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.
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.
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
| RE: Solomon Kane Bad Ass Hard Well Hard|
I think it is safe to say that this will be a future cult classi. Some like Homer won't dig it but for us that do it is a welcome addition to the likes of willow and conan. ... More
Posted by genejoke at 14:36, 21 February 2010 | Report This Post
|Solomon Kane Bad Ass Hard Well Hard|
Solomon Kane is very enjoyable and will have you rooting for the hero/anti hero whatever. It is action packed and the score is pretty decent adding a certain epicness to the overtop drama and fightscenes with monsters and witches zombies and evil army henchmen. Great fun from start to finish ... More
Posted by Bighousewill at 13:30, 21 February 2010 | Report This Post
| RE: Soloman Kane|
Homer, you may be a mod... but you're wrong. A criminally dull first half?! In the first 10mins you had Kane battling the Reaper with flaming swords!
Plus the film cost £25 million. Cut it some lack. ... More
Posted by Timon at 10:43, 21 February 2010 | Report This Post
Highly enjoyable fantasy nonesense. It looked good some decent action and James Purefoy cut a good hero even with the accent. So the firsthalf was a bit slow but it let it build up Kanes character and for the budget it didnt look cheap like some fantasy fare in the past.. Krull, Hawk the Slayer, Ladyhawke and DragonHeart. Alot more fun some other big actioner out at the end of last year and this wasnt in 3D. A good solid start for futre sequels with any luck ... More
Posted by haygaz at 09:16, 21 February 2010 | Report This Post
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Oh, and Purefoy was awful. I dunno what the accent was, cos it was only occasionally vaguely West Country.
I fancy watching Krull or Willow now tho. ... More
Posted by homersimpson_esq at 11:42, 20 February 2010 | Report This Post
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The first half did have the attack on the island in Africa. But yeah, it was a slow build. Budget reasons I suspect more than anything. Still the family he meets all did pretty well, and it was nicely shot. Loved how they obviously used the same town set mulitiple times.
It wasn't a "so bad its good" for me. I did enjoy it- it is a throwback, but without Arnie and Co. ... More
Posted by Rgirvan44 at 11:39, 20 February 2010 | Report This Post
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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. ... More
Posted by homersimpson_esq at 11:32, 20 February 2010 | Report This Post
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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 Dorest 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 at the cinema.
Posted by Rgirvan44 at 11:26, 20 February 2010 | Report This Post
1/5. Awful on pretty much every level. ... More
Posted by homersimpson_esq at 11:18, 20 February 2010 | Report This Post
Extremely compelling movie for someone who is not a fan of the horror genre. This film has a wider appeal than the obvious demographic (15-30 year old males) Given that as a woman, I perceived its only drawback to be the lack of creditable female characters, the story had me gripped and the effects, acting, cinematographer and music had me enthralled. I only shut my eyes twice to avoid the sight of Solomon kane suffering brutality. (Ouch-it was too realistic).
A very dirty film in the best... More
Posted by hollcoll at 15:35, 19 February 2010 | Report This Post
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I really enjoyed it. Nice to see an old fashioned fantasy adventure with blood and beheadings thrown in for good measure.
Even better to have the hero from the West Country. Great fun all the way through but some parts felt a bit shoe-horned in (the priest and his 'flock'), but then I suppose it showed the wider effects of the Sorcerer.
Nice to see a bunch of famous faces crop up and can't wait to see Purefoy, Crook and Flemyng back for Ironclad!
Posted by Timon at 08:38, 19 February 2010 | Report This Post
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Caught this yesterday. I thought it was pretty standard fantasy fare. Which could have been a lot better. I was not expecting anything ground breaking but it was a let down. 2/5 Off the top of my head ... ... More
Posted by the anomaly at 12:02, 18 February 2010 | Report This Post
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I loved it, I would say the 3 star review is pretty fair as it won't be everyones cup of tea.
Well worth watching though and surprisingly solid effects overall.
I read a review that referred to Purefoy speaking like a west country batman, and he really does. It fits perfectly too.
Posted by genejoke at 00:12, 18 February 2010 | Report This Post
So how did James Purefoy feel about the 3 star rating seeing as he was just in the office?
They did say it was a 21st Century Highlander......
5star review in my book ... More
Posted by kenada_woo at 21:19, 16 February 2010 | Report This Post
So how did James Purefoy feel about the 3 star rating seeing as he was just in the office? ... More
Posted by Timon at 14:43, 16 February 2010 | Report This Post