Ironclad (2011) R

Don’t let the title fool you.  This movie has nothing to do with the Merrimac and the Monitor.  It is basically just a medieval blood fest.  If you enjoy seeing people cloven in two and blood sprayed on the camera, then this film is for you.  I guess with a tagline like, “Heavy metal goes medieval” I should have been forewarned.  The film is billed as the story of what happened after King John of England signed the Magna Carta.  It is primarily centered around the struggle of 20 men to hold off a thousand attackers.  They try to defend a strategic castle in Rochester long enough for French reinforcements arrive.  The ensemble features some seedy characters, and oh yes, yet another Knight Templar who wrestles with his vows and calling.  Yawn, when is Hollywood going to get off the Knights Templar kick?  This one breaks his vows when the hot to trot lady of the castle pursues him relentlessly.  His virtue is somehow conveniently rescued, however, when the lord of the castle hangs himself in despair when it appears that the castle will fall.  Then the archbishop releases the wayward knight from his vows.  Predictably, he rides off into the sunset with the temptress turned bride on his horseback.

The film contains a number of historical errors.  The castle of Rochester is depicted as alone on a desolate plain, when in fact it was located in a bustling city near a large cathedral.  The actual number of defenders in the castle was 100, not 20.  The siege lasted weeks not months.  The Danish mercenaries hired by King John are identified as pagan, when they were long since Christianized.  And worst of all, the film implies that the French king who came to the aid of the rebels took the throne, when it in fact it was John’s son, Henry III.  The film is full of extreme violence and some profanity.  It is not suitable for young audiences.  This film is not recommended for classroom use.

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