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Ironclad
BLU-RAY disk
Aug 11, 2011 By: Mathew Plale
Ironclad order
Director:
Jonathan English

Actors:
Paul Giamatti
James Purefoy
Brian Cox

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
After being forced to sign the Magna Carta, limiting the monarchy's power, King John (Giamatti) plots his revenge and redemption.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
1215. The Knights Templar has defeated King John, resulting in his signing the Magna Carta, which will protect baron privileges and limit the monarchy’s power. “It will be remembered throughout history,” goes the narration. “What is not remembered is what King John did next.”

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.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary by director Jonathan English: English gives a fine commentary here, covering plenty of ground by offering his thoughts on what he wanted to achieve from the story, historical tidbits, filming locations, creating the battle sequences, tips for sidestepping on-set errors, and much more.

Theatrical Trailer
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Ironclad does very little to differentiate itself from other historical epics packed with blood and battle. It might be fun for some to bathe in the excess gore and watch Paul Giamatti ham it up for two hours, but there are better representations both of the time and the character of King John out there.
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7:38PM on 08/12/2011
I agree with these two below. The movie has it's faults but, I enjoyed it for the action and battle sequences. No classic and certainly no history lesson but, I was entertained.
I agree with these two below. The movie has it's faults but, I enjoyed it for the action and battle sequences. No classic and certainly no history lesson but, I was entertained.
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8:11AM on 08/12/2011

Better than I thought!

I really enjoyed Ironclad! It was just two hours of medieval violence and mayhem and that made me a very happy camper! The movie does have some problems, like Paul Giammati and Brian Cox chewing the scenery sometimes or the fact that the whole love story subplot felt a bit forced, but by far its biggest problem was the miniscule budget! Especially the small number of people they used to portray the defenders of the castle! I mean come on, I know that in a siege the defenders have the advantage
I really enjoyed Ironclad! It was just two hours of medieval violence and mayhem and that made me a very happy camper! The movie does have some problems, like Paul Giammati and Brian Cox chewing the scenery sometimes or the fact that the whole love story subplot felt a bit forced, but by far its biggest problem was the miniscule budget! Especially the small number of people they used to portray the defenders of the castle! I mean come on, I know that in a siege the defenders have the advantage and that a castle can be effectively defended by a realtively small number of soldiers, but 30 people holding back hundreds or maybe more than a thousand? I dunno, it seemed a bit over the top! Anyway, it was a fun movie that didn't bore us with scenes of cardinals and nobles discussing medieval politics, it was two hours of non stop, brutal action and I really enjoyed it for what it was! It really needed a heavy metal soundtrack though!
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11:42AM on 08/11/2011
I'm actually kind of disappointed that the reviewer of IronClad didn't give it more credit than it deserved. Yea the movie comes across as a made for tv special at times but the actions scenes were good and in some cases better than most well known movies. The history behind the movie was well portrayed as well, including the signing of the Magna Carta which is a very important piece of democratic history as well as the tale of Prince John loosing the crown-jewels in the Wash... NO NOT IN A
I'm actually kind of disappointed that the reviewer of IronClad didn't give it more credit than it deserved. Yea the movie comes across as a made for tv special at times but the actions scenes were good and in some cases better than most well known movies. The history behind the movie was well portrayed as well, including the signing of the Magna Carta which is a very important piece of democratic history as well as the tale of Prince John loosing the crown-jewels in the Wash... NO NOT IN A WASHING MACHINE! but in the Wash in Britain...seriously look it up ! . Anyway, Paul Giamatti did very well with what he was given. The actor who played Mark Antony in Rome did very well with what he was given. Kate Mara did very well with what she was given as well and FOR ONCE the movie didn't add on the whole Female Bad-Ass thing.. she is protrayed as beautiful,very independant, smart but physically weak. She tries at one point to fend herself from Prince John's forces but doesn't go all Alice from Resident Evil on them. Anyway, give the movie more credit than it deserves Mr.Reviewer !
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