The petulant monarch (Paul Giamatti) is aghast at the effrontery of his disloyal barons and quickly sets about regaining his lost power by sending an army of Danish mercenaries against London. In their way stands Rochester Castle, defended in the film’s version of history by a rag-tag band of rebels led by James Purefoy’s ruggedly heroic Templar knight, Marshal.
Lately returned from the Crusades, Marshal is still bound by his Templar oaths, but will he be able to preserve his vow of chastity when Kate Mara’s lady of the castle starts fondling his great big Templar sword?
Directed and co-scripted by Jonathan English, Ironclad is an uneasy mix of po-faced history lesson, cheesy drama and ridiculously excessive violence. Indeed, the limb-lopping, brain-dashing, bone-splintering action is so gruesome that it borders on the comic absurdity of the scene where King Arthur battles the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
The actors, who include Brian Cox’s blustering baron, Jason Flemyng’s lecherous soldier and Mackenzie Crook’s phlegmatic archer, maintain admirably straight faces, but Giamatti doesn’t hold back when it comes to the king’s temper tantrums and goes enthusiastically over the top.
Released on DVD & Blu-ray by Warner Home Video.