There are many paths to redemption–not all of them peaceful.
Solomon Kane (2009) is a character fantasy horror film based on author Robert E. Howard‘s The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane book series; brought to the big screen by director Michael J. Bassett. Things got pretty hectic for Solomon (James Purefoy) with the devil after his soul and all that jazz that comes with the afterlife; it’s ghouls and henchmen. To make things worse, add in a boorish second act featuring a modest Puritan family being slaughtered. What you get is a very angry Soloman, spending approximately 25-30 minutes, having less to do with the first 10 minutes of the film, with mediocre sword fighting speckled sorcery fantasy parts.
Stripped by his father, Josiah Kane (Max von Sydow), of his royal birthright –Solomon became a swashbuckling, wealth hoarding pirate without fear or religious morals. He and his band of misfits were invincible, that is, until their last pursuit was met with one of Satan’s own Reapers, there to collect his due–Solomon’s deliciously sinful soul. Of course, he wasn’t having any part of himself serving in hell, retreating to a monastery to atone for his sins. But his mere presence there brought misfortune. He was eventually thrown out by the church–even after giving the monastery all his worth. Solomon was destined to roam and find his true purpose in the world.
I was never more at home than I was at battle.
Brief repose came in part with Solomon shacking up, in a manner of speaking, with a holier than thou Puritan family. William Crowthorn (the late Pete Postlethwaite) provided Solomon with the motivation to “do what’s right” and save your soul bit by rescuing their daughter, Meredith (Rachel Hurd-Wood) after one of Malachi’s henchmen (Jason Flemyng) steals her away. Eventually, we run into a revenge laden, Clash of the Titans‘ish ending that didn’t do much for entertainment.
Even though the film is teeming with action in the form of its many sword fights and brilliantly intense–though brief special effects, the film is keenly character driven, yet falls short with an insufficient supporting story, and failed character backdrops–the relationship between Solomon and his dejected brother Marcus (Samuel Roukin) as the menacing older brother and future henchman for Satan came up a bit short. Even the specific relationship with his father were a bit spotty.
Overall, Solomon Kane is uniquely character driven and is one of those films worth a look. Despite it’s delayed US theater release, the film does provide sufficient material for another “pirate-type” anti-hero franchise.
Source: Solomon Kane/RadiusTWC
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