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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
Cast
James Purefoy
Max Von Sydow
Pete Postlethwaite
Rachel Hurd-Wood
Jason Flemyng.
Directors
Screenwriters
Running Time
104 minutes

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Solomon Kane
Brit sword and sorcery returns! Next stop Krull 2!


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Plot
The year is 1601, and English mercenary Solomon Kane (Purefoy) encounters a demon, who informs him that his bloodthirsty actions have damned his soul for eternity. Determined to save himself, Kane converts to Puritanism and renounces violence, until the kidnap of a young girl (Hurd-Wood) by an evil sorcerer sets him on the road to redemption.


Review
Solomon Kane
In 1928, four years before he dreamed up Conan The Barbarian, Texan pulp writer Robert E. Howard gave birth to Solomon Kane, “a sombre and gloomy man of pale face and cold eyes, all of it shadowed by a slouch hat”, who dressed like Van Helsing, fought like Conan, and battled evil as though his very soul depended on it — which, in fact, it did.

Now, some 80 years after Kane’s first appearance in Weird Tales magazine, into his buckled boots steps James Purefoy, who attacks the role with the same gusto Howard’s hero brings to vanquishing evil. Although his native Somerset accent lends some of the script’s purpler prose unintentional comedy value, Purefoy cuts a terrifically intense dash as Kane, effectively managing the transition from amoral killer to tortured soul who, much like the subject of Kenny Rogers’ Coward Of The County, finds that eschewing violence is all very well, but “sometimes you have to fight to be a man”. Max Von Sydow and Pete Postlethwaite add necessary gravitas in supporting roles, although an equally weighty actor would have been welcome in the role of villain: no amount of demonic make-up or CG trickery can make Jason Flemyng remotely threatening.

British writer-director Michael J. Bassett, whose promising debut was the World War I trenches-set chiller Deathwatch, handles the first fully-fledged film adaptation of Howard’s Kane stories with the same level of commitment Peter Jackson brought to the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, the darker moments of which are an obvious influence on Bassett’s film. For less than the effects budget of this year’s other sword ’n’ sorcery adventures, Percy Jackson and Clash Of The Titans, Bassett has delivered a dark-as-balls Highlander for the 21st century, played with such conviction it’s hard not to be swept along.


Verdict
If weapons and wizardry get your blood up, and you prefer your movies dark and brooding and minus the sandals, Solomon Kane fits the bill. It may lack The Lord Of The Rings’ majesty, but Robert E. Howard fans will lap it up.


Reviewed by David Hughes

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Solomon Kane
Empire Star Rating

Solomon Kane

Dup post ... More

Posted by Fluke Skywalker at 15:37, 22 March 2012 | Report This Post


Solomon Kane

L: Mr Thunderwing Whatever else you think about this film, you've gotta love a 17th century badass with a west country accent :D] That is so true - never seen it's like before nor will you again (unless there's a sequel). I didn't really know what to expect with Solomon Kane and it's actually a decent film, the action is cool, it's violent and fairly scary on occasion. The Britishness of the whole thing is great as well (he's off home to Somerset at one point) as mentioned befo... More

Posted by Fluke Skywalker at 15:37, 22 March 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Alright me babber?

Solomon Kane An adaptation of one of Robert E. Howard's other heroes not called Conan, this is a dark, serious take on the character. While it doesn't skimp on action, which is very well done, and the effects are mostly pretty good considering its budget, it's also quite heavy with dialogue and themes of redemption and damnation, which is pretty true to Howard's original stories and tone (from what I remember having read them decades ago...). James Purefoy is excellent in the le... More

Posted by KeithM at 23:36, 02 May 2011 | Report This Post


Alright me babber?

Whatever else you think about this film, you've gotta love a 17th century badass with a west country accent ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr Thunderwing at 20:25, 19 December 2010 | Report This Post


Fair. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by reminn at 12:06, 03 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: Rgirvan44 I really dug it for what it was - a throwback to the fantasy movies of the 80s. It wasn't big, and it wasn't clever, but it was fun and in no other movie will you get the lines Kane: Where is this cursed land? Preist: Between the shires of Dorset and Somerest! Demons, zombies, cannibals - there is a lot to like. Sometimes the smallish budget shows up (the final battle scenes), and maybe one or two plot twists that weren't really needed, but it was a good time a... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 16:09, 29 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: Timon L: homersimpson_esq What about the criminally dull first half? I can see what it wad /i] to be; I just think it failed utterly. I didn't even find it entertaining in a retro or so-bad-it's-good way. I was just bored - which for an action film, is fatal. ou sir, are mad. Mad! Boring first half? With Purefoy being attacked by 'The Devil's Reaper'. If I could I'd making tutting noises and roll my eyes at you. Currently watching it again on Blu Ray. Can't wait for I... More

Posted by homersimpson_esq at 21:39, 28 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Rather a bland and patchy film. The first half dawdles along not really going anywhere fast and the second half is crammed with too much in too short a time. It never really works for me. The special effects are decent enough and Purefoy is decent enough but it never really gripped me in any way. I would say a solid enough film if deeply flawed in pacing and script but worth 2/5. ... More

Posted by sanchia at 21:13, 28 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: homersimpson_esq What about the criminally dull first half? I can see what it wad /i] to be; I just think it failed utterly. I didn't even find it entertaining in a retro or so-bad-it's-good way. I was just bored - which for an action film, is fatal. ou sir, are mad. Mad! Boring first half? With Purefoy being attacked by 'The Devil's Reaper'. If I could I'd making tutting noises and roll my eyes at you. Currently watching it again on Blu Ray. Can't wait for Ironclad. W... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Timon at 21:07, 28 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Excellent film

Better than Centurion?Similar films with similar budgets. ... More

Posted by BOHEMIANBOB at 23:56, 07 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Excellent film

I love this film. Other than the great opening scene, I agree that the first half is quite slow, but once it gets started, it's great fun. The obviously limited budget does constrain the special effects, although they're still pretty impressive - especially the scary mirrors. How many times was that village set reused though?! James Purefoy is great as Kane, bizarre accent and all. At the end I was certainly wanting more, so fingers crossed for a sequel. ... More

Posted by BelfastBoy at 12:08, 07 September 2010 | Report This Post


Excellent film

Excellent acting, cinematography, pace of film, soundtrack, which all draws you into the film. You feel the gloom, rain soaked ground and brutal/bloody well choreographed sword fight scenes. Far superior to the latest high budget flops such as clash of the titans. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ReviewX at 21:41, 27 July 2010 | Report This Post


Good

I have only just got round to renting this and watching it, but I really enjoyed it. I thought James Purefoy was perfect throughout and thought he did menacing quite well even with his West Country accent. The only thing for me that lets it down is the CG. In modern films even with a tight budget there is no real excuse for what was a times laughable graphics. Still enjoyable throughout and I would definitely be in the line at the cinema if a sequel were made. ... More

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Posted by cj5ar at 13:50, 26 July 2010 | Report This Post


really enjoyd this, but then again im a sucker for the dark brooding anti hero. the demon-thing at the end was a bit jarring but other than that i thought it was quite original and the cgi very well executed. Pete Postlethwaithe and Max Von Sydow are welcome in any film theyre in and i though James Purefoy was well-cast in the lead too. a soild 4 stars from me ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Nalfeshnee at 08:23, 08 June 2010 | Report This Post


Entertaining but with some major faults

I never thought I'd say this, but here is a film which consists of less-than-capable acting and directing letting the awesome writing down. Solomon Kane, in theory, should work perfectly: it's full of thought-provoking themes and interesting characters which give the film a healthy amount of substance, but here style is missing from the equation. James Purefoy, as good and dedicated as he is in the film, does not let the audience quite understand his character. Yes, Kane is looking for redempti... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by djphilips at 10:10, 09 April 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda...

I really liked soloman kane, james purefoy was great as the swashbuckiling hero who is looking for redemption in the eyes of god, but none the less shows great apptitude for the sword and the flintlock. But i'm more looking forward to conan, but i really enjoyed this film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by anakin solo at 20:40, 23 March 2010 | Report This Post


Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda...

I had a lot of hope for Solomon Kane, the one action fantasy film this year that decided to forget about ridiculously huge budgets and just boil down to a man with a badass hat, a flintlock pistol in one hand and a rapier in the other. In the end though, although the action was pretty good, the casting was interesting but provided us with a decent display of acting and the overall dark tone was very well suited, the film to me seemed a little bit boring. Saying that this film was slow in parts ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The Fanatic at 14:50, 17 March 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Solomon Kane

Laughably bad I'm afraid, a west country Van Helsing, a landless vagrant indeed. I really thought I would like this one as well. It just scrapes by with a generous 2 stars. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by skeletonjack at 18:27, 02 March 2010 | Report This Post


Solomon Kane

Kane is pretty much your quintessential anti-hero. A brooding sort who fights minions of satan in his spare time, this is an enjoyable action adventure film that was much better than I thought it was going to be ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 17:01, 27 February 2010 | Report This Post


Really liked it...

...some gritty action, rain soaked moody actors, and the best dirty sword battles since Highlander. I liked it a lot. Even Mr Kanes Yorkshire / Irish / Somerset accent adds the unintentional comedy value. FAB ... More

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Posted by The kUrGaN at 03:30, 26 February 2010 | Report This Post


Seriously...

Utter guff ... More

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Posted by philrhysmarshall at 01:18, 26 February 2010 | Report This Post


Best Film I Have Seen So Far This Year.

Wow, I had seen this today and was completly blown away. This is my first film of 2010 in the cinema, what a good start! I argee that this pushes Van Helsing aside, Soloman Kane rocks and that's that. The action is constant, the story pulls you in and never lets go, the special effects are terriying and awesome and the powerful pefomances are perfect. From Pete Postlethwaite, Max Von Sydow, Jason Flemying to Rachel Hurd Wood, they played their parts well apart from Flemying who just not scary en... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 17:47, 25 February 2010 | Report This Post


THE REAL VAN HELSING....

This film was like a breath of fresh air compared to that Stephen Sommers/Hugh Jackman pile of garbage that was released a while back. James Purefoy knocks this role out of the park and I for one sincerely hope there's a sequel. Come on Empire! Three stars? I'd give it four!!! The reality is - this film won't make half as much money as Van Helsing did - but if there's any justice in this universe at least we may have witnessed the start of a nifty new franchise....... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ROTGUT at 17:42, 23 February 2010 | Report This Post


The phrase dark-as-balls has just made my day ... More

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Posted by BrooksyTHX1138 at 22:59, 22 February 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Solomon Kane Bad Ass Hard Well Hard

Meh, it's nowhere near Willow and Conan! I thought it was pretty crap, just didn't fit together well.  I'd say 2 stars, my brother and Dad say 3. ... More

Posted by Invader_Ace at 23:38, 21 February 2010 | Report This Post


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