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Ironclad
Category Action , Adventure , Epic/Historic
Year: 2011
Time: 121 minutes
Director: Jonathan English
Cast:
James Purefoy, Brian Cox, Paul Giamatti, Kate Mara, Mackenzie Crook, Jason Flemyng
MPAA R / UK15
Our Rating 6/10 - Loses its way near the end
Watchability 6/10 - Not as nice to watch in the later stages
Contributed by JT
Tag-line Defend the Castle. Kill the King. Save the Nation.
 
Plot:

"A Medieval 'Magnificent Seven', that combines the visceral, stylized action of '300' with the impassioned heroism and romance of 'Braveheart'. Starring James Purefoy (as Marshall the Templar Knight), Brian Cox (the Baron Albany) and Paul Giamatti (as King John), Ironclad is an ultra-violent action thriller that tells the true story of a motley crew of tough, battle hardened warriors, who withstood several brutal and bloody months under siege, in a desperate bid to defend their country's freedom."

 
So, how does it end?

Loosely based on true events, it all turns a little nasty when King John's forces overun the outer wall in a surprise attack. The Baron Albany has his neck slashed, Marshall is knocked unconscious trying to keep the gate shut, and the others make their way back to the Keep.  Marshall gets to his horse and takes on the Danes. He is beaten from it, but his foot is caught, and the horse then carries him to safety in the hold.

The Baron, along with the tower guard captain and an old maid, are taken captive.  In turn they are tied down and their hands are graphically sliced off. The Baron also loses his feet, and then his body is catapulted against a wall.  The scene in Robocop when Murphy's hand was shot was one of the most harrowing I had ever seen as a young nipper (whose friend's mum shouldn't have let us watch it on VHS!), so I suppose it just goes to show I'm sadly becoming accustomed to graphic violence in movies to make it through 6 hands and 2 feet this time.  Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked.

The survivors wait it out in the Keep.  Marshall seems to blame himself, having earlier finally succombed to the temptress Isabel and broken his vows.  (She is very good looking to be fair). The 'king of the castle' is challenged as a coward when he wants to make a truce, and hangs himself.

The Danes are anxious to finish this off after being deceived by King John, and get back to their homes.  The King's engineers have dug a mine under the tower.  They send in a load of pigs that the nasty English decide to burn alive, and the fat melts the castle foundations.  (Why are English people always the bad guys - even in a movie about English history?!)  One of the huge towers falls.  Marshall is caught in the rubble, but dragged to safety.  The survivors climb to the top of the Keep as the Danes rush the exposed walls.

Coteral stays behind to help their escape, and soon he is joined by Becket, but the force of Danish numbers overwhelms them and they don't last long.  Guy, the squire, was charged with killing Isabel, but instead he charges to fight the enemy.  Marshall awakes just in time.  He stands off against the Viking captain, the dude from the 13th Warrior, while the others watch.

It's a good ol' battle, but finally Marshall gets the better of his enemy, and stabs him through the gut.  As the captain falls, his men shout and flee as they can see the French army approaching.  King John is defeated.

Marshall, on his horse with Isabel, and Guy the Squire are the only survivors and exit the castle to be greeted by the Archbishop and French King.  The Archbishop thanks Marshall, and relieves him of his Templar vow.

We're told that a French King came to the throne and enforced the Magna Carta again.  King John later died of dysentery while on the run, and his treasure was never recovered.  (Except John's son Henry III became King and defeated the French as most people will know -- there haven't been too many King Louis or "King Pierre"s of England!  But John still died of dysentery, so they got that bit right.  Would have been a disaster to have a modern movie end where 'the (dirty) English' win, right?!  "Freedom"!!!  We reckon the Director has lied about his surname to get him the job on this one).

 
Notes
Don't let the fact that director is called Jonathan (Johnny) English put you off! It's not a spoof medieval movie. Honest.
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