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H4

USA 2012
produced by
Heather Ankeny, Albena Dodeva, Solomon Campbell, Steve Harris, Amad Jackson, Dwayne Perry, Mark Schwartz, Pierson Blaetz, Martin Lazniarz, Gil Bindelglas, Harry Lennix (executive), Giovanni Zelko (executive) for Xponent Media, Sweet Prince Productions, LSB Pictures, Triumvirate Pictures
directed by Paul Quinn
starring Harry Lennix, Amad Jackson, Angus Macfadyen, Geno Monteiro, Keith David, Terrell Tilford, Victoria Gabrielle Platt, Dwight E. Myers (= Heavy D), Candice Coke, Jeryl Prescott, Keir Thirus, Sharon Ferguson, Lamont Thomphson, Susan Dalian, Micheal Kass, Evita Castine, Karl Calhoun, John J. Jordan, Nick Gillie, Kimani Shillingford, Jaye Razor, Tarnue Massaquoi, Diarra Kilpatrick, Toyin Moses, David Tinsley, Ethan Stone, Cheray O'Neal, Vanoy Burnough, Gichi Gamba, Nick Ryan, Kevin Ross, Roger Robinson, Justin Alston, Robert Clements, Amentha Dymally, Kevin Welbeck, Christian Broussard, Keith Alexander, Heather Ankeny, Owiso Odera, Folasade Aremu
screenplay by Ayanna Thompson, based on Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2 by William Shakespeare, music by Darin Atwater

Henry IV, Falstaff

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Los Angeles, today: Henry IV (Harry Lennix) is a powerful leader in the black community who's respected by all - but he fails to control his own son and heir apparent Harry, Prince of Watts (Amad Jackson), to whom politics let alone diplomacy mean little, and who has fallen to the lures of a criminal life, as propagated by his friend, the cowardly Falstaff (Angus Macfadyen). So while his father tries to keep things together, Harry instigates a war within the community, a war he manages to win more by chance than design. But Harry's no fool, so when his father lies on his death bed, he is quick to snag his power, get rid of his enemies using the Chief Justice (Victoria Gabrielle Platt) as his fig leaf, and after the death of Henry IV he does a full 360 on his former life, even if that means betraying those who got him where he is today ...

 

Now H4 is not by a longshot the first modernization of one (or in this case two) of Shakespeare's plays, but yet another film that proves how vibrant and universal a playwright the man actually was - and ok, granted, this is something that didn't need further proof.

But all that said, taken by its own merits, H4 is a fast-paced urban drama with Shakespeare's language going surprisingly well with the contemporary settings and action, and while the direction finds just the right balance between the necessary grittiness and the bard's larger-than-life story, the (strong) cast give uniformly down-to-earth performances (excepting Angus Macfadyen of course, as Falstaff needs to be ham by nature), all making this into a very cool piece of genre cinema. Now granted, Shakespeare purists will probably turn their heads in disgust (out of principle rather than judgment), but for the rest of us, this comes across as very enjoyable genre entertainment.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
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directed by
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written by
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