Da'ud Bob's Movie Review
September 2018

I swear, sometimes you just never know how good (or conversely, how bad) a movie is likely to be from the title. And this goes double when the title (and the plot synopsis) indicate that the movie is a sequel to an earlier movie. And, alas, that goes treble if the original movie was not really all that great. (In my review of the original, back in 2012, it only received 2 stars, a middling rating at best.) So when I sat down to watch this sequel to the 2011 original, I truly had no idea what to expect. But with, I will have to admit, some small trepidation, I hit the "Play" button, and you can see how good (or bad) a sequel this was, as this month, Da'ud Bob reviews for you 2014's Ironclad: Battle for Blood.

Starring Tom Austen as Guy (a survivor of the bloody battle for Rochester Castle, the centerpiece of the 2011 film), Tom Rhys Harries as Hubert, Michelle Fairley as Joan de Vesci, Andy Beckwith as Pierrepont, David Rintoul as Gilbert de Vesci, Roxanne McKee as Blanche, Rosie Day as Kate, Predrag Bjelac as Madog, David Caves as Berenger, Twinnie Lee Moore as Crazy Mary, and Dragana Atlija as Shiba, the short synopsis of this movie was: "Think a great, bloody battle only rears its head once in a lifetime? A survivor lives. A protector fights." A slightly longer, and more descriptive synopsis was: "Gathered together by young Hubert, a small band of hired swords gather inside his family's castle intent on holding off evil Celtic tribesmen hell-bent on revenge for the death of their leader's son: a young mercenary named Guy whose soul is wracked with guilt over the atrocities he has committed during the days and years after the great battle of Rochester Castle and his burgeoning feelings for Kate, his cousin, battle-hardened mercenaries such as Berenger who fight not for God and country but for money and bloodlust." But even that really falls short. It's more convoluted than it needs to be, but basically, it's a few fighters defending a castle up near the Scottish border, all trying not to end up dead.

Good points: Real chain mail. The nasal helms. The pot helms. The cressets (a metal container holding wood burned as a torch and typically mounted on a pole), or standing beacons.

Bad points: Failure to clean swords in the lulls following battles. (As hardened soldiers, you'd think they'd treat their tools better than that. Especially since their lives depend upon those tools.) It's possible, I supposed, that the large stone castle had been in the family for three generations, but only if they had been extremely short generations. The timeframe for the movie is supposedly just after the death of King John, and it was Edward I Longshanks who was the big builder of large stone castles all over England; Edward was John's grandson.) Calling an executioner "Mister" (a title of some respect well into the 17th Century, and not generally applicable to people like executioners). The really shaky hand-held camera work, especially during the climactic fight scene, just became annoying.

Six breasts. Six gallons of blood. 98 dead bodies. Fisticuff fu. Knife fu. Axe fu. Mace fu. Sword fu. Stone fu. Hammer fu. (It was a big hammer!) Spear fu. Whip fu. Ballista fu. Fire fu. Poison fu. Waves roll. Heads roll. Scots roll. Eyes roll. Arm rolls. Gratuitous throat-slitting. Gratuitous sex scenes. Gratuitous lashing. Gratuitous dirt. Gratuitous woad. Gratuitous fish gutting and cleaning. Gratuitous eye gouging. Gratuitous Seven Samurai plot. Gratuitous execution. Gratuitous hanging. Gratuitous angst. Gratuitous maudlin talks and sentimentality. A 92 on the Vomit Meter. One star. Da'ud Bob says," If they'd cut out all of the stuff that was unnecessary to move the plot forward, the movie would have been a lot better. And a lot shorter. Check it out!"

Upcoming movies and miniseries to watch for!

King Lear

"Coming soon" to Amazon Prime

BBC Two has done a new version of Shakespeare's King Lear, starring Anthony Hopkins in the title role, with Emma Thompson, Florence Pugh, and Emily Watson as his three daughters, Andrew (Moriarty in the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock) as Edgar, and a host of others.

I'm still trying to find a way to actually own this on DVD so I can add it to my Shakespeare ShelfTM. No luck so far

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b57d0w, and the trailer for it (well worth watching!) can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yZU9mdbh_0

Robin Hood

Opens November 21, 2018 (delayed from September)

"Robin of Loxley, a war-hardened Crusader, and his Moorish commander mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown in a thrilling action-adventure packed with gritty battlefield exploits, mind-blowing fight choreography, and a timeless romance." Starring Taron Egerton in the title role, with Jamie Dornan, Paul Anderson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jamie Foxx as Little John, Eve Hewson, and Tim Minchin as Friar Tuck.

Yet another movie that I don't think needed to be remade (again and again and again!).


Mary Queen of Scots

December 7, 2018 in limited release

Mary Stuart's attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England, finds her condemned to years of imprisonment before facing execution. Starring Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I, Saoirse Ronan in the title role, and David Tennant (as John Knox).

Oh, look! Another remake! And one that really, really messes up the actual history (at least, based on the trailer which is now available on-line at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnqjSgMU36U). I mean, let's get real: Elizabeth and Mary never had a friendship; they never even met face-to-face.

No official website yet.

The Kid Who Would Be King

Now March 1, 2019 (that's at least two delays that I know of)

"A band of kids embark on an epic quest to thwart a medieval menace." Starring Rebecca Ferguson, Patrick Stewart as Merlin, Tom Taylor.

No official website yet.

The Name of the Rose

2019 (in Italy)

"A monk investigates a series of mysterious deaths at an abbey. Television adaptation (eight episodes) of Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose." John Turturro in the Sean Connery role, Michael Emerson, Rupert Everett, Damian Hardung, Claudio Bigagli.

Really? Yet another remake? Can no one write any original scripts anymore?

No official website yet.

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