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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rascal King John and the Medieval Magnificent Seven.
Ironclad is directed by Jonathan English who also wrote the story and co-adapts the screenplay with Erick Kastel and Stephen McDool. It stars James Purefoy, Brian Cox, Derek Jacobi, Kate Mara, Paul Giamatti, Jason Flemyng, Mackenzie Crook, Jamie Foreman and Vladimir Kulich. Music is scored by Lorne Balfe and cinematography by David Eggby.

1215 and having been...
Published on 11 July 2012 by Spike Owen

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Medieval Seven
Take the basic premise of the Seven Samurai, stir in a lot of Braveheart, add some excellent fight and special effects people and you have Ironclad. The Warhammer-style siege and combat effects will please a lot of viewers though the wooden acting, obvious love interest, and slightly wonky history will annoy some others. Ultimately the film will appeal and find its...
Published on 7 Feb 2012 by Charles Vasey


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rascal King John and the Medieval Magnificent Seven., 11 July 2012
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Ironclad [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Ironclad is directed by Jonathan English who also wrote the story and co-adapts the screenplay with Erick Kastel and Stephen McDool. It stars James Purefoy, Brian Cox, Derek Jacobi, Kate Mara, Paul Giamatti, Jason Flemyng, Mackenzie Crook, Jamie Foreman and Vladimir Kulich. Music is scored by Lorne Balfe and cinematography by David Eggby.

1215 and having been forced to sign the Magna Carta, King John (Giamatti) enlists an army of Danish mercenaries and plots revenge against all involved. As John lays bloody waste to the South of England, a small band of rebels led by William d'Aubigny (Cox), plot to defend the Southern stronghold of Rochester Castle in the hope they can delay John long enough for the French army to arrive from the sea to depose him.

The history, as is often the case in movies of this ilk, is sketchy and exaggerated, we are in true cinematic granted licence here as Rochester Castle is defended by less then 20 men and a couple of gals (in truth there was a considerable army defending Rochester). Yet Ironclad's sheer willingness to blend historical and period notices with blood and mud is very appealing to the swords and shields genre fan. The recreation of 13th century England is most impressive, as is the adherence to the brutality of the times. Armour and swords do clank with aural sharpness, quickly followed by blood and dismemberment; the body horror is certainly not in short supply throughout the running time. The colour is deliberately muted to capture a realistic feel, and although the shaky-cam technique used for the fight scenes (is this now written in the historical epic director's 101 handbook?) will irritate many, it does aid the grit and grue atmosphere that director English goes for. In fact he has achieved much with only a modest budget.

A splendid cast has assembled for the production, all thankfully attired with thought from the costume department. Purefoy cuts a fine rugged figure of machismo, brooding for all he's worth as he battles not only the enemy, but also his own duel with his Templar faith. Cox is, no surprise, full of gusto and leadership qualities, and the likes of Flemyng (whore chaser as brave as a lion), Crook (ace archer) and Foreman (no fear thief) add considerable grungey brawn to proceedings. Charles Dance and Jacobi lend thespian support and Kulich is a towering presence as axe wielding leader of the Danes, Tiberius. Highlight, though, is Giamatti. True enough to say that as written it's a portrait of a vicious King we have seen plenty of times before, but Giamatti elevates this one to better heights with a glint in his eye and thunderous moments of anger. For his delivery of "I am God's right hand" speech this begs respect. His accent holds as well, always a bonus is that.

Where the picture falls down is with a script that contains duff passages of dialogue and the obligatory romance thread. Poor Kate Mara (stepping in when Megan Fox scampered way from the production), it's a thankless role that basically asks her to turn the head of Purefoy's Templar Knight, hitch up her skirt and look wistful from time to time, while having Cox bellow out that John "is no more a King than the boil on my arse" hinders rather than aids the mood. But English and the makers get away with the missteps because it's such good rousing fun, a nifty blend of religion, politics and bloody war. The siege itself is very well orchestrated, as catapult engines bombard the castle, arrows penetrate the sky, men leap around on fire or scolded by hot oil, and there's interesting facts and tricks etched into the narrative too (burning of pigs a weapon of war?!). It may never quite reach the ambitions it sets itself, but in an era when swords and shields movies are in short supply, it's an entertaining and bloody romp for sure. 7.5/10
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153 of 168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, 13 May 2011
This review is from: Ironclad [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
If you love siege films then you'll love this.
Based arounf King John's exploits and the Lords of the time forcing the signing of the Magna Carta this focus' on James Purefoys Knight Templar as he wrestles with his conscience and beliefs after time spent on the Crusades.
The film is gritty, visceral and honest in it's approach to war and battle.
Some beautiful vista shots contrast brilliantly with the dirt and poverty of life for the everyday man.

I was gripped from start to finish.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Medieval Seven, 7 Feb 2012
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ironclad [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Take the basic premise of the Seven Samurai, stir in a lot of Braveheart, add some excellent fight and special effects people and you have Ironclad. The Warhammer-style siege and combat effects will please a lot of viewers though the wooden acting, obvious love interest, and slightly wonky history will annoy some others. Ultimately the film will appeal and find its natural audience in the fight and special effects arena, and here it does very well indeed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangely brilliant, 4 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Ironclad [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
OK, so its basically a medieval mash up up The Magnificent Seven, but after purchasing it with some interest I feel I found a hidden little gem of a film here. Brian Cox and Derek Jacobi may be criminally underused, but Purefoy carries this film wonderfully as the Templar with blood on his hands and Giamatti is a fabulously vengeful King John. Nowhere near historically accurate, but fun none the less...
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128 of 148 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ironclad boodbath, 1 May 2011
By 
This review is from: Ironclad [Blu-ray][Region Free][2011] (Blu-ray)
Ironclad is based on the historical siege of Rochester castle by King John. The film is period authentic, very violent, totally gripping, spoiled only by an over the top performance by Paul Giametti as King John. But you can feel and smell the period, and if you have a strong stomach, for these were bloody times indeed, you will enjoy this. It deserved a better life in cinemas than the short one it got.
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63 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bloody good!, 18 May 2011
This review is from: Ironclad [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
I saw this recently at a cinema in Dubai so I am surprised it is soon out on release. As said elsewhere it deserves more support. Surprisingly bloody, and that is probably why, but shame on the distributors. Nevertheless it is a very good film but not for the faint hearted. A sort of Magnificent Seven in armour, and why not!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Mediocre Seven meet Walt Disney's King John, 9 Oct 2012
By 
Ben Kane (Nr Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ironclad [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Some time back, I heard some good things about this from someone I know. Remind me never to trust his opinion again! Some of the comments I've read on other reviews are spot on the mark. Massive amounts of slo-mo violence for little reason other than - oh yes, it's about knights and war, so it must have to be violent! Wait a minute. Isn't a film supposed to have a decent storyline? Not this one, clearly.

Don't get me wrong. I love the premise of a film set in the early 13th century; one with knights, great big battles, 'bad' King John and the Magna Carta; barons who want to rein in his cruel rule. It's got all the hallmarks of a great film. Throw in James Purefoy, so good in Rome and Solomon Kane and Paul Giamatti, the star of the wonderful Sideways and you've got a surefire winner - one would have thought.

Instead, we have a risible King John, fighting with an American accent the whole way through the film. That's when he's not throwing temper tantrums in a high pitched voice redolent of Walt Disney's Robin Hood, or stamping his foot like a toddler. The main female actress spends her time swooning over Purefoy, finding plenty of locations in a tiny castle to be alone with him. The mercenaries employed by King John are 'Danes' - Viking rip offs of the cartoon variety. And then we get to the fact that there are only seven men defending a castle against more than a thousand. Seven - like the Magnificent Seven - except this lot are really mediocre. Yet still they manage to hold out for many months. I know that one has to suspend disbelief in films, but not to this extent - and that's just one example.

Don't get me started on the history either. The stories of the time are amazing, and need little changing to make a great film. Why use fictitious Danes? Why pretend that so few men can defend a castle when in fact it was taken by King John? Why make out that after his death that things went back to the way they were, when in fact his son took the throne?

What a shame I wasted 5 on this bilge. Avoid.

Ben Kane, author of Spartacus: The Gladiator.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'AN ACTION-PACKED MEDIEVEIL DRAMA', 6 July 2014
By 
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ironclad [Blu-ray][Region Free][2011] (Blu-ray)
This is a gritty and very graphic action-packed movie set in the dark ages during the reign of 'King John'
'Thomas' (James Purefoy) returns to England having served the Church in the Crusades, he is due to be released from his 'Templar' vows, however 'England' is a land ruled by 'King John' who after signing the 'Magna-Carta' renages on his promise drafting in an army from europe to crush those that had apposed him.
'Thomas' along with a small group of battle-hardened warriors aim to defend a strategic Castle in Southern England from the 'King' and the drafted-in army......the odds --1000 vs the 20 defenders.
plenty of high drama and action.............worth a spin if yer' into action movies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MASADA MEETS THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, 9 Sep 2013
By 
The Movie Guy "Movies from A to Z" (United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ironclad [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Perhaps it would be more accurate to say this was inspired by an historical event, rather than being based upon it. Historically this comes after "Robin Hood", and before "Season of the Witch." It is certainly more historical than "Season of the Witch" and "Robin Hood."

Paul Giamatti is a great actor, although previous actors have portrayed King John as being a lot taller. The movie makes statements such as when the knight is talking to his squire:

Knight: "Have you ever killed a man before?"
Squire: "No"
Knight: "It is not a noble thing."
Squire: "Even when it is for freedom?"
Knight: "Even when it is for God."

The battle really had nothing to do about freedom. The whole Magna Carta was designed to give rich barons more power over the king. It was a struggle within the feudal system as to who would be the boss. The serfs were still serfs no matter who sat on the throne.

This movie takes place after King John is forced to sign the Magna Carta and then he instantly reneges on it. John employs the use of foreign mercenaries to go after and kill each of the barons who signed the document. Baron Albany decides to take a stand with a small group of fighters while waiting for help from the French...who will be their new king, all the while spouting about the "freedom of men." The movie climaxes at the siege of Rochester Castle which was initially turned into a battle and included a Knight Templar. The fighting includes blood splattering on the camera lens and a man being cut in half (lengthwise). The King's army manages to erect multiple ladders against the wall, fills them with soldiers, but apparently only 6 or so soldiers can make it over at a time and more can't come over until the previous ones have been killed... only in the movies. To add drama between the fighting, the castle baron's wife is not being serviced properly by the baron. She (Kate Mara as Lady Isabel) has eyes for the Knight Templar (James Purefoy as Thomas Marshall) who has taken an oath of chastity. (Guess how that works out.) The cruelty displayed by King John at the end is historical.

James Purefoy was lame in his character, perhaps by intention. More of Giamatti was needed. Not as good as "Robin Hood" or "Season of the Witch" but better than Roger Corman's "Cyclops."

Brief nudity (not Kate), no F-bombs, brief sex.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not too good, 5 April 2013
By 
Junius (London, Middlesex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ironclad [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
This is not a great film. I suppose it passes the time, and shows what maybe pretty realistic and bloody battle scenes, though why the heroes very rarely wear helmets is rather silly.

But that should be no surprise, because that's one of the motifs of the film throughout. I ended up rooting for the bad guys; Cornhill and John. The first because he was a man of peace whose property and life are endangered by a band of fanatics obsessed by sacrificing his in a war he doesn't want. John, because as a king he ruled by divine right and had been thwarted by rebellious subjects and forcd into putting his seal to the Magna Carta. The rebels are actually traitors, in league with their country's enemy, the French, and we're expected to cheer them on.

There's lots of historical blunders and these have mostly been pointed out elsewhere. But a few extras - we're shown a copy of MC with the name 'King John of England' written in English not Latin; the annoying squire bleats about 'the people' and 'freedom' and no one asks him what he means behind these hollow phrases (an end to serfdom? and end to tithes?) Why does the baron become a woollen merchant? Why do the Danes stop hacking at the keep door and dig a mine in a few days? Why don't the rebellious barons help our heroes out? And why don't they taunt John as 'Lackland or Softsword? The unarmoured and untrained heroine gets through unscathed, oddly enough.
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Ironclad [Blu-ray][Region Free][2011]
Ironclad [Blu-ray][Region Free][2011] by Jonathan English (Blu-ray - 2011)
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