One of the basic principles of metal armour is that you always wear padding underneath it.
Someone seems not to have told this gentleman of this principle.
As someone who regularly wears armour and lets students have a swing at him (as hard as they can), padding under metal armour is a damn fine thing. It absorbs the shock of the blow. (Not that I get hit all that often, I have a shield and rattan sword to block with; the difficulty of getting past a shield being the point of the exercise.)
Without padding, a blow designed to disable or kill can cause severe internal injuries and/or drive the armour into your flesh.
That is particularly true for chain mail.
Of course, chain mail without padding can also have a certain see-through quality.
Which may be rather the point in this case. Display of a fine manifestation of masculine musculature is surely what the image is about.
If one Googles for images of female warriors, the apparent necessity for strategic display of bare flesh is obvious. And strictly in the world of fantasy — teenage male fantasy at that.
Do the same for images of male warriors, and the bare flesh quotient is somewhat lower, but still a strong theme. Even when the physique is largely covered, it is still on display.
Compare the above examples to a c.1485 rendition of Joan of Arc – rendered when plate armour was still military hi-tech — and the difference is striking. This is armour designed to work and drawn by someone who could see the real things on display and in action, whether on the battlefield or in tournaments.
Joan (not yet Sainted, that did not happen until 1920, but already a declared martyr) is depicted with her helmet off, which is normal for displaying a particular personage, as someone with helmet on was faceless. This is particularly so with Joan, as her womanhood can only really be expressed with helmet off.
But the point of the ahistorical images of see-through chain mail and strategically displayed flesh is to invoke an imagined past (or even a fantasy alternative), not represent the actual one.
While such indulgences are amusing, I get a little more irritated with attempts to represent the past get certain other things egregiously wrong. Such as cavalry charges. Cavalry charges did not operate as a charging mob, but in solid lines. Often with the boot of one rider right next to the boot of the next. A continuous wall of horseflesh carrying armoured warriors heading straight for you was what made charging cavalry so intimidating. If you were foot soldiers and all stood your ground, horses were not stupid, they would not impale themselves on spear points. But if you broke ranks, the cavalry would slaughter you. The trick was believing that the guys around you would stand — that belief is what separated steady infantry from slaughtered cavalry fodder. Creating that trust was central to creating effective infantry.
Throwing your shield away (clearly done so the shield does not get in the camera’s way) is annoying too, but at least I can see the cinematic purpose. Watching alleged champion knights in El Cid make standard new-fighter errors (such as using your shield to provide counterpoint for your sword swing) is just funny.
Warrior might with displayed flesh, however, is both fun and an artistic convention that extends all the way back to the ancient Greeks.
This is also the Saturday chit-chat post.