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Review: Solomon Kane (TIFF)

Solomon Kane (TIFF)
09.24.2009
7 10


PLOT: 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 Satan’s reaper, and flees to England- where he seeks solace in the church. Eventually, he’s cast out, and left to fend for himself- which proves to be difficult, as he’s 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 family’s only surviving member- their teenage daughter.

REVIEW: I’ve been a bit surprised at how SOLOMON KANE hasn’t built a heck of a lot of buzz after playing midnight madness at TIFF, as I found it to be a solid fantasy thriller, anchored by a truly badass performance from star James Purefoy.


KANE is based on the pulp novels by author Robert E. Howard, who created CONAN THE BARBARIAN, and RED SONJA. Naturally, this is nowhere near as lavish as John Millius’ CONAN THE BARBARIAN- which launched Arnold Schwarzenegger to stardom in 1981, but it’s still a pretty successful genre flick, that’s far better than any of the fantasy films we’ve been flooded with over the last few years (ERAGON, CITY OF EMBER, etc.).

Chief among KANE’s strengths is the solid cast, led by Purefoy, who made a great Mark Anthony on HBO’s ROME, and has seemed on the cusp of stardom for years, but has never really made it to the next level. KANE proves that he’s got what it takes to be a credible action hero, and some of the action scenes (especially the one that comes right after he breaks his oath, and features one of the best onscreen decapitations I’ve ever seen), are truly kickass, and refreshingly R-rated.


There’s also a surprisingly strong supporting cast, including Pete Postlethwaite, Alice Krige, and the one and only Max Von Sydow, as Kane’s estranged father. THE OFFICE (UK version) fans will also get a kick out of Mackenzie Crook’s (GARETH!!!) small role as a priest, with a penchant for keeping cannibals as pets.

Of course, SOLOMON KANE isn’t perfect. The limited budget is painfully evident toward the end, with a bit of dodgy CGI in the final showdown. The film also comes to a bit of an abrupt end unnecessarily resolving Kane’s ongoing issues with the Devil- which should have been left for future installments. Still, I’d say that overall this was a pretty tight fantasy flick- and throughout the film, I kept thinking to myself that this is what the similarly themed VAN HELSING should have been. Hopefully, if there’s ever a SOLOMON KANE 2, director Michael J. Bassett will get a little more money to play with.

RATING: 7.5/10

Other reviews from TIFF: MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS - UP IN THE AIR - JENNIFER'S BODY - THE INVENTION OF LYING - DAYBREAKERS - YOUTH IN REVOLT - THE BOYS ARE BACK - THE ROAD - THE INFORMANT!- BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS - A SERIOUS MAN- LEAVES OF GRASS- SOLITARY MAN- THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS - MICMACS - WHIP IT- [REC]2- ONG BAK 2

Check out Chris Bumbray's Toronto Film Fest blog at Movie Fan Central!

Source: JoBlo.com

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