So Solomon Kane – what to say? This was one of the Book God’s picks for Saturday Movie Night, and was a film that we had intended to watch at the cinema (following a pretty good review by Jonathan Ross) but never got organised enough to do so. DVD would just have to do.

Important to note that the character of Solomon Kane was created by Robert E Howard, the man who gave the world Conan the Barbarian among so much else. So we’re talking real pulp stuff here. And in that sense the film doesn’t disappoint.

It is the sixteenth century. Solomon is doing a bit of murderous piratical rampaging with his crew when it becomes clear that all is not well in his world, for lo, the Devil wants his soul and has despatched his minions to fetch it. Solomon escapes, returns to England and skulks in what appears to be an abbey (more of that anon) when in a seemingly uncharitable act the abbot (or equivalent) chucks him out into the cold. But of course this is not a cruel act but the plot device that will allow Solomon to do God’s will for there is an army of semi-zombie minions under the control of a big masked baddie laying waste to all around. Will Solomon renounce his renouncement of violence to do what needs to be done?

Of course he will, don’t be silly. And he will do it well.

Things I loved = the production values here are really quite high, there is a great supporting cast (Max von Sydow, Pete Postlethwaite) and James Purefoy is a delight, playing the part exactly as it should be (ie dead straight), and with the bonus of an authentic West Country accent.

Things I didn’t love so much = well, I know this is a glorified B movie and I shouldn’t get so sniffy about these things but honestly, historically this is all over the place. So he’s a sixteenth century killing machine (that’s what it says in the blurb) who has sailed with Admiral (presumably Francis) Drake. So why is he hiding in an abbey decades after the dissolution of the monasteries? And why is he dressed like and hanging around with a family of what are clearly seventeenth century Puritans? I think we should be told.

Rating stuff = 15 (contains strong violence)

Tissue count = I wept internally for the historical inaccuracy but my eyes remained dry

Safety cushion = some quite good nasties but cushion remained firmly by my side – not that scary

I’m actually being a bit unfair here because this was pretty good fun, and I would probably watch it again for James Purefoy alone.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday evening but don’t rely on it to get you through your history A level.

Advertisements