Title: Solomon Kane
Directed by: Michael J. Bassett
Starring: James Purefoy, Max von Sydow, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Alice Krige and Pete Postlethwaite
Running time: 104 minutes, Rated R
Special Features: Commentary with writer/director Michael J. Bassett and James Purefoy; The Making of Solomon Kane; Deleted Scene: Cave Fight; Special FX: The Creation of the Fire Demon; Interview with Writer/Director Michael J. Bassett; Interview with James Purefoy; Original Concept Art
Captain Solomon Kane (James Purefoy) has lead a life of brutal evil and bloodshed until he is confronted with The Devil’s Reaper who has come for his damned soul. Kane escapes his fate and decides to lead a life of a good puritan. While traveling, he is attacked by a group of thugs and is beaten severely because he has renounced violence. He is rescued by a family traveling to the seashore to set sail for the new world; and with them he has found a new purpose and feels the need to protect them. Some bewitched followers of a sorcerer named Malachi bludgeons the family and kidnaps their daughter Meredith (Rachel Hurd-Wood), he makes a promise to her dying father (the late Pete Postlethwaite) that he will rescue her and bring her home.
Director Michael J. Bassett has taken the original Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan) and written a story that seems suspiciously similar to the 2004 box office bomb (though I still liked it) Van Helsing, but according to Bassett in the Interview featurette in the special features, the story details and costume from that film were ripped off from Robert E. Howard’s story Solomon Kane. James Purefoy shows himself to be a truly dedicated actor as seen in the Making of Solomon Kane, where he endures the harsh climate of Prague during a rain soaked battle scene and like a boss performs his own stunts and swordplay.
The Negative: By no fault of the filmmakers, I still kept getting flashbacks to Van Helsing. I understand Bassett wanted to keep the costume true to Robert E. Howard’s description, but that other film really tainted the look of the hero. Because some time has passed since people have seen that film, they’ll probably forget about it or won’t make the connection.
The Positive: The story is simple and straightforward. There is realism and intensity to the character Kane. The violence is fairly gruesome, but a lot of the carnage is left to the audience’s imagination with pantomimes and cutaways; but, don’t fret gore fans, there are plenty of blood spurting and beheadings. I liked that there wasn’t a love interest and Bassett pleads his case in the special features interview that a love interest would’ve taken the story somewhere it didn’t need to go. Solomon Kane could be a hero to a young girl and not expect a reward of her love in the end. It’s just a story of redemption and promises kept.
Hopefully by word of mouth, this film can reach the audience it deserves. The special effects are well done, it has a classic adventure feel, the swordfighting and fight choreography were excellent and I would really like to see this as a trilogy as it was intended.
Total Rating: A
Reviewed by: JM Willis