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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Bloody Castle Battle
by Betty Jo Tucker

Beheadings galore

in past days of yore

can make Ironclad 2

a bit hard to view.


Yet brave daring dudes

who fight these old feuds

help lessen the pain.

Will they fight in vain?   


Plus steeds running fast

o’er vistas so vast  

are thrilling to see.

Is this worth the fee?


When scenes are too dark,

a film loses spark.

If shots are not clear,

it’s curtains, I fear.


Still, Ironclad 2’s fate

is up for debate.

The actors are fine,

and music -- a NINE!

I’m tempted to describe Ironclad: Battle for Blood as “Game of Thrones Lite.” Some of the same cast members appear in both productions, and each contains lots of gory  battle sequences plus dreary castles. Still, I think Ironclad takes the prize for number of bloody beheadings, so my description doesn’t seem fair. Perhaps Thrones fans will be drawn into this Ironclad sequel more than other viewers. But then again, most moviegoers who like plenty of action, especially sword fights and “storming the castle” sequences, will probably find Ironclad 2 enjoyable.    

Set in 13th Century Great Britain during a time when “castles rise and fall,” the story takes place after the Great Seige of Rochester Castle -- a period when mercenaries had to be hired for protection. That’s why young Hubert (Tom Rhys Harries) is sent to get help from his battle-weary cousin, Guy the Squire (Tom Austen), and to bring him back to the De Vesci castle with any warriors he can find who will join him in protecting his ancestral home. Hubert returns with a small group including -- among others  -- Guy himself, a zealous executioner (Andy Beckwith), and Crazy Mary (Twinnie Lee Moore). Reuniting with Guy are his bed-ridden uncle (David Rintoul), worried aunt (Michelle Fairley) and two lovely female cousins (Roxanne McKee and Rosie Day). From this point on, Ironclad 2 becomes a Drums Along the Mohawk type film – not that there’s anything wrong with that – featuring a much larger group of brutal Celtic raiders attacking the castle.   

Austen (The Borgias) and Harries (Hunky Dory) really get into their key roles of Guy and Hubert. Austen comes across as an intense and darkly handsome but reluctant hero. He reminds me of Sean Connery during his early career. Harries looks troubled most of the time, which is exactly how a young boy would feel facing the chaotic situation his character must deal with. Other cast members provide excellent support, but I wish  Fairley (Game of Thrones; 24) had received more camera time here. She’s such a great emotive actress!

Directed by Jonathan English from a script co-written with Stephen McDool (just like the first Ironclad offering), Ironclad: Battle for Blood boasts plenty of action, and its cup runneth over with medieval blood and gore. It also includes a stirring background score by Andreas Weidinger (Banshee Chapter). Too bad the movie also contains some jerky camera work that’s so annoying it almost ruins the last big battle scene.

(Released by XLrator Media; not rated by MPAA.)

For more information about Ironclad: Battle for Blood, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.

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