So y’all know that I luuurve James Purefoy, mainly because he was so great as Mark Anthony in Rome, but also so adorable in A Knight’s Tale so of course I was predisposed to like this. Then again I wasn’t too impressed with Vanity Fair so it doesn’t always follow that actors I like = good films.
Anyway, our plot revolves around the eponymous hero, Solomon Kane, a C16th mercenary who fights because he likes it. He enjoys the kill and the fear he creates, and the money he makes. Until, that is, fighting in Africa he comes face to face with the result of this lifestyle, hell. The devil wants his soul. Kane, of course, wants to keep it. Flees the continent, returning to England and turns toward redemption. He lives in a monastery and swears he will live in peace. But the abbot has a dream, and Kane cannot stay, he must leave his sanctuary and find his way out in the world. While wandering he meets with a Puritan family and, well you must see where this is going, they are attacked, a daughter taken hostage and the rest murdered, apart from the mother who insists that Kane rescue the girl. To this he must break his vow of peace and be “bound for hell” but luckily for the family it is a price he will gladly pay.
Okay, so it sounds like tosh. And it is. It really is, but at the same time it is a brilliant bit of entertainment. It has all the style and atmosphere of The Wolfman, but it also has a story and characters. And while they are often nonsensical, in the world of the film everything stays pretty realistic. Gritty, and depressing. And constantly raining, but also just plain cool and entertaining.
The fight scenes are really well done, it isn’t always flashy and twirly, but Solomon Kane is a dangerous man who kills rather than fights flashey. And the cgi is pretty damn good too. I mean, the yoke at the end wasn’t really neccesary, and it didn’t really do much except remind me of the troll from LOTR, but it looked great. And the opening scene with the creatures in the mirrors was excellent.
For a crappy B movie the acting in this film is spot on. You can never complain of Purefoy phoning it in, and all the supporting cast more than do their jobs. No monotone Hopkinses here.
All in all, two thumbs up, and I’d even go see a sequel if they made it.