11 Mar 2011

Ironclad Movie Review

Is the year 1215 and the rebels barons of England have forced their King John (Paul Giamatti: The Illusionist, Cinderella Man) to put his royal seal to the Magna Carta, a document that upheld the rights of free-men. Yet, within a few months of signing the Magna Carta, the king reneged on his word and backed by the Pope, he assembles a mercenary Danish army led by Tiberius (Vladimir Kulich: The 13th WarriorHighlander (Director's Cut) on the south coast of England with the intention of bringing the barons and the country back to his tyrannic rule.

Baron Albany (Brian Cox: The Escapist, Zodiac (Widescreen Edition), Marshall, a templar monk (James Purefoy: Rome, George and the Dragon) who has taken vows of chastity and nonviolence and a band of rebels are forced to take Rochester Castle in an attempt to defend the people from their king until reinforcements arrive. During the siege, Marshall's vows are continuously tempted by Lady Isabel (Kate Mara: Transsiberian, Iron Man 2 (Single-Disc Edition) and her heaving bosom.

 Filmmaker Jonathan English deploys robus production values, plunging us into squalid medieval society so effectively that we can feel the mud between our toes. The special effects cleverly extend the images, and an specially strong cast createds shaded characters we can identify with.

'Ironclad' is at its strongest when it comes to the physical side of things. It does not shy away from gory violence. Heads, hands and feet go flying, blood splatters all over the the camera's lens, and there's a particularly nasty bit involving a man and a catapult. The weapons feel like instruments of destruction rather than Medieval-chic accessories, and often succeed in making viewers wince.

The fight choreography is particularly impressive - characters look like soldiers trying to tear each others' hearts out, as opposed to actors trying to high-five each other's swords. The action sacrifices style and appearance for physicality and brutality, which results in a refreshing level of authenticity.

The 13th century England recreated looks good enough to fool anyone but a history buff. It's also a strange mixture of boyish filmmaking excess and messy historical detail.

 All in all, if you like the genre, you won't be dissapointed. The film certainly ticks many of the boxes of an action blockbuster.

                                                         Ironclad Trailer

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