Thursday, 18 March 2010

Solomon Kane

Starting with an impressive sequence that involves the assault on a foreign city and its strange castle, Solomon Kane wastes no time in getting into the action.
As Kane casually slaughters his way through guards, calling them foreign and pagan, you quickly get the impression that this is not a nice guy.
A creepy sequence involving mirrors and monsters leaves Kane alone in the throne room, but instead of treasure he finds himself face to face with the Devil’s Reaper – a suitably creepy monster – that tells him he’s going to be taken to hell, right now.
Kane escapes and renounces violence, going to live in a monastery.
When he is sent out from the monastery he encounters a Puritan family, after taking a severe beating by some bandits he refuses to fight, knowing the Devil will find him if he resorts to violence again.
Here the film takes a dip in pace. While we have sped along to this point there is a deliberate slow down as Kane learns about the family and the Puritan religion. With Pete Postlethwaite as the father, the story is never less than watchable, but I would have liked the pace to have been kept up.
When the villains finally appear and Kane renounces his renunciation of violence things start to move. The fights are brutal and violent, with Kane displaying a true talent for death dealing.
The story is quite strong and there are some fine performances from all concerned. James Purefoy makes a compelling lead, making a hero with a West Country accent seem like screen gold.
Yes, that’s right. Solomon Kane is from Somerset/Devon way and speaks like it.

While this character comes from the pen of the man who wrote Conan, the tones of this and the Arnie Conan films could not be more different.
While Conan shone with bright colours and the glory of being a warrior and a man, Kane is muddy and grey, just like the shades of morality that run throughout the film.
That is not to say the film isn’t visually interesting, because it most certainly is. Creature design and some wonderful sets give your eyes plenty to look at. Even the scenes in the woods manage to feel less than familiar, given how many fantasy movies take place in them.

Solomon Kane is a great slice of heroic fantasy and I would recommend it be seen. While it has probably gone from your local cinema by now, take a chance on it when it comes out for home viewing.

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