DVD Review: “Ironclad: Battle For Blood” Slays Expectations


Review by James McDonald

In the sequel to “Ironclad”, a survivor of the Great Siege of Rochester Castle fights to save his clan from from Celtic raiders.

“Ironclad: Battle for Blood” claims to be a sequel to the 2011 movie, “Ironclad”. I never saw that movie but a sequel should be able to stand on its own merits without the audience’s requirement of having seen the previous installment. “Ironclad: Battle for Blood” successfully achieves this by just getting on with the story at hand. Like the James Bond series, each film, for the most part, is vastly divergent from its predecessor and I could imagine an “Ironclad” series of movies following the same successful formula.

The story begins in England during the 12th century as the De Vesci castle is under attack from the Scottish. They want revenge because the English monarchy had invaded Scotland and killed many of its people and after the castle’s father and master Gilbert (David Rintoul), is badly wounded in battle, he sends his only son Hubert (Tom Rhys Harries) to summon his cousin Guy the Squire (Tom Austen), a ferocious fighter whose reputation is enough to scare even the most hardened warriors.

As they return to the castle with new comrades by their sides, the Scottish and the English ready themselves for a battle that will go down in history! I’ll be perfectly honest, when I got a look at the poster for this movie, I was less than enthused. I have seen so many pale imitations of “Braveheart” and the “Lord of the Rings” movies that after a while, it honestly becomes embarrassing but I was pleasantly surprised as the events in this film played out in front of me.

Michelle Fairley is known to many people as Catelyn Stark in “Game of Thrones” and recently played a terrorist opposite Kiefer Sutherland in “24: Live Another Day” and although she gets top billing here, she is actually relegated to a supporting role while Tom Austen is the film’s real lead. Her name alone should be enough to bring in the required viewers and for the most part, they should be entertained. The one bone of contention I had with the movie, was its overuse of the much hated shaky cam.

When the audience is watching a big fight scene, constantly shaking the camera in extreme close-up to invoke a sense of realism does not work. It does not make the viewer feel like they are a part of the action, instead, it induces nausea and headaches and causes many to turn away from the screen, not the desired effect a film strives for. Other than this one criticism, the movie was enjoyable. The locations and castles were authentic and the acting by all was convincing and you could actually feel the bitter cold as the battles progressed. The movie is not rated but don’t let that fool you, there is more than enough violence to keep even the toughened bloodhounds satisfied.

In stores August 5th

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James McDonald
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