‘Solomon Kane’ a grim and decent old-fashioned adventure
Directed by Michael J. Bassett
Written by Michael J. Bassett
France, the Czech Republic, and the UK, 2009
These days, it’s hard for a film to avoid being cynical, to be purely sincere in its aims. Earlier in 2012, the pulpy science-fiction adventure John Carter sought to be a massive piece of mainstream entertainment, hearkening back to an era of serialized adventure, akin to something like the Indiana Jones series but with more than a dash of sci-fi thrown in for good measure. Though John Carter was enjoyable, it flopped at the box office almost instantly. Another old-fashioned film making its way to the multiplex, one foot planted firmly in the past and one in the future, is Solomon Kane, a grim yet often successful tale of violent justice in the name of peace.
James Purefoy (who had a charming if small role in John Carter) is the title character, a former bloodthirsty mercenary whose face-off with a minion of the Devil in North Africa circa 1600 puts him on the path of nonviolent resistance. A year later, Kane has returned to England, living in a monastery, and finds that being a peaceful man is more difficult than it looks. Despite befriending a goodhearted Puritan family named Crowthorn, Kane is forced back into the old ways when the transformed followers of a priest-turned-sorcerer named Malachi kidnap the Crowthorn daughter, Meredith (Rachel Hurd-Wood). The girl’s father, William (the late Pete Postlethwaite), tells Kane, with his dying words, that if he saves Meredith, his soul will no longer be banished to Hell. With this killing-two-birds-with-one-stone goal in mind, Kane goes on the warpath to face off all forms of evil, human or demon.