I watched Solomon Kane for the second time today. I saw it on the big screen when it was first released. After seeing it in the cinema, I knew I wanted to own it. So it ended up the Christmas list.
Solomon Kane is a fictional character created by Robert E. Howard. Howard, of course, is probably most famous for being the creator of Conan the Barbarian. I used to catch Solomon Kane stories in the second stories of the Savage Sword of Conan comic magazine I used to collect as a kid.
Solomon Kane was re-imaged for the big screen by writer-director Michael J. Bassett. I think he did a fantastic job with this film. I remember when Conan first made the transition from Marvel Comic to movie. I had such high hopes for the film, especially since one of my childhood heroes, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was playing the lead. The movie was a flop. I say all that to say that I wished Conan had been handled with same seriousness as Bassett has done with Kane.
Fans of Kane will know that Bassett has created an original story in the spirit of Robert E. Howard’s vision of Solomon Kane. Bassett has focused his story on Kane’s origin. We get to the know the character’s backstory in full. Howard never directly addressed Kane’s backstory, but only hinted at in the various short stories of Kane.
In the movie, we first meet Kane as a Christian thug, killing and pillaging in the name of Christ. The Devil sends his reaper to collect Kane’s soul. But Kane isn’t haven’t any of it. He manages to escape, but he escapes with the knowledge that his soul has been condemned. Solomon renounces his war-like ways and takes up the path of peace in the belief that it will keep the Devil’s minions away. Nothing ever works out the way we’d like it to work.
Kane is desperate for redemption. He finds sanctuary in a monastery, but after a while, the head priest tells he must go. Disappointed, but resolved, he sets off in search of redemption.
Solomon Kane is a classic story well told. Bassett does a great job of bringing a dramatic feel to a fantasy movie. I think he does well bringing the complexity of Kane’s character to screen. In Kane we have a God fearing man who in his own words says that “I was never more at home then in battle. Killing came easy to me.” As much as he seeks peace, it’s easy to trigger the killer instinct in him. And once that instinct is ignited he kills and kills well. I would describe Kane as a warrior in priest’s clothes.
If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth a watch especially if you like dark fantasy movies.