Monday, 24 January 2011

Film Review: SOLOMON KANE (2010)

Director: Michael J. Bassett
Running time: 100 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

UK release date 19th February 2010

Watched on Sky+ Monday 24th January 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I saw this film last year at the cinema and quite enjoyed it. It has now made it to TV and I thought it was worth a second viewing… Here’s what I thought second time around. ‘Solomon Kane’ is based on a character created by Robert E. Howard, the writer who also created the, ‘Conan the Barbarian’ in the 1930’s. So as you can guess, I was quite keen to see what the filmmakers have done with him. It is the 1600’s, and Solomon Kane, who left his home at a young age having argued with his father and having thrown his brother from a cliff, is the captain of as ship in North Africa seeking treasure. What he finds is not what he bargained for; he finds the devil’s reaper who tells him that because of his evil ways, his soul was forfeit. Not wanting to go to hell, Kane denounces violence and vows never to kill again before escaping. That’s the set-up and here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts (summary haters please pray for redemption while I write the next paragraph).

Back in England, Solomon is staying at a monastery when Father Michael asks him to leave. He has had a vision and it’s time for Solomon to move on. With great reluctance Solomon leaves and heads west, towards his home. He is attacked on the road but is rescued by William Crowthorn and his family, wife Katherine, oldest son, Edward, younger son, Samuel and daughter, Meredith. They travel on together and Solomon begins to form a bond with them, particularly with Meredith and the young Samuel. Meanwhile, a band of warriors lead by a mysterious masked man is stalking the land, taking everyone they see as slaves or turning them, by evil magic, into soldiers. The family come across a place where some people had tried to burn a witch; everyone was dead with their eyes burnt out. They find a girl, the only survivor. Taking her with them, they continue on their journey, not realising that she is, in fact, the witch. Solomon discovers the deceit but the witch escapes, but not before marking Meredith. The family are then caught by the band of warriors and Meredith kidnapped. Enraged, Solomon now breaks his vow and kills as many of them as he can. Fatally wounded, William tells Solomon that he can redeem himself if he saves Meredith. This is now Solomon’s mission, but does he have the strength of will to carry it out? That’s enough summary for now.

Although quite slowly paced, I found this film very entertaining, the action sequences were very well done, the dialogue well paced and the special effects were excellent. I thought the mix of action and fantasy was very well judged, the balance was about right for me. Very good performances from James Purefoy as Solomon Kane, the late Pete Postlethwaite as William Crowthorn, Rachel Hurd-Wood as Meredith Crowthorn, Patrick Hurd-Wood as Samuel Crowthorn, Jason Flemyng as Malachi and Max von Sydow as Josiah Kane.

I suppose you can’t help but compare this film with the Conan the Barbarian films. I found it stood up well, set in a time that people can relate to and with much more dialogue, it’s very different, but I can see in the hand of Robert E. Howard there. Over all, it’s a very well made, even paced film with some very good performances, some great fight scenes and a great hero. I really enjoyed it… Recommended.

My score: 7.2/10

LINKS:
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0970452/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/solomon_kane/
Official Site: http://www.solomonkane.com/
Trailer: http://uk.imdb.com/rg/VIDEO_PLAY/LINK/video/imdb/vi3791717401/

2 comments:

Jack L said...

i agree, I thought it was enjoyable but slightly forgettable, although I do remember thinking the ending was rather ridiculous...

Great review!

Andy the Time Lord said...

Just saw this recently myself, and I pretty much agree with your assessment.

I watched this after the news of Postlethwaite's passing, and it made his scenes a bit sad, ultimately.

The fight scenes were quite awesome, and I really dug Purefoy as Kane. I enjoyed it enough that I wouldn't mind another go-around, sequel-wise.