Ironclad: A Very American British War Film

Iron Clad is a British war film directed by Jonathan English. The plot sees a group of medieval swordsmen, some knights, some Templars, and some criminals, hold a fort against the mercenary army of King John (Paul Giamatti). Fighting desperately to uphold the Magna Carta, and to defeat a tyrant.

This is one of those films, very much like Iron Sky, that I have on my watchlist and like to put on when I feel the mood for pulpy violence or fantastical nonsense. Did it deliver on those fronts? Yes and no.

The violence I found to be bloody and brutal, which is what I was expecting and hoping for, but the camera kept cutting away in the heat of battle and it led to it feeling poorly shot, disjointed and oddly out of sequence. An example of what I am talking about is you would see something like a sword hit someone’s arm, then a cut to their eyes, then the arm would be hanging off. This to me screams of a film that was done on the cheap, which is not in and off itself a bad thing, but it is when it is this obvious.

The fantastical nonsense front was a bit better. I enjoyed the silliness of it all and how much of a blatant rip off of Magnificent Seven it is. I thought having Giamatti just talking with his normal accent and not even bother to do an English accent was a touch of genius, it pushed the film firmly into so bad it is good territory.

I am a big James Purefoy fan and I think he is trying his best here. He has a great amount of presence and he leaves an impact whenever he does something on screen, but his talents are wasted. His romance with Kate Mara’s character is also a little icky when you think of the age difference, but that’s just me.

Overall, it falls into so bad it is good territory and can be enjoyed for the sheer cheesiness of it, had the battles been shot better, it could have been genuinely good.


James Purefoy

The stakes and the tension

It is almost comical at times


The action is not well shot

It is highly derivative


So bad it is good for sure

Reviewed by Luke

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