So there is Ironclad to refresh us, depicting the story of King John’s (Paul Giamatti, playing dress-up once again) attempt to get revenge on those who forced him into signing the document. The goal of the rebels, led by Albany (Brian Cox) and aided by Marshall (James Purefoy), is to seize Rochester Castle and forever put John out of power.
But that can’t be done without some serious bloodshed, which the hangings and tongue-slicings early on in the movie were a suitable precursor to. Ironclad is a gory one. Even its poster has splashes of Photoshopped blood and the tagline “Blood. Will. Run.”
You may not have heard of director Jonathan English’s sophomore turn (his first was Minotaur, if you caught that one), but you’ve seen variations before both in film and on TV. There are deathbed promises, inspirational speeches, slow-motion swordplay, etc. This is no doubt an enthralling two hours for those familiar with the formula and alien to a textbook (or Wikipedia).
There’s a good story somewhere, but really Ironclad has about all the look, feel and flair of a Starz original series. It’s a shame that all of the drama was wasted on the punctuation in the tagline.