The year is 1215 in medieval England and the rebel barons have just won the civil war with the evil King John. The only way John is allowed to stay on the throne is if he puts his royal seal on the Magna Carta, a document that recognizes the rights of free men. The despised King keeps his thrown only to go back on his word and starts murdering all the rebel barons who signed the Magna Carta. With the help of the Pope, King John hires Danish mercenaries to help him bring his nation back under his tyrannical rule. During the civil war the Knights Templar fought with the rebels and many of the Knights, men highly trained in the art of battle and who have pledged their lives to God, are still in England on their way home from the long war. As John goes from castle to castle wreaking havoc across the nation, with help of his Danish mercenaries, a single Knight Templar named Marshal finds himself helping the barons once again as the two sides set their sights on Rochester Castle. Rochester Castle lies strategically along the southeastern coast of England and whoever has control of the castle has control of the rest of southern England. A small group of men along with Marshal and the Baron of Albany race to the castle to hold it until the Archbishop Langton can go to France and send French reinforcements.
The movie Ironclad was released in 2011 and was a limited release in theaters. I had never heard of the movie until it was brought to my attention by a friend and film fan this past Christmas. He assured me it was worth a watch and I will agree it was a good movie. If you are an action fan and love a little gore slipped in here and there you are going to love this movie. If you a historical buff who only enjoys the completely accurate movie, you may want to pass this one up. Sometimes historical accuracy is overlooked for the sake of the art of the movie. This I can understand, and not being versed in medieval English history, I was unaware of these inaccuracies until I started doing some research to write this review. The story is a good one, but a little outlandish to consider that a rag tag team of less than twenty men are to defend a castle against the thousands of Danish mercenaries and that this one castle is the strong hold for the rest of the nation. But, again this is not my area of expertise.
Putting aside the historical details, I found the story to be very enjoyable and full of the gore and grief that this time period is known for. Paul Giamatti (Lady in the Water, Sideways) plays a convincing King John even without an English accent. James Purefoy (Resident Evil, A Knight’s Tale) takes on the role of the tortured Knight Templar Marshal who helps lead this motley crew of old warriors on their quest to defend England from its terrible king. He feels guilty for killing men in the name of God so he has taken a vow or silence and chastity, which will eventually be tested by the wife of the lord of the castle, Isabel. played by Kate Mara (127 Hours, Shooter). Be prepared for the hacking off of various body parts in all their bloody glory. They sure did know how to make a man talk back then. Overall Ironclad is a good and watch-worthy movie especially for any action fan.