Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Bit of 2 Henry IV in RED 2

RED 2. Dir. Dean Parisot. Perf. Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins, and John Malkovich. 2013. DVD. Summit Entertainment, 2013.

RED 2 is a film about spies who have left their respective services. They're labeled "Retired, Extremely Dangerous"—or RED. Both RED 2 and RED are fine, occasionally funny, interesting action adventure films. Of course, I'm in it for the Shakespeare.

At one point in RED 2, the good guys have to break in to a secret psychiatric facility located somewhere near the Tower of London. How would a group of retired spies, Helen Mirren among them, do so? Let's take a look:

video

There you have it--pretend to be an insane woman who thinks she's the Queen of England—but not the current queen. With a nice red wig and a convincing sense of paranoia (one Queen Elizabeth I might have shared at some points in her life?), our spy successfully infiltrates the facility, quoting, as she does so, from 2 Henry IV. The line is spoken by Henry IV himself in the dark middle of the play.

I enjoy the layers in the scene. A retired spy pretends to be Queen Elizabeth I and quotes what Shakespeare thought Henry IV might have said while crying out for Cecil; complaining about Popish plots and Mary, Queen of Scots; and begging not to be sent to the Tower—and then making an off-hand remark about how Bette Davis played her Elizabeth I.

Links: The Film at IMDb.


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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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