If you watched and liked Season of the Witch, I’m pretty sure you’ll like Solomon Kane. In fact, as I was watching Solomon Kane, the one thought that kept on running through my mind was ‘This is Season of the Witch… just without any personality disorders’. Well, that or ‘Lord of the Rings meets Constantine’.
But perhaps I should explain myself. Solomon Kane is set in England during the black plague and the latter end of the Inquisition, where a hard-bitten mercenary performs wanton deeds of violence for personal gain. Karma soon catches up with him in the form of the devil who comes to claim his soul. A battle ensues, and Solomon Kane (James Purefoy) escapes (soul intact) to lead a life of non-violence and peace in order to atone for his sins.
But that wouldn’t be a very exciting movie, would it? In short order, Solomon Kane’s new life of asceticism is thrown into upheaval as a dark power arrives and threatens all he holds dear, and he has to choose between watching innocents die or to damn his soul by returning to his old killing ways.
Solomon Kane really is quite a good bit of fun and violence. James Purefoy doesn’t overdo his acting, and his struggle to hold his killer instincts in check actually being pretty believable. It’s also nice to see Pete Postlethwaite in one of his last movies reprising a religious man similar to Father Laurence in R+J, probably one of the characters that made him famous. I’m also a big fan of the ambience. Fights are appropriately bloody and sets appropriately grim, and Solomon Kane’s pilgrim vigilante outfit would not look out of place on a 1600’s Batman.
Unfortunately, the villains of the piece seem a bit hollow. While this may suit the appropriately named Masked Rider, having a two-dimensional big bad (Malachi) is a bit of a let down, since all he seems to do is sit and gloat (in true supervillain fashion). Amazingly enough, Amazingly enough, most (if not all) of the bit parts seem to have more character than Malachi, which is both a compliment to the bit parts and a critique of Malachi. The whole salvation/damnation theme is also a tad overwrought, but hey it wouldn’t be a grimdark without some melodrama, right?
Still, I think it’s a pretty fun watch. You have characters that are interesting, in a setting that hasn’t been done in a while. If you like the era of flintlock pistols, and are hankering for some decent fight scenes and characterization, then Solomon Kane is for you.
And hey, ‘Constantine by way of Lord of the Rings’ really isn’t a bad thing to be, is it?
Final Score: 7/10
Solomon Kane is showing in Singapore theatres now.