Head of State (2003)

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Released 9-Feb-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Chris Rock (Director / Actor)
Deleted Scenes-6
Featurette-Making Of
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 91:19
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (47:00) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Chris Rock

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Chris Rock
Bernie Mac
Dylan Baker
Nick Searcy
Lynn Whitfield
Robin Givens
Tamala Jones
James Rebhorn
Keith David
Tracy Morgan
Stephanie March
Robert Stanton
Jude Ciccolella
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Marcus Miller
DJ Quik

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
German Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
French Titling
German Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Some outtakes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Head of State is a movie that I put in the same basket as all the other pointless movies which you watch and then think - "They spent millions making this?". Chris Rock is a great stand-up comic, much like Martin Lawrence is. However, both make some of the most pointless and absurd movies around. In the audio commentary, Rock actually starts out by thanking Dreamworks founders Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen. God knows what those guys were smoking when they approved the financing for this movie.

    Rock plays all-round good citizen Alderman Mays Gilliam, who is seen on TV being a hero. The campaign team for one of the US political parties decides that Mays should be made the candidate for the US presidency for the party in order to gain sympathy from minority voters. They anticipate that he will lose, but that the momentum from the sympathy will be enough to gain votes for the real candidate in a later election.

    So they rope him in, and Mays, along with assistants Martin Geller (Dylan Baker) and Debra Lassiter (Lynn Whitfield), and brother Mitch Gilliam (Bernie Mac) travel around the country gathering support. Little do they know how much support they will get with Mays delivering inspirational speeches and spicing up parties. Inspirational speeches? I think not. The dialogue is certainly biting and throws up a lot of issues in America today (such as education and guns), but not once did Mays talk about what he was going to do about it. It all seems too far-fetched that the public would buy into his ravings about "That ain't right".

    I will not bother describing the rest of the plot as most will probably be able to guess the improbable outcome of the election. There are many improbable (if not impossible) scenes that occur, of which I have to note one in particular. The party scene in which Mays takes over as DJ and the political and invited guests "get down" is so ridiculous that I am not sure why this was not cut and included only as a deleted scene. There are times when Rock has the opportunity to let his stand-up talent shine, but the script doesn't really allow him to do so.

    The DVD presentation itself is adequate, with good video and sound quality, but overall, this is a disappointing movie. May it forever live in peace in bargain bins across the world.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality of Head of State is good without having any real outstanding qualities.

    The movie is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 (consistent with the original aspect ratio in the theatrical release) and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Overall the sharpness is good, but at times does seem to be a little soft. Detail appears a little hazy in some outdoor scenes with a lot of activity in the foreground and background. Grain is present on occasion, but never to an extent that distracts. It is most noticeable against bright clear backdrops such as the sky. Black levels are quite good, with solid blacks. Shadow detail does not really factor into a movie such as this with so many bright and colourful situations, but when there are dark scenes, shadow detail does seem lacking a little as all the blacks merge into one. However, this is only a minor fault in a movie such as this.

    The colour in the transfer is natural, never seeming to be oversaturated or pale. There are many scenes with lots of colour as Mays goes on the campaign trail, and these show up quite well. Aliasing is not really noticeable unless you take note of some shimmering on Venetian blinds. Film artefacts are also rare, with only a small number of white and black flecks being noticeable throughout the movie. Edge enhancement is absent except for a scene at 78:44 against a sunset beach. I am not sure if this scene was intended to depict a commercial on television, but the edge enhancement around the jogger in the scene is very distracting.

    This is an RSDL-formatted disc, with the layer change at 47:00, placed at the point of a cut. It is noticeable, but not too disruptive.

    Overall, the video transfer is good, with a somewhat soft and film-like quality.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    An English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kb/s) soundtrack is provided, accompanied by French and Dutch Dolby Digital soundtracks for those so inclined.

    Dialogue is always clear and easy to understand, with no audio synchronisation problems.

    The music is perhaps the real stand-out for this movie, with some great modern R&B chart music. The music is used to good effect to enhance the stereo feel of the front soundstage (like listening to a good CD in traditional stereo output). The musical score sometime chimes in (as it does quite well in the opening credits), and is a suitable companion to the mostly modern music track.

    Surround activity is quite subdued, but this is understandable for a movie that is not really action or special effects driven. They do come to life on the odd occasion such as the sudden rainstorm at 13:45. For the most part, the subwoofer is silent, but comes into its own when supporting the great music track and the odd explosion (such as at 39:52).

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There aren't too many extras with this release, and none are all that interesting.

Audio Commentary - Chris Rock

    Chris Rock provides the director's commentary, but doesn't come across as being all that funny. He discusses various behind-the-scenes tidbits about the cast, but falls silent on quite a lot of occasions. He mentions in the commentary that he always rues not including more jokes in scenes of his movies. That left me wondering why he didn't put more jokes into the commentary. Overall, the commentary is quite boring, and most will find it hard to sit through it all.

Deleted Scenes

    All the deleted scenes are presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, are 16x9 enhanced, and of similar video quality to the main feature. The sound is adequately presented in Dolby Digital 2.0.

The Making of Head of State - 13:03

    This short making-of featurette is presented at 1.85:1 but is not 16x9 enhanced. It includes some cast interviews and various clips from the movie. It has nothing that is of particular interest.


    Provides a number of still shots of the cast. The photos are 16x9 enhanced.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on:

    Normally, a missing DTS track would have tipped the balance in favour of Region 1. I personally do not think that a DTS soundtrack would improve the enjoyment of this movie at all, so am still inclined to recommend the Region 4 version.


    Head of State is probably good for a slow Sunday afternoon when you're looking for a dumb comedy. This movie provides nothing more than that. Chris Rock's stand-up talent is wasted and the movie is just simply too unbelievable and predictable to be funny.

    The video quality is good, but with no real outstanding features.

    The audio quality is adequate for a movie such as this.

    The extras are not particularly interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Chanh-Khai Ly (My biodegradable bio)
Thursday, June 24, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo DV-SP500, using Component output
DisplayRK-32HDP81 HDTV. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD/DD-EX/DTS/DTS-ES matrix and discrete. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600
SpeakersKef KHT 2005 5.1 Home Theatre System

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