Magazine article Screen International

Ironclad: Battle for Blood

Magazine article Screen International

Ironclad: Battle for Blood

Article excerpt

Dir: Jonathan English. UK. 2014. 108mins

A bludgeoning and brutal bit of medieval mayhem, the bloodthirsty sequel Ironclad: Battle For Blood may well lack the characters, storyline and - by the look of it - budget to make it a successful follow-up, but it goes all out in terms of stabbings, hatchetings, beheadings and general gore to try and make it appealing to fans of the original.

Blood flows, but the story is weary. some of the dialogue clumsy and the performances scattershot at best.

The original 2011 film Ironclad - also directed by Jonathan English - proved to be a surprise modest success (both with some critics and cinemagoers), with a strong cast including James Purefoy, Kate Mara, Brian Cox, Jason Flemyng, Charles Dance and an unlikely Paul Giamatti (as the mad King John) and a no-holds-barred 'Magnificent Seven' style storyline.

English tries to repeat the format - a band of mercenary types are recruited to try and defend a castle against marauding Scots - but suffers from the law of diminishing returns. Blood flows, but the story is weary. some of the dialogue clumsy and the performances scattershot at best. The film receives a brief release via Warner Bros in the UK, but its life lies most likely in home entertainment.

Set against the backdrop of dark and brutal 13th century England, fresh-faced young nobleman Hubert de Vesci (Tom Rhys Harries) is sent by his father to recruit hired swords to help defend their family castle from Scottish tribesmen hell-bent on revenge for the death of their leader's son.

He tracks down his cousin Guy de Lusignan (Tom Austen), a crusader who has witnessed too many atrocities and who only agrees to help if he is handsomely paid. Along with Guy's mercenary friend Berenger (David Caves); axe-wielding executioner Pierrepoint (Andy Beckwith) and murderous Crazy Mary (Twinnie-Lee Moore) this not-so-magnificent five head off to try and save the day. …

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