's girlfriend then goes over, grabs that spray, and sprays it into Mitch's eyes before kicking him twice in the back and then once in the crotch as he writhes on the floor in pain.
  • As John talks on the phone, a sniper in a ventilation shaft prepares to shoot him.
  • A man holds a gun to his own temple, and then puts it into his mouth. Later, he puts the gun to his head again and pulls the trigger, but the safety is on and it doesn't fire. As others try to get word to him that would prevent him from killing himself, he turns off the walkie-talkie and puts the gun to his head again (but ultimately doesn't shoot himself).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Rifles/Shotguns/Assault rifles/Scalpel: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or attempt to kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Wake up, dipsh*t," "Sh*t hole," "Give a sh*t," "What the hell are you doing?" "Jerks," "Fricking/Frigging," "Screw you," "My ass," "Shut up," "Beat-a-ho tribe" (what Lester says Mitch belongs to for beating his girlfriend/wife), "Bastard," "Nuts" (crazy), "You stupid rent-a-cop," "Fat ass," "What the hell is going on?" "You stupid bitch," "This sucks," "Haul your ass," "Balls" (testicles), "Save my ass," "Don't give a damn" and "I'll be damned."
  • John takes a group of people hostage to get what he wants.
  • Payne gives "the finger" to Grimes (with both hands behind her back) as she walks away from him.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 "f" words (one of which sounded like it was used with "mother"), 9 "s" words, 9 asses (3 used with "hole"), 9 damns, 5 hells, 2 S.O.B.s, 4 uses each of "G-damn" and "Swear to God," 3 of "Oh my God," 2 of "Jesus Christ" and 1 use each of "Jesus," "My God," "Oh God," "Oh Jesus" and "Oh my Sweet Jesus" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A miscellaneous woman shows some cleavage, while Mitch's girlfriend/wife wears some very small cut-off shorts.
  • We briefly see a man in what looks like his underwear (as John takes him out in public at gunpoint).
  • SMOKING
  • Jimmy smokes once and is seen with a cigarette pack rolled in his shirtsleeve, while Mitch prepares to smoke, but John stops him.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • The Archibald's financial status (and their car being repossessed) puts some strain on their family life, as does their son's sickness (and initial, sudden collapse) and them having to sell most everything to raise money for his operation.
  • We see some brief footage of another family dealing with their dying child (from a distance we see a priest giving the last rites and later see that the child has died and see the grief-stricken mother's reaction).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The current state of the health care system and its drawbacks/limitations.
  • Whether John was justified - in any way - in his actions.
  • Heart transplants.
  • John and Denise selling their personal effects to raise money for their son's operation.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A woman drives around various vehicles on a hilly road. While passing a large truck, she tries to cut in front of it just as another large truck approaches from the opposite direction. That second truck clips the back of her car, spinning her around and stopping her in front of the first truck that then smashes into her car, severely damaging it and injuring and possibly killing her.
  • John pushes Turner back through a door and then holds a handgun on him.
  • John smashes a security camera.
  • A gunshot victim shows up at the ER and his bare chest is bloody (we don't see the shooting).
  • Although we don't see the act of violence, the woman with Mitch has a bruise on her head and a presumably broken arm, reportedly from him beating her.
  • Steve pushes Mitch backwards who then sprays something caustic into John's eyes and then stabs a scalpel into his arm/shoulder. John then head-butts Mitch a few times (causing the latter to have a rather bloody face) and the two then struggle on the floor. Mitch's girlfriend then goes over, grabs that spray, and sprays it into Mitch's eyes before kicking him twice in the back and then once in the crotch as he writhes on the floor in pain.
  • We see a quick view of the above scene where the large truck smashes into the car sitting in its way.
  • A sniper shoots a man (with the shot also blowing out a glass window), and we initially believe he's been mortally wounded, but that turns out not to be the case.
  • John grabs and yanks a man down from the ceiling and then repeatedly punches him on the floor (we don't see the impact).
  • A man holds a gun to his own temple, and then puts it into his mouth. Later, he puts the gun to his head again and pulls the trigger, but the safety is on and it doesn't fire. As others try to get word to him that would prevent him from killing himself, he turns off the walkie-talkie and puts the gun to his head again (but ultimately doesn't shoot himself).



  • Reviewed February 11, 2002 / Posted February 15, 2002

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