it’s been said before, but it bears repeating—don’t pick a fight with the
Puritans. Seventeenth Century ruffians
are particularly advised to give a wide berth to a reformed killer with a
satanic price on his head. There will be
a fair amount of dark fantastic swashbuckling as Robert E. Howard’s hero
searches for redemption in Michael J. Bassett’s Solomon Kane (trailer
wayfares into theaters this Friday.
was once a warrior so ruthless, he sort of accidently made a pact with the
Devil. When Scratch’s minions come to collect,
the adventurer is a bit freaked. Taking
refuge in a monastery, Kane converts, pledging to never take another life. With the forces of darkness still pursuing
him, Kane’s presence is rather bad for business, so the penitent sets out to
confront his destiny. He finds it with the
Crowthorns, a truly Christian family of pilgrims.
his traveling companions are attacked by a demonic militia, Kane watches
helplessly out of obedience to his oath.
However, when they carry off the eldest Crowthorn daughter, Kane pledges
to rescue her, even if it costs his very soul.
Yet, Kane will find her fate is intertwined the secrets of his past, as
we would expect.
nothing else, Kane is a nattily accessorized action hero. Although some liberties are taken with his
origin story, Bassett taps into something powerfully archetypal in his
depiction of the menacing Puritan. His
script treats concepts of damnation and redemption with deadly earnest, which
is appreciated. In a way, SK is a far more effective Evangelical
film than those made for the express purpose of proselytizing. There is also a fair amount of hack and
Purefoy is about as good fit for Kane as one could hope to find. He is no Ryan Gosling or Reynolds, thank the
merciful Heavens. Quite good in the
superior Ironclad, he is equally
credible here both in the action scenes and brooding like a man accursed. Adding further heft, the late great Pete
Postlethwaite memorably portrays the dignity of faith as William
Crowthorn. Max von Sydow is also very
Max von Sydow as Kane’s noble father, seen in flashbacks.
when you get right down to it, SK ought
to be more fun than it is. The religious
overtones are actually rather distinctive, but the film just gets bogged down
too often. There are simply too many
scenes of Kane riding through forests, while the climax over-relies on Harry Potter style magical pyrotechnics.
Still, Bassett was definitely onto something in Kane.
Howard readers should appreciate how well he captured that sense of
ancient corrupting dread. Not perfect
but a worthy effort, Solomon Kane is
recommended for Howard fans and more adventurous Evangelical audiences when it
opens this Friday (9/28) in New York at the AMC Empire.
Labels: James Purefoy, Robert E. Howard, Solomon Kane