Travelling back to the dark, brutal past of 13-century England, 'Ironclad: Battle for Blood' plunges us headlong into one of the most violent periods in English medieval history. The story continues with honour, action and excitement. Gathered together by Hubert (Tom Rhys Harries), a small band of hired swords plot how to hold off evil Celtic Tribesmen. They are hell-bent on revenge for the death of their leaders' son Guy (Tom Austen) whose soul is wracked with guilt over the atrocities he has committed during the years after the great battle of Rochester Castle and his burgeoning feelings for Kate (Roxanne McKee), his cousin.
As someone who had the misfortune to miss the original Ironclad when it was released in 2011 I entered into Ironclad: Battle for Blood with nary an expectation; as a fan of historical fantasy and medieval warfare style novels by rights the Ironclad films ought to be at least of some vague appeal to me; however poor direction and excessively indulgent story made this second Ironclad feature too silly even for me.
With the same writer and director as the first Ironclad – which to my knowledge was reasonably successful and at least entertaining – Ironclad: Battle for Blood returns to the 13th Century and Rochester Castle which, in the previous film, had to be defended against marauders by the inhabitants, and now finds itself under siege once more, this time from the Scots.
With the details of the previous film lost to little but bloody memory and brief reference Ironclad 2 works as a fairly stand alone narrative and tells your standard revenge-come-invasion narrative; except in this case the home that is invaded is a large ancient castle and the alien’s a few rather pissed off Celts. Throw in a few jaded warriors, money-hungry mercenaries and a female psycho-killer and you have all the ingredients used to create Ironclad: Battle for Blood.
As you can imagine the story plays out as you would expect it to: they fight, they almost lose, but at the last minute, thanks to some serious violence and a miraculous change of heart from one of the central characters, they pull it out at the last minute.
The film is entertaining enough, I have certainly seen worse in my time, and for the first third it appears to have some potential at least; but with a narrative that spirals quickly into the ridiculous and extravagantly gory the film had little to offer by the time the credits rolled.