Review:  ‘Ironclad’ sequel quenches hack-a-thon fans’ thirst for blood

A scene from ‘Ironclad’
A scene from “Ironclad: Battle for Blood.”

If your only response after seeing 2011’s medieval siege-and-slaughter opus “Ironclad” was “Another two hours, please!” then the grimy sequel “Ironclad: Battle for Blood” is for you. Returning director/co-writer Jonathan English has made a cursory effort to fit a new framing device on his 13th century hack-a-thon follow-up: a Celtic chieftain (Predrag Bjelac) heading a band of independence-minded rebels as they storm an English clan’s hilltop stronghold.

The “Blood” ostensibly refers to family turmoil on both sides: The marauders are avenging their leader’s murdered son, while the castle’s wounded leader sends his first born (Tom Rhys Harries) to find a mercenary cousin, Guy (a manscaped Tom Austen) — veteran of the first movie’s fighting — to help defend their keep. But literal overcomes figurative here, as the title’s promise of violence is dutifully met in gory, sonically squishy close-quarter melees shot in Confuse-o-vision, as if the camera had been strapped to a whirring blender before the footage was edited with the puree button.

Character work in slapped-together action sops like this is typically defined by the cheap measuring stick of pained stares, which makes the wasted use of “Game of Thrones” alum Michelle Fairley, giving matriarch shorthand, especially regrettable.



“Ironclad: Battle for Blood”

MPAA rating: None

Running time: 1 hour, 48 minutes.

Playing: At the Arena Cinema, Hollywood.


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