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Release Date: 09/09/22 [Cinemas]

Genre: Action/Drama/History

Studio: The Avenue

"The story of fifteenth century Czech icon and warlord Jan Zizka, who defeated armies of the Teutonic Order and the Holy Roman Empire."


Medieval is an epic tale about Jan Zizka, a Czech military leader who is now a national hero. He famously never lost a battle despite being blinded in one eye (and later both eyes) and leading three crusades. Medieval weaves together several stories into one to showcase Zizka’s military prowess. The story takes place in the late 1300’s when the Western world was thrown into chaos as the Catholic church split. Two rival popes competed for power and prestige and there was a fight over who would become Holy Roman Emperor. King Sigismund (Matthew Goode) and King Wenceslas (Karel Roden) are in the midst of duking it out to see who will rise to power. Jan (Ben Foster) is hired by Lord Boresh (Michael Caine) to kidnap Lady Katherine (Sophie Lowe). She is the fiancee of the powerful Lord Rosenberg (Til Schweiger) and Boresh is concerned about Rosenberg’s rise to power alongside King Sigismund. Jan and his band of misfits kidnap Katherine and attempt to deliver her to her father in France and use her as a pawn to keep greedy men in check. Those trying to recover Katherine are led by the fearsome Torak (Rolan Møller) who trained with Jan long ago. 


Medieval boasts plenty of violent fight sequences. This is true medieval fighting with Jan’s weapon of choice being a mace. Be prepared for some gruesome scenes including ankles snapping in half and even a beheading. That being said, the fight scenes were very well done and realistically portray the time period. The acting was very solid with Foster being steady, strong, and reserved as Jan, effectively willing you to root for him. Goode is the guy you love to hate, as he schemes to take over the throne and speaks in a clipped manner that is oddly infuriating. Møller is an intimidating presence and you genuinely get scared when he enters a scene. Lowe does her best with the material she’s given but her character arc is a little lackluster. 


However, the elements that truly shine in Medieval are the fight sequences and the cinematography. During the fight scenes you are thrust into the action and the brutality is on full display. The editing provides you with quick snippets of those on the battlefield and there is never a lull in the action. Medieval’s shortcomings involve trying to explain an overload of back story to orient the audience with the political backdrop of the 1300’s and some disjointed and rushed story elements. There’s a semi-explored love story that gives the plot more weight than it originally would have had but the connection feels a trifle forced. And although we witness Jan’s fighting skills several times throughout the movie, there is really only one scene where we see his military intelligence fully on display. That scene is one of the best in the movie and it will leave you wishing you would have gotten to witness more large-scale confrontations. 


All in all Medieval is a fun watch for fans of historical fiction and offers some insight into the life of Jan Zizka. It’s enjoyable to learn more about a Czech military legend who has not gotten the recognition he deserves in modern media. Plus, the immense amount of action in the movie ensures you’ll never be bored.

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