Thursday, 17 May 2012
Posted by emmetocuana at 11:00
I am perplexed and bewildered at the news that there's going to be a sequel to Ironclad. I am surprised because while I enjoyed the film, it did not seem to make much of a splash with audiences.
It was nasty, brutish and very gory - but quite enjoyable for all that.
A note on the 2011 film. James Purefoy played a repentent templar knight who learns that the powerhungry King John (Paul Giamatti - in fine Large Ham form here) humiliated after the signing of the Magna Carta has assembled an army to retake the country. Acompanied by a select group of allies Purefoy's Marshal chooses a single strategic point of Rochester Castle to draw the marauding Danish mercenaries employed by John. Brian Cox plays Baron Albany, who was present at the signing of the Magna Carta and is responsible for recruiting the defensive force that will help prevent Rochester Castle from being overrun - a gang of sellswords, criminals and thugs.
And oh the bloodshed that follows. Giamatti shrieks and sneers like a gibbering madman and really brings the film to life - whenever the camera is not drenched in grue that is. Purefoy puts those sword-lessons from his abortive casting in V For Vendetta to good use - not to mention the underrated Solomon Kane. A veritable host of British actors pop up in this film, including Purefoy's co-stars from Kane Jason Flemyng and Mackenzie Crook. There's also Derek Jacobi (The Master!) and Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister!) on hand to lend the proceedings a bit of gravitas.
I have a slight problem with the announcement of Jonathan English's sequel. Most of the characters played by these actors will, uh, let's just say not be appearing in this purported film. From the Variety story above it would also appear the film-makers have decided to repeat the original's formula of a siege picture.
Which begs the question, why do it at all? If Ironclad has managed to pull in the dvd sales - and fair play to it so, because while it has the feel of a boy's own adventure in parts it is also quite a grim slog - surely that limited success could be used to launch a different project that takes folks by surprise? Directors like Wes Anderson or Michael Bay have a certain formula that they stick to quite rigidly, but each in their own way introduce little variations that keep people interested, while the films themselves retain a similar tone. Ironclad had a siege. That's not really a tone or feel worth repeating.
Of course Purefoy might return, so I'll probably watch it. Although I would prefer a sequel to Solomon Kane - make it happen people!