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If you took the time to find it, then you wont be disappointed with
this solid, old fashioned sword and sorcery movie.
The tales of Solomon Kane have been around longer than most, the character first appearing in mass market print back in the late twenties, but they've not been filmed. Many others, borrowing from it have been filmed so you will be quite familiar with the twists and turns having seen them elsewhere. The saving grace here is that it's all done quite well. James Purefoy is every part the tortured warrior and it's good to see Max Von Sydow and the legend that is Pete Poslethwaite up on the big screen. It's a creepy, dark movie at times and the extra effort they've put into the set design and cinematography really helps to set the scene. The story nips along to a satisfying conclusion. The fight choreography is very well done and FX are good as well.
in my book there are 3 classes of fantasy.
high, full of goblins elves and knights in shining amour.
low, a fantasy world without all the classical elements no elves no fairies no blazing swords,
and dark, born from madman's nightmares and populated with them dark place dark worlds and a serious take on the genre.
Kane falls into the latter,
for a low budget film its certainly well done, the character is fairly close to the story's, the props and costumes are reasonably accurate.
the fighting direction is also true to the character no frivolous swashbuckling here lethal moves to great effect.
Kane was not some marvelesque hero wasting motion and energy in his strikes, as one character in a story put it "he is the most lethal swordsmen I've ever seen". (paraphrased).
some parts of it could have been handled better the ending or a slight tightening up of the exposition parts, but all in all well worth watching.
is it worth seeing yes. but bear in mind this is not a lord of the rings style film, nor is this die hard 1600.
there is a lot of dialog and a lot of religious references. this is a dark fantasy film with a touch of horror, aiming to reveal Kane's hitherto unknown origins.
if you like to support good independent films go see it if all your interested in is mindless action..... do what you will.
Solomon Kane was pretty good, perhaps it didn't do well in the States,
because there were no American A listers in the cast, but it had Pete
Postlethwaite and Max Von Snow apart from James Purefoy in the lead, so
you could hardly say it didn't have it's quota of serious actors in it.
Yes it was a tad predictable, well it was from the creator of Conan, so you could hardly expect high art. But, unlike you would have expected, it was quite a dark film, one mans quest to redeem his soul, and you believed in it, Purefoy played the complete ruthless murderer and the tortured soul, and in the confines of the film you believed it.
It betrayed it's lowish budget, with a lack of major CGI except where it was needed, and at the beginning the model work was a bit obvious (like Conan all those years ago) but instead went for serious good makeup and prosthetics,and the fight scenes when they happened where vicious, bloody and really well choreographed, Purefoy does good action. I really enjoyed this film for what it was, ENJOYMENT.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Minor Spoiler Alert!
If Peter Jackson deemed it a good idea to remake Michael Reeves classic WITCHFINDER GENERAL, the result might look an awful lot like SOLOMON KANE. Based on Robert E Howard's 17th Century Puritan pulp fiction character, SOLOMON KANE begins in media res, with Solomon and his ill-fated ship crew coming face-to-face with the grim reaper. This particular reaper, unfortunately, is in the employ of Satan himself and damns Kane's soul for a life of wickedness, greed and throwing knives into peoples faces in a really cool way. A year later Kane, now living in an English monastery, is kicked out when the head monk senses our hero will only bring trouble for the 16th Century peaceniks. On the road Kane hooks up with Pete Postlethwaite and his brood, a family of puritans headed for the coast and a persecutionless life in the New Worlde. Needless to say, the family have 'victims' written all over them in huge, medieval script, and things don't go well. Thematically, the story borrows elements from the Howard story RED SHADOWS, but it's really its own beast. Which is a shame, in a way, because the author knew how to weave a damn good tale and SOLOMON KANE's script is certainly the weakest thing about it. We're never really sure why Kane's soul is damned, or how that's connected with the evil magician who has taken over his father's (Max Von Sydow) castle. Oh yes, Kane is also a member of the aristocracy, banished from the land by his dad in true Joseph Campbell fashion. Director Michael J Bassett also seems just a little TOO fond of a certain fantasy trilogy. A horseback chase sequence, while exciting, was even more impressive first time around in FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, while the final assault on Kane's ancestral castle involves a battle in torrential rain, part Helm's Deep, part SEVEN SAMURAI. Most egregious of all is the final showdown between Solomon Kane and, really this is giving nothing away, Old Nick himself. Considering how creative much of the makeup and design work is in the film, and it really is quite striking, it comes as something of a shock to see a certain fire demon turn up for the finale. "You shall not pass!" indeed. And yet....there's so much to like about SOLOMON KANE. As mentioned above, the design work is outstanding. This is a grimy, gritty middle ages that has rarely been seen outside the early work of Terry's Jones and Gilliam. The snowy, grey landscapes of England's West Country (actually Prague, for the most part) are frequently breathtaking. The action scenes are satisfyingly low tech, with seemingly little CGI but plenty of decapitations and arterial sprays. It's a shame they weren't put in the service of a better story, but when the action scenes kick in you're unlikely to be overly concerned. The films biggest asset, however,is its lead actor. It's a little disconcerting watching James Purefoy in this role when you know that he left the production of V FOR VENDETTA having already filmed some scenes as the eponymous character. In some of the many shots where he's silhouetted against the ubiquitous grey and rain-streaked Somerset sky, all flowing cape and stovepipe hat, he's uncannily similar to Alan Moore's anarchist anti-hero. He also shares a similar penchant for dispatching England's enemies with the throw of dagger to the neck. Purefoy plays Kane as if he's in a state of persistent physical agony, which is quite fitting. He's really rather magnificent in the role and brings Hugh Jackman levels of charisma to the part. No small feat considering Kane is the sort of chap who makes Matthew Hopkins look like a member of the ACLU. Purefoy's Solomon Kane may also be the first swashbuckling, sword wielding hero with a British West Country accent since Nigel Terry's King Arthur in Excalibur. Purefoy is the main reason that, at the end of the film, with the suggestion of more adventures to come, you hope SOLOMON KANE will do decent enough box office to warrant a franchise. This first outing is far from perfect, but there's considerable potential and the distinct promise of better to come.
Ever wonder what it would be like if Van Helsing didn't suck? To take
that idea a bit further, ever wonder what it would be like if the films
Van Helsing and Constantine were able to mate and its offspring was a
film that was actually pretty awesome? In a nutshell, that's what you
get with Solomon Kane. On the surface, Solomon Kane is very similar to
Van Helsing. It has the same look and atmosphere of Van Helsing without
all the monster hunting. In place of the monsters, we get demons.
That's where the Constantine influence comes in. Solomon Kane's
religious undertones, use of mirrors, and conclusion are all very
reminiscent of Constantine.
Certain elements of the film may not be as absorbing as others. The CGI in the film seemed to fluctuate between being pretty good to below par. The crucifixion scene didn't really work either. Why Kane did what he did in that scene makes sense, but his actions and what he does immediately after that is pretty hard to swallow.
Solomon Kane isn't without its flaws, but is basically the gory, more adult, and definitive version of what Van Helsing should have been. With the amount of decapitated heads that are rolling around, every action scene littered with splattered blood, and its darker twists on religious views, Solomon Kane delivers a blood-soaked cinematic delight.
The criticisms of this film are inevitable, and not entirely incorrect.
But for me, Solomon Kane rises above the usual formula in numerous
First, the character: much darker and more conflicted than your average action hero. Second, a story that gives that character time to breathe and grow, instead of becoming lost in a morass of action sequences and CG effects. Third, a gritty, uncluttered, near-monochromatic look that's perfectly suited to the character and story, and frequently a sheer wonder to behold. The visuals are evocative of great fantasy artists like Frank Frazetta and Jeff Jones; there are numerous shots in this film I'd happily hang on my wall.
Of course, Kane himself is the film's dominant image - and it is a memorable one. But Kane not only looks striking in the flat hat and dark cloak, he has the dour personality to match. And a fighting style that for once fits the mood, and suggests a human adventurer with limited abilities, as opposed to the usual samurai-ninja superhero.
IS this truly "Robert E. Howard's" Solomon Kane? Y'know what - I don't care. Howard didn't write a lot of Kane stories, and although I did read them years ago, they left very little impression on my memory. What's more, I have nothing against films that are happy to be 'inspired by' literary works, without slavishly transferring every word to the screen. What Solomon Kane, the movie, DOES get right is the SPIRIT of Robert E. Howard's work - the dark vision, the creepy situations, the sense of a man struggling against forces only dimly understood and much larger than himself.
The slow pacing? This is the film's BEST point. Early on, the film focuses on Kane's personality, and his relationships with others. It sets a mood. Too many action films are in too much of a hurry to get to the action. Solomon Kane doesn't cater to the ADD-addled audience, and if that's a mistake it falls in the area of marketing, not creativity. I particularly liked the ending... instead of lingering endlessly over the climactic fight, the film just gets on with the story.
Solomon Kane isn't exactly a classic, but it has an appealing simplicity and an inner strength that bigger-budget spectaculars could learn from. I guess a sequel is too much to hope for at this point, but I'll definitely be looking forward to Michael J. Bassett's next creation, whatever it may be.
Solomon Kane I'll start by pointing out that in no way is SK a copy of
Van Helsing, the media and certain unaware people have been comparing
the two just due to the characters clothing resemblance like the big
hat, well Solomon Kane has been wearing the big hat since he was
created in 1928 as stories written in weird tales, where as the 2004
movie van helsing was the first time the character had been portrayed
wearing the big hat and being a monster hunter rather than just the
killer of count Dracula, if anything the 04 VH movie copied Solomon
Kane, anyway moving on to the review:
I was excited about seeing this since i'm a big movie fan and enjoy reading books i was waiting with anticipation for the release, the movie started strong with a impressive fight sequence and good special effects,there was none of the shaky camera action scenes which i find ruin any action movie when you can't see whats happening, everything from the props to visuals made it a very dark and almost creepy atmosphere, although i would class it as a action/fantasy there was elements of horror thrown in too, during the middle of the film the action slows for a while but that just gave me time to appreciate the performance given by James purefoy, other than resident evil i'd never really seen him in anything but i will defend his performance as Solomon Kane since i don't think anyone else could have played the part as confidently as him, supporting cast wise they mostly perform well.
There was a few continuity issues with the fact that Solomon never seemed to run out of single shot pistols and even if he'd thrown one at someone or something he always had both a sword and dagger but along with a few other things i must say that i did enjoy watching this and if you're a fan of the genre then i recommend a watch.
over all i give Solomon Kane 7 out of 10
I was familiar with the 'Solomon Kane' character before I watched this film, both from the original stories and the Marvel Comics incarnation of the 1970s. The film is based on Robert E. Howard's creation, not on any later story and is all the better for it. The characters and their actions are believable, the atmosphere is great and the special effects are fine. There are copious amounts of sword play as well as sorcery - something that other R. E. H. adaptations in film have been sadly missing (notably 'Conan the Barbarian'). Michael J. Bassett manages to make an exciting film out of what could have been just another good-versus-evil story. Recommended for all fans of gritty fantasy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SOLOMON KANE was really not what I expected. It's far, far better than I could have hoped. As it stands, its pretty unique in the sword and sorcery movies simply because it has proper drama, great performances and some nasty intense action along with all the traditional sword fights, magical monsters and running, jumping and chasing. Easy to level the criticism that it re-runs a few Lord of the Rings moments but it's an altogether darker and more evil version because of the grim reality the comes down with every drop of rain and there's lots of rain and the human and spiritual element that exists within the story. Made me think of Gladiator in some ways. A doomed soul needing redemption for his past sins? Not exactly what REH envisioned for his iconic Puritan swordsman I'm sure, but I get why writer and director Michael Bassett went down this route and for me and I'm okay with because whatever the story, the character from Howard's pages exists in a way which is surprisingly pure and the world is exactly right. He feels like the Kane I was hoping for and Purefoy manages to make him both grim and taciturn as well as offering us just enough humanity to go along with him for the ride. Some great design with nicely practical and real seeming effects with real blood and gore splatting instead of stylized CG offerings. Monsters are mostly fun and the action in intense if a little small scale. You don't get armies of thousand of orcs here, it's all quite focused and personal. There's one act of violence near the middle which really changed the feel for me. Unexpected and shocking. It feels like a smaller budget went a very long way and it does look gorgeous. Not a kiddies movie by a long shot and one that, surprisingly, offered me a good deal of material to meditate on about the power of faith and strength of will. Kane really suffers some very heavy duty punishment in this story. I was quite shocked where they went with it and no doubt someone is going to be offended but if Bassett is trying to draw parallels to another iconic figures from history, he's not exactly being subtle. If you're a fan of Robert E Howard's books you can rest easy, if you've never heard of Solomon Kane this is a great introduction and if you just like your fantasy action adventure with a little more heart and a lot more brains, then this is for you too. 8 out of 10.
I liked it. A film very much in the vein of The Mummy series, but with a more adult and dark side. I found the film full of atmosphere and it drew me in despite the shallow story line, which is to be expected given that it's a hero driven action flick. I thought that the effects, make-up, music, acting, directing, really the whole thing was very solid and it's not just another low budget flick as other reviewers have stated. I would welcome a sequel to this movie, although that might be stretching the storyline a tad too much. Sure, not the masterpiece of the Lord of the Rings but certainly a good hack n slash medieval romp that'll keep you entertained for the duration.
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