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Ironclad (2011)



Average Rating: 4.8/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 12

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 10,419

My Rating

Movie Info

A ragtag group of Knights Templar hold out for months against the hard-fought siege of Rochester Castle in the thirteenth Century. Set in the time of King John's signing of the Magna Carta treaty, the group struggles against the King to defend the freedom of their country. "Judging from James Purefoy's bloody sword, the movie Ironclad is going to be a bloody feast! Well at least it will be somewhat historically accurate because the Siege of Rochester Castle was a damn bloody mess, a really


Action & Adventure

Jonathan English, Erick Kastel

Jul 26, 2011

Arc Entertainment - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (57) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (32) | DVD (3)

Ironclad is as weighed-down as it sounds.

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Detroit News | Comments (2)
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This English sword-battle drama is a mess. But there's a violent simplicity and a lack of pretentiousness that's refreshing.

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Comment (1)
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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The problem is that the movie is only swords and stage blood. The suits of armor are all empty.

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a critic who complains about painless and brainless action movies, I hoist a glass of mead to the men and maidens of "Ironclad."

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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The loud, closely photographed limb-hacking becomes as monotonous as the movie's unrelentingly gray palette.

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A gore-filled guilty pleasure...

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Terrific action spectacle and a great tattered and beaten performance from Paul Giamatti, but the film is largely lifeless and dull.

January 29, 2012 Full Review Source: IGN DVD

Most of the movie is so bland and has such a lack of passion for characters or story that it makes you wonder why anyone cared enough to make it.

July 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

James Purefoy's 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?

July 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Talk | Comment (1)
Movie Talk

What saves the flick is Paul Giamatti's John, played as a petulant, damaged man born in a world where he wields the power of a god and inevitably rages as that power is snatched away.

July 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

Good gravy, if you're looking for satisfyingly bloody swordplay, look no further.

July 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Like Takashii Miike's 13 Assassins, Ironclad takes a familiar genre-the historical action picture-and colors it blood-red.

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Casting is almost uniformly first rate with Cox, Purefoy and the always brilliant Giamatti providing noteworthy standouts.

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

A certain bloody matinee charm to it, if your idea of charm is brutally graphic combat scenes and well-known faces hamming it up in the downtime between.

July 7, 2011 Full Review Source:

Purefoy is as bleakly gorgeous as the film around him... With scads of bloody action and a boot in the ass to the notion of the divine right of kings, this is flick to hit you both in the gut and in the head.

July 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

Fetishizes the various ways in which men can be skewered by medieval weaponry

July 7, 2011 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Ironclad

Based around the real events of 1215 when powerful Barons of England grew tired of their King and came together to rebel against his rule. This film tells the story of the siege that took place at Rochester Castle in the County of Kent following King Johns decision to break the agreement of the Magna Carta made by himself and the Barons of England and then attempting to regain England for himself.

The film focuses mainly on the battle that took place between the Loyalists of King John and the Barons with whoever they could muster against the strong King. Now I must say straight away that you can't expect the film to be completely accurate and it isn't, but for an independent film mainly British made with US assistance this is a very good and fairly accurate attempt.
There are some issues I believe with the historical facts such as the French being involved before the siege at Rochester, the fact that King John actually did take the castle in the end (pretty big mistake there methinks) and I don't believe there were any Danish mercenaries involved at anytime, not sure about Knights Templar's either. So God knows where they came up with that idea for the film and lastly King John was simply a bad king and not a bad person really, this siege was really part of a civil war which turned from a cause of 'more power to the people' to simply a scuffle for the throne and power by the Barons.

Of course the film has been taken down the Hollywood route I'm afraid, think 'BraveHeart', 'Pathfinder' or 'Centurion' etc...and you know exactly what I mean, the film is wonderfully made and shot but there are elements included purely to make the story more enticing to a modern audience. Now although this isn't a Ridley Scott flick they have tried their best to go down that epic route, all the action is hand held cams that shake all over the show to add that feel of raw blood n sweat in the heat of battle which does work. There is plenty of claret spraying n squirting from lopped off limbs and slashes to satisfy the goriest of mindsets and some good catapult action all set on location within Wales to give an excellent murky representation of gloomy medieval England.

The action looks good and its fast n fluid but there are hints of slightly amateurish shots here and there along with examples of basic acting from the extras in battle. If you look closely there aren't that many men in the battles (clever editing) and they aren't going at it hammer n tongs if you get me. Also I should add a few shots using CGI, mainly of the castle, are a touch obvious but nothing too horrific.

The main issue I had was the typical Hollywood approach of having a band of guys all brought together with the usual 'Hollywood recruit' sequence. Each man being of different build and skill, one guy is a strong big fat bearded 'Little John' type, another is common mouthy and devious, another is a top archer, another is just a young lad, another is good with knives and women and of course the hero is a Knights Templar who is an all round kick ass machine. Its just a bit too flash and silly really, of course they need characters the viewer can relate to and cheer for but its almost like a computer game roster for a 'hack n slash' fighter.

Great performances from a very good line up including Giamatti giving a good slimy side to his character despite the fact that King John wasn't really 'a bad guy', Dance is perfect as usual as is Jacobi and Cox again cast as a gruff leader/soldier. Purefoy does whats needed as the strong heroic knight but little more, Mara is cute as a button whilst playing scared and innocent, Crook fits the part for the era with his malnourished appearance, Aneurin Barnard is actually very good as the young lad 'Guy' and also looks like a certain Hobbit. Finally add to that a couple of cockneys in Jamie Foreman and Jason Flemyng for that typical dirty, gritty, uniquely common English touch.

Like history? like a wee bit of action hokey pokey? then this is for you, just try to ignore the bits of cinematic popcorn excess .
February 17, 2014

Super Reviewer

June 28, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

A former Knight Templar and a band of rebel soldiers defend a strategically vital castle against the mercenary forces of the cruel and ruthless King John. Ironclad is basically a medieval Rio Bravo. It actually captures the rain and grime soaked bloodiness of medieval battle rather well and has a nice sense of period. James Purefoy makes a suitably intense hero, Brian Cox is as fun as always in his preferred typecast of larger than life, earthy nobleman and Derek Jacobi adds some Thespian credibility top the proceedings. The biggest problem is that there's not much to the plot; two hours is rather a long running time for a story that is little more than one long sword fight and the dreaded wobbly cam rears its unwelcome head during the otherwise impressively staged battle sequences. As a whole its a solidly acted and efficiently executed hack and slasher but it occasionally feels a little made for TV and the trite romantic sub plot is pointless. Not bad though and it may appeal to fans of Game Of Thrones hankering for a few political machinations and makeshift limb amputations while they await the new series.
October 30, 2012
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

America have their cowboys. Japan has their ninjas. So why doesn't England exploit their Knights? Perhaps so much of medieval style found its way into fantasy epics we just don't bother. Well here's a little slice of action awesomeness that more than likely throws historical accuracy down the crapper. Ironclad sees a band of forgotten knights and warriors come together to keep hold of the King's castle until help from the French comes. This very much takes the common story elements of Seven Samurai, and to be quite honest, it does fit really well. Purefoy is a stoic and silent warrior battling with his faith. Cox is the leader of a band of misfits. He commands respect like only he can. We also have Mackenzie Crook as a master archer and Jamie Foreman plays a foolish scoundrel in the mould of Mifune's Kikuchiyo. Paul Giamatti plays the ruthless King John to perfection. The best thing is that Giamatti gets to his core. With a well scripted speech, he manages to convey the frustration he feels at having to sign The Magna Carta. His honour and pride have been damaged and he wants justice. It makes him more than just a faceless villain. The aptly named Jonathan English handles the action with great confidence. It's great seeing axes, clubs, and flying rocks creating the kind of grisly violence you'd imagine. There's no offscreen, sound effect heavy, bloodless battles here. It falters in some respects, relying too heavily on similar stories. There is also a rather laboured love story that persistently slows down the action in a dull and frustrating way. The cast seem to have genuine chemistry and I am glad a sequel has been announced. It's dirty and foul and I hope we'll see more films along this line.
June 7, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. King John: This castle belongs to me!
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. King John: England is mine.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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Foreign Titles

  • Le Sang des templiers (FR)
  • Templario (ES)
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