2010s Ironclad (2011)

Published on September 14th, 2011 | by Chris

2

Ironclad (2011)

Review of: Ironclad (2011)

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On September 14, 2011
Last modified:October 3, 2012

Summary:

So, put away the textbooks, and prepare your stomach. Ironclad is a pretty decent medieval action/combat picture based in a compressed, altered version of English history.

Ironclad (2011)Ah, medieval England.  King John has declared the Magna Carta invalid and has gone on a mission of conquest across the land to reclaim his keeps from the peoples.  Or at least that's the version portrayed here.  Just to get this out in the open, this movie is (very) loosely based on the Siege of Rochester Castle.  Let's just say reality is quite, quite different than the events portrayed here, so don't go writing any history reports based on this movie.

In this version, Marshal (James Purefoy) is one of the famed Knights Templar, and becomes involved with the Barons whom King John has now effectively declared war on.  They make their stand at Rochester Castle, where he (inevitably) is conflicted by his vows to the church and his order, and his feelings for Rochester's daughter, Isabel (Kate Mara.)  Here, they manage to stave off the English army, almost literally to the last man (and woman) until the French arrive and save the day.  Again, not what happened.

As an action movie, though, it pretty much fits the bill.  Although it is an extremely graphic one.  Extremely.  There is enough blood visibly spilled, along with severed limbs and heads to fill more than a few buckets.  As an accurate depiction of medieval combat, I'm pretty sure they got pretty close to the mark.  But after a while you just start to go, "oh, man, that was unnecessary!"  Especially when Albany (Brian Cox) is, um, dispatched.

Purefoy is suitably stoic as Marshal, maybe too much so.  Kate Mara won't be winning any Oscars here, and the casting of Paul Giamatti as King John is either pure genius or a royal (ha) screwup.  He's just crazy enough to pull it off, which he does, but you've seen him enough in other movies as "that crazy guy" that it doesn't quite seem right.

So, put away the textbooks, and prepare your stomach.  Ironclad is a pretty decent medieval action/combat picture based in a compressed, altered version of English history.  I still have to give it a mere 6/10, though.  It's fair, but its not all that great.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1233301/

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Description

A ragtag group of Knights Templar hold out for months against the hard-fought siege of Rochester Castle in the thirteenth Century. Set in the time of King John's signing of the Magna Carta treaty, the group struggles against the King to defend the freedom of their country...

DVD Information

Binding: Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio:
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Brand:
Manufacturer: Arc Entertainment
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Paul Giamatti
  • Brian Cox

Features

  • Factory sealed DVD

Reviews

Customer reviews
Average Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding on all fronts., December 9, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ironclad (DVD)
True story? I'm sure there are roots in reality and if so, this is one hell of a re-telling of the story. Paul Giamatti as the reduced in rank King John by his signing of the Magna Carta which the earls and people made him sign. he and the Pope want him back on the throne and he hires Danish Mercs (King John was a maniac by all accounts) The resistance makes a stand at Rochester Castle and it is their meager forces against an army. Lead by James Purefoy (very intense) and Brian Cox, it is so good to see him as the good guy. The cover blurb says "Seven Samurai meets Braveheart" and I agree. Who lives? Who Dies? how do they die? Very wide and sweeping movie. Great story and acting. Violent though as was the time. Well worth the viewing as is the follow-up or sequel is you will, both are outstanding movies.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, brutal, with a few surprises, March 12, 2014
By 
Grey Buyer (Sacramento, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ironclad [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I knew nothing about the film before purchasing it except I like period films and it was on sale cheap. I also don't watch films for accurate history lessons but I like when films introduce me to an occurrence from history about which I was unaware. I was unaware of the events that occurred following the signing of the Magna Carta and will study the period more now. Ironclad delivered on all those levels.

Paul Giamatti's brutal performance as King John was a pleasant surprise, revealing a side of his talent I had not seen previously. James Purefoy knows how to play supremely confident characters perfectly. His internal struggle in the film between his faith, duty, experience, and desire was enjoyable to watch, demonstrated with the tiniest inflections. Brian Cox, Charles Dance, and Derek Jacobi played solid period roles. Jamie Foreman was the entertaining scene stealer in the movie. Watch it and you'll know why. Kate Mara, an actress I enjoy, seemed miscast in the... Read more
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not 100% Accurate - But Good, May 6, 2017
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ironclad (DVD)
The DVD quality is good! Nice audio and video.

The film? A History film is a film with people that really lived, places that did (and might still) exist & events that really happened -- BUT maybe fictionalized for various reasons. With that said, "Ironclad" is not 100% accurate historically but it's a good movie nonetheless.

The battles of the Knights Templar were bloody like any other war - so I expected the blood but I never expected to like the film this well. The film is gritty, dirty, bloody but with a good story (again, it's not perfectly accurate), great casting, and the the rest of the stuff (like cinematography, costuming, set designs, directing, etc). Overall, it was worth the 2 hours it takes to watch the film.

Yes I wish the film was 100% accurate - a history lesson if you will - but I enjoyed the movie as it is. Yes I wish the film was accurate but I watch "history" films just like any other work of cinema - I ask myself... Read more
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Ironclad (2011) Chris

Summary: So, put away the textbooks, and prepare your stomach. Ironclad is a pretty decent medieval action/combat picture based in a compressed, altered version of English history.

3.0


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About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



2 Responses to Ironclad (2011)

  1. This seems to be one of those movies that would have been a lot better with another cast. I like the period, so will certainly watch at some point but thanks to your review I try not to look forward too much.
    Is it gorier than Centurion? That would be over the top.

  2. the war movie buff says:

    You lost me with historically inaccurate. It would have to be very good otherwise to make up for it. It doesn’t sound like it, but thanks for the review.

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