Before i write my sentences with a structure of a ten year old, i need to say one thing. This film was one of the most anticipated ones ever for me! I love Solomon Kane and of course its creator Robert E. Howard (he created Conan the barbarian as well. Oh yeah!). Now why i was so much into Solomon Kane? Because the trailer looked super promising and James Purefoy utterly convincing as the ultimate antihero. Trailer wise, i saw some crazy stuff. Demons, zombies, sword fights,sorcerers and more. The Result? The movie is just awesome! I was absorbed into huge amounts of awesomeness that this film offers from screen-shot 1! The story is simple and contains a great premise.
The look of the film is just outstanding! When you have a film set in medieval times you need to make it look real. The environment and the surroundings are like a second character. They have to look real. Well in this part the sets (indoor or outdoor) are just amazing. Employing the help from the Czech artist Jan Cilecek, the production design especially when it comes to the interior castle scenes, is just stunning and creepy. The throne room of Malachi or the mirror corridor sequence embrace the screen and show off their vivid detail. The colors, the photography, everything looks marvelous! Same applies for the costumes and make up. I believe Basset put a great amount of detail in the look of the film. It looks so Medieval! Fans of this sub-genre 'sword and sorcery' will not be disappointed. Every possible scene that you have thought, imagined or dreamed for this type of film is here. Hanged people on trees among mist in the background? Check. Skulls on the walls? Check. Snowy forests? check! Dark castles at the top of a hill? Check! This is the wet dream of every proper fan.
Congratulations to the creature design and effects team. I have to admit that in a world filled with eye popping effects, they managed to create some really nasty ones. Honestly, when the first demon arrives, i had my jaw dropped on the floor. Not because it is something unique or original but it is how it is being presented. His voice, his clothing, generally his outlook is taken from our worst nightmares. Did i mention that he/she? has a FLAMING SWORD? Besides this dude, there is variety of stuff in the film. Witches, zombies, priests, sorcerers, a weird masked dude with a big sword who "infects" people with his malice, turning them into slaves and many more. These are ideas well executed as well as being brilliant!
This is not a kids film as there is an enormous degree of violence and limp chopping. Decapitations, stabbings, flying limps and many more are present. Solomon's fighting style is truly unique and far away from the choreographic boredom of Hollywood. Michael J. Basset (the director of the creepy "Deathwatch" and the ace " Wilderness") made an adult fantasy film. On the other hand, the movie is entirely supported by Purefoy who fits the role perfectly. His eyes express his sadness, anger and his continuous effort for redemption. He is just superb and a likable antihero which you can related to. He leads a great cast which includes the names of Max Von Sydow, Jason Flemming, Pete Postlethwaite and Mackenzie Crook among others.
How about the story? Well we've seen it so many times however, it was written way back in 1928! Nevertheless, i think the concept of a guy who tries to redeem his soul is very interesting and intriguing especially if it is set in medieval England. I enjoyed his back story and i cared about his drama. The action doesn't start until the second half of the film (although there is a terrific intro) since before that we are following a hermit Kane wondering around and meeting with the rest of the cast. After a very unhappy incident Kane kicks ass as he used to do. Just for the final third of the film- the confrontation with the sorcerer is just cool-it is worth your money. Period. And did i mention that there is no side kick or funny lines? Thank god.
Besides all the enthusiasm written above i have to admit that the film feels kinda short. If it was two hours (or more) i would have been more pleased than i already was. The character Malachi was doing more of a cameo rather than being an antagonist who makes our (anti) hero's life miserable through the whole film. I would have liked a complete face off between Kane and Malachi as well. Sword vs sorcery! In addition, i thought that certain intriguing characters had no purpose or at least there were underdeveloped thus they were more "satelites" rather than something really important in the plot.
Final thoughts: the action is ace, bloody and well orchestrated, the sets and landscapes amazing, the lead actor perfect, the supporting cast solid and the effects(not many thank god!) serve the story. Special plus to the creatures design team! One of my favorite movies of all time! However, more character development and some answers for certain "satelite" personalities and their purpose would be ace but we can not have it all can we? All i can say is this: i left the theater with a smile and faith for the genre!
Have a 10/10
Viva Michael J Basset, Viva James Purefoy!
P.S the villains are ace!
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