After enjoying and criticising all those Robin Hood movies, where the historic King John plays a fictitious villain, do you really want to see him again, especially when Robin and his merrymen are not around? Especially when the film is not even based on history. It mentions Magna Carta before the narrative begins, and then plunges headlong into action, sword, sandal and horses, and muscular men in iron mails (because the film is called Ironclad, you see)... Especially when Paul Giamatti plays the villain. Now, Giamatti is a good actor. But, he is really suited for dramatic comedy, not action, not really, especially when his adversaries include Derek Jacobi and Brian Cox.
Okay, the story has some history; it chronicles the siege of Rochester Castle by King John in the year 1215. But that’s just an excuse to set-up battle sequences between the king’s army and the Knight Templers. At stake is, as always, that allusive thing called ‘Freedom.’
If you like sword-and-sandal action fare, you’d like Ironclad.