Solmon Kane (James Purefoy) is a bad man. When we first meet Captain Kane, his ship has docked and he is doing some pillaging and plundering. Some would beg for mercy but what they got was a taste of Captain Kane’s blade or found themselves on the wrong end of his firearm. Solomon is just trying to make it to the throne room of this castle he has just stormed and get his treasure, though it seems as if this room is protected by demons of the devil himself. Some of his men even try to flee but… we did mention that Solomon Kane is a bad man right? Not a good idea running out on Captain Kane. Eventually Kane makes it to the throne room and his treasure but another is waiting for him. This would be one of Satan’s more potent demons who has come to claim Solomon Kane’s wretched soul. Solomon thinks this can’t be because God is protecting him. Why he would think this is beyond me but that’s what the man said. So with this demon armed with his blade of fire he is poised to take Solomon’s soul, but discretion being the better part of valor Solomon makes his exit with this demon assuring him that Solomon is simply delaying the inevitable.
The next time we see Solomon, like many a scoundrel, he has found religion as he is living in a monastery trying to do right to keep the demons that are pursuing him at bay. Thing is the priest running this institution has been told by the Lord in a dream that Solomon has to go. Solomon begs to stay but this is God talking and like a bird thrown from the nest, Solomon has to find his own path.
On his journey Solomon will make acquaintance of a peaceful family led by their patriarch William (Pete Postlethwaite) who are planning a journey to the New World, but there are some bad things going on in the old world which will make their journey a dangerous one. In particular there is an evil priest named Malachi (Jason Flemyng) who is kidnapping or killing any and everybody in this land and either transforming
these people into sharp toothed mini demons or enslaving those to week to fight. Eventually these demons catch up with Solomon and this peaceful family but Solomon has completely and totally sworn off violence to keep the demons at bay. Well… so much for that. Though Solomon didn’t revert to his old ways in time to save everybody, he still has time to save the fair daughter Meredith (Rachel-Hurd Wood) and unfortunately for those who are in his way, the old Solomon is back and angrier than ever, but this time he really thinks he has God on his side, and if we know one thing, there is no nut like a religious nut.
Solomon’s quest to save Meredith will take him back to where his journey to damnation began as a boy and ultimately he will come face to face his greatest battle with his very soul in the balance. Good luck with that Solomon Kane.
Heaven only knows where this movie came from but one would think that a film with this much sword fighting, swashbuckling, CGI fire monsters, murder, destruction and mayhem would’ve gotten just a little bit more publicity. Plus the story comes from Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan which is a blurb that’s marquis ready already. I know that neither Will Smith nor George Clooney are in this movie but doggone it, somebody give this movie some play.
But even though a movie has a bunch of great stuff in it, which ‘Solomon Kane’ definitely has, doesn’t mean it’s a great movie and while I would fall short of calling director Michael J. Bassett’s movie great it was still worth seeing especially when you consider it’s a sword and sorcery flick and we really don’t get too many of those any more.
The good things about this movie include some fantastically choreographed action sequences, a nicely realized story line, while simple, still has enough depth to avoid being simply banal, and there was a really nice supporting cast for James Purefoy’s Solomon to play off of. Bassett paces the movie well, though there are some points in the middle where it drags here and there and the movie looks simply fantastic.
While all those things keep ‘Solomon Kane’ entertaining it does have its issues. The CGI used for the monsters was suspect at best, crappy at worst, but my main issue would’ve been the lack of development of our main villain. We have two villains to sift through with the more interesting one being the masked evil knight with the dreadlocks who has a deep secret but ultimately this villain turns out to be nothing more but an glorified evil robot when it looked like something could’ve been done to give him some more personality and make his showdown with Solomon more impactful. More damning is that our main villain Malachi doesn’t show up until the very end of the movie, and is about as threatening your average transsexual with bad hair. True, that might seem scary to me and you, but for scourge known as Solomon Kane not so much. The entire final fight, after Solomon goes through all this trouble, including being crucified, was anti-climactic mainly because Malachi ended up being so weakly presented.
But still ‘Solomon Kane’ was a fine movie filled with violence, action, damsels in distress and an angry dude with a sword doing much damage with God’s blessing. A throwback to the days before our cinemas were overrun with gay pirates and metrosexual vampires and that in itself is appreciated.