SOLOMON KANE

Joe Pesci II review wayyyy below

Release Date: 19th February 2010

Director: Michael J Bassett: (Silent Hill 2 / WildernessDeathwatch)

Cast:  James Purefoy, Pete Postlethwaite, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Alice Krige, Mackenzie Crook, Geoff Bell, Patrick Hurd-Wood, Philip Winchester, Samuel Roukin, Anthony Wilks, Rory McCann with jason Flemyng and Max Von Sydow

Writer: Michael J Bassett

Trailer: IRONCLAD

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • James Purefoy: High Rise, Momentum, Episodes (TV), John Carter, Ironclad, Resident Evil, Maybe Baby, A Knight’s Tale,  The Wedding Tackle, Mansfield Park (1999), Lighthouse,Bedrooms & Hallways
  • Pete Postlethwaite:Killing Bono, The Town, Inception, Clash Of The Titans (2010), The Omen (2006), Aeon Flux, The Constant Gardner, Dark Water, I Now Pronounce You Vince and Ralph, The Shipping News, Among Giants, Amistad, Jurassic Park 2, The Serpent’s Kiss, Romeo + Juliet (1996), Brassed Off, Crimetime, Dragonheart, James and The Giant Peach, When Saturday Comes, Suite 16, The Usual Suspects, In The Name Of The Father, Anchoress, The Last Of The Mohicans, Waterland, Alien 3,  Split Second, Hamlet (1990), Distant Voices Still Lives, To Kill a Priest
  • Rachel Hurd-Wood: Tomorrow When The War Began, Dorian Gray, An American Haunting, Perfume, Peter Pan (2003)
  • Alice Krige: Spooks (TV), Thor 2, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Silent Hill, Stay Alive, Reign Of Fire, The Little Vampire, Star Trek – First Contact, Sleepwalkers, Barfly, Chariots Of Fire
  • Mackenzie Crook: In Secret, Muppets Most Wanted, One Chance, Cheerful Weather For The Wedding, Game of Thrones (TV), Tintin (voice), Ironclad, Sex & Drugs & Rock-N-Roll, Three and Out, City of Ember, Pirates Of The Caribbean 3, I Want Candy, Pirates Of The Caribbean 2,  The Brothers Grimm, Churchill – The Hollywood Years, Finding Neverland, The Merchant Of Venice (2004), Sex Lives Of The Potato Men, Pirates Of The Caribbean, The Office (TV)
  • Geoff Bell: Suffragette, Kingsman – The Secret Service, ComedownComes a Bright DayStorage 24, The Reeds, War Horse, Brighton Rock (2011), Big Fat Gypsy Gangster,  Route Irish,  Mercenaries, Just For The RecordWild Target (2010)The Heavy, FreebirdLove Me Still, Tormented, Green Street, The Business, Mean Machine
  • Patrick Hurd-Wood: Blood (2013)
  • Philip Winchester: Thunderbirds, Robinson Crusoe (TV – 2000s)
  • Samuel Roukin: Happy Go Lucky
  • Rory McCann: Game of Thrones (TV), The Crew, Hot Fuzz
  • Jason Flemyng: Gemma Bovery, Top DogSunshine On Leith, Welcome To The PunchI Give It a YearThe Great Expectations (2012)Wild Bill (2012), X Men-First Class, Hanna, Kick Ass, IroncladDead Cert, Jack FallsThe Riddle,  Shifty, Clash Of The Titans, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Mirrors, Stardust, Rollin With The Nines, Transporter 2, Layer Cake, Below, Mean Machine, The Bunker, Snatch, Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels,The Red Violin, The Hollow Reed, Deep Rising, Spice World, Alive & Kicking (1996), Deep Rising, Stealing Beauty, The Jungle Book (1994)
  • Max Von Sydow: Star Wars – The Force Awakens, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Robin Hood (2010), Shutter Island, Rush Hour 3, The Diving Bell & The Butterfly, Minority Report, Intacto, Snow Falling On Cedars, What Dreams May Come, Judge Dredd (1995), Needful Things, The Silent Touch, The Best Intentions, The Ox, Until The End Of The World, Europa (voice),  A Kiss Before Dying, Awakenings, Hannah and Her Sisters, Dune, The Ice Pirates,  James Bond – Never Say Never Again,Conan The Barbarian, Escape To Victory, Flash Gordon (1980), The Exorcist 1 & 2, Three Days Of The Condor, Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal
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One thought on “SOLOMON KANE

  1. SOLOMON KANE by Joe Pesci II

    Oh dear. Even Max von Sydow can’t save this one. Fortunately Pete Postlethwaite does, for a while. But films cannot stand on the performances of great character actors who turn up to utter a handful of words and throw advice or abuse at the main character. No, films need a central protagonist who is charismatic and interesting, and whose fate we can eagerly follow. Someone we can identify with, and grieve with, someone who will show us the way when times are dark and the path is obscure. Someone to admire, someone to believe in, someone who is vulnerable, but strong. We need a hero. These things are missing from SOLOMON KANE.

    But we do get James Purefoy. We dive straight into an adventure with him, just like in James Bond and Indiana Jones. It’s 1600 (though a lot of the production design looks like they’re trying for about two hundred years earlier) and we’re in North Africa and Kane is seeking treasure. We soon see that he is not the most likeable of people, and a rubbish boss (he has a nasty tendency to shoot errant employees and a flagrant disregard for any that get caught by mirror-dwelling demon skeleton things). Not surprisingly he soon finds that he has been damned and that the devil eagerly awaits his soul’s arrival in Hell. But Solomon Kane is built of stern stuff and decides to delay that day by running off to England to become a penitent hermit.

    A year later the monks send him packing and he shaves off his beard and goes off to find his destiny. But then Geoff Bell turns up and whacks him on the head. Thankfully our hero chances upon Pete Postlethwaite (in movie-stealing mode as usual) as a prospective Puritan pilgrim heading off to America with his wife (Alice Krige – in too small a role) and kids (all of whom have too big a role). But disaster strikes and our repentant and now pacifist hero finds that he has to seek redemption by the sword, and rescue a damsel in distress, and face his own personal demons, and his past and all that sort of stuff, and give up on the pacifism even though it’ll send him to Hell. And destiny? Did I mention Destiny? There’s a lot of that thrown in as well.

    Kane wanders the country, getting into various scrapes, and meeting various character actors including Mackenzie Crook. Kane eventually finds his Destiny, and it looks like some sort of big fiery beastie (as patented by Peter Jackson some years ago in his Tolkien films). There’s also some business with Kane’s dad (von Sydow) and brother (flashbacks of petulant youth and dumb doings), and a kind of leather-faced Darth Vader on a horse who can do a Jedi strangle-thing and who seems to have enslaved the entire population of the planet in a bid to get hold of arch-enemy Solomon.

    If you’ve never seen one of these sword and sorcery affairs before then this is as good a place to start as any, though doing that would probably put you off the genre for life (which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing – they’re rarely as good as one hopes). It’s adequate enough, but it just doesn’t feel as if anyone involved was, well, involved. The CGI and the designs are adequate, and the plot is nicely constructed (if clunkingly obvious). But all in all it’s all just a bit of a checklist film. Rather than being made out of any great necessity or desire, it feels like a flatpack fantasy movie, assembled by someone following the rules. Spooky child? Check. Destiny? Check. Witch who knows more than she’s letting on even though she’s pretty much surplus to requirements? Check. Spooky child which turns out to be a witch? Check. (For goodness’ sake they used that one in BATTLE OF THE PLANETS.) Max von Sydow? Check. Big fire monster? Check. Family secrets? Check. Ruined castles? Check. Supposedly cool weaponry and villains? Check. A message that only violence can triumph? Check. Comedy Scotsman? Check. And so it goes.

    But ultimately why should we care about this Solomon Kane person? When we first find him he’s up to no good, and there’s little in Purefoy’s performance which really suggests that Kane is a truly changed man. Indeed, Purefoy just seems to wander around looking various amused and bemused by proceedings, perhaps marvelling at how much he’s getting paid to appear in this.

    The big problem I have with SOLOMON KANE though, is its conception. I just didn’t feel that it convincingly creates a late 15th / early 16th century world which combines sorcery, zombie monsters, Jedi hermits and Puritans. It’s as if the writer of the graphic novel (I think it’s based on a graphic novel but I’m happy to be corrected – I certainly can’t be bothered to research the fact especially as the DVD box is well over a metre away from me) has just thrown together a load of old things and a load of supernatural things and hoped for the best. It may well work in comic-book form, but the translation into film seems queasy. The Britain we see is so unlike any Britain I’ve seen in film it might as well be Gondor or Erehwon or Tatooine, and the combination of the supernatural with the real doesn’t feel particularly successful.

    SOLOMON KANE is an utterly derivative, thoroughly average bit of fantasy nonsense. There’s nothing to distinguish it, but nor is it ropey enough to stand out for any bad reasons (it’s certainly nowhere near bad enough to be in the BASEMENT basement). If you are a James Purefoy fan you might enjoy seeing him in action, and it’s a must for Pete Postlethwaite’s admirers, though Jason Flemyng fans are advised not to bother. Worst of all is the title: it’s rubbish. I was going to go into a long diatribe about Orson Welles and the Bible but I’ve decided against it.

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