Ironclad Review

6 Mar


Do you like violence? Do you like gore? Do you like re-workings of history? Then you’re going to love Ironclad!

Paul Giamatti is a scene chomping King John who is seeking revenge against all who forced his name onto the Magna Carta. Solomon Kane (sorry, James Purefoy) and King Agamemnon (*ahem*, Brian Cox) don’t take kindly to this. In fact they hate the idea so much that they start an armed rebellion in the best tradition of all Braveheart clones. Limbs and entrails fly, as does sanity, right out of the proverbial window.

That isn’t to say that the film isn’t fundamentally enjoyable, it is. Like 300 or the aforementioned Solomon Kane, Ironclad is at its best not when trying to have historical or emotional significance but rather when it is indulging in its baser side. The story increasingly devolves into ever more violent set pieces, as though the director figured this out half way through. As a result of this, everything becomes more than a little incoherent, it takes skill to hold a coherent narrative above all the action, skill that the mentioned director does not have. On the fun stakes it is fine to have people fight without reason, so long as the action is stylish, however trying to balance this on the story stakes as well requires the precision that only the Tarantinos, Gibsons and Snyders of this generation possess.

In short, Ironclad is a fine way to spend an afternoon, a bit of fun with no real significance. Don’t expect any high flights of cinematography or art, just be prepared to enjoy three solid central performances and a hell of a lot of blood.

Sean Cameron



2 Responses to “Ironclad Review”

  1. moviegeek March 6, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    You’re right about that.
    Ironclad is one of the most brutal in-your-face violent Brit-flicks (and not just British to be honest) I’ve ever seen.
    In fact it’s the violence itself that seems to be Ironclad’s selling point. It’s obviously all sold as “realism” but we all know that in this case it’s just another word for gratuitous and exploitive.
    And so as the handheld-shaky-cam swings about and the editing goes crazy hiding the pretty low-budget, limbs fly left, right and centre, hands get chopped off, people get literally sliced in two in the bloodiest and ruthless gore-fest you’ll ever seen.

    My full review here:

    • Sean March 6, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

      I wouldn’t say its the most violent movie that I’ve ever seen, but it’s definitely up there on the list. I did enjoy it, but I wouldn’t watch it over and over. I think it’s a little like Ninja Assassin in that regard: stylish, fun and ultimately shallow.

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