WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
James Purefoy is Solomon Kane, a soldier of fortune, whose wicked ways earn him a first class ticket to hell. Being a skilled warrior, he manages to escape Satanís reaper, and flees to England- where he seeks solace in the church. Eventually, heís cast out, and left to fend for himself- which proves to be difficult, as heís sworn an oath to become a man of peace in order to avoid hell. Of course, oaths are made to be broken, and when a peaceful family of farmers who offer Kane shelter are slaughtered by the disciples of the demonic high priest, Malachi- Kane heads out on the war path, determined to rescue the familyís only surviving member- their teenage daughter.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
SOLOMON KANE is a movie I never thought was going to get a decent release in North America. It's not that it's a bad movie- it's actually pretty damn good as far as low-budget sword & sorcery movies go- but it hit theaters almost four years ago in the UK. Heck, I saw and reviewed it at TIFF (where it played Midnight Madness) back in 2009, my first year at the fest. I figured then it would get snapped up, but when a distribution deal never happened I figured it would be forgotten.
Lucky for SOLOMON KANE, a little show called GAME OF THRONES has come along, and has suddenly made sword & sorcery "hot" again. The Weinstein Co., Radius shingle picked it up for VOD, and now it's finally hitting North American Blu-ray. If GAME OF THRONES is Machiavellian and complex, SOLOMON KANE is it's far less complicated sibling. Based on the Robert E. Howard pulp novels, this is an action film, through and through. Imagine a sharper version of the recent CONAN reboot, and you have an idea what this is.
James Purefoy nails the titular role, and it's a shame that director Michael J. Bassett didn't have a bigger budget to play with, as the film is never quite able to live up to the thrilling opening that sees Kane come face-to-face with the devil's reaper. From there, it becomes a wee-bit less spectacular and budget conscious, but Bassett keeps it moving at a quick clip, and some of the scrapes Kane finds himself in are pretty badass.
The biggest problem with it is the finale, which features a big showdown with a pretty dodgy CGI creature (voiced by Jason Flemyng), and brings the film to an abrupt end, which clearly paves the way for sequels that will never come. Too bad, as if Purefoy and Bassett had gotten the money they needed to really give this the scope it deserved it might have been a real cult-hit.
SOLOMON KANE actually has a nice array of extras, probably ported over from the Region 2 UK Blu-ray. There's commentary by Bassett and Purefoy, as well as an exhaustive, hour-long documentary on the making of the film. There's also separate interviews with Purefoy and Bassett, a deleted scene and a featurette on the CGI/FX.
While it's taken four whole years for SOLOMON KANE to see the (legitimate) light of day in North America, it's still a fun little flick, and worth seeing for Purefoy's bad ass performance alone. A big-screen series of SOLOMON KANE films is probably never going to happen, but as a one-off adventure, it's worth checking out, especially if you're a fantasy buff.