Editor’s Note: Major spoilers warning
Wow, just wow. Next to Rec 2, Solomon Kane was my most anticipated film at this year’s TIFF. How can you lose with Demons, swordfights, witches, knights and a whopping $60m budget? Ask Uwe Boll as this horror fantasy is one of the dullest, poorly acted and heartless films I’ve seen all year.
The most opens with a bang, as Solomon Kane is robbing a castle. After murdering hundreds of soldiers/knights he makes his way in the front gates. His crew enters a room with mirrors lined up in a row down the hall. As they walk onward, his warrior buddies are picked off one by one by creatures hiding within the mirrors. It’s intense, creepy and incredibly stylish. Solomon is the only to survive as he makes it into the treasure room, where he’s confronted by Death, who tells him he’s going to take him to hell for all of his evil ways. Solomon narrowly escapes and everything goes downhill from there. This is where the character development goes off track as Solomon puts killing behind him in an attempt to gain redemption. After being expelled from the Church, a group of nomads are taken by a lot of possessed soldiers and Solomon goes off to save the woman – not because he wants to save her, but because HE might be redeemed for doing so. His entire plight is selfish and everything he does is for himself. Solomon Kane is yet another film lacking a protagonist.
The screenplay issues continue as once Solomon escapes Death, NOTHING happens. There’s a little something here and there, but for the most part the entire film is jammed with heavy over explanatory exposition. It also doesn’t help when your main character delivers one of the worst performances of the year. Beyond that, James Purefoy was horribly miscast as he didn’t look or act the role. Even though his delivery was off, being forced to recite some of the lines in the movie only added fuel to the flames. Dialogue isn’t the only problem as rules are invented along the way. One of my favorite (bad) scenes is when Solomon returns to the castle he grew up in, where he finds his fathered chained to a wall in a prison cell. His father yaps and yaps revealing all sorts of crap such as the fact that the evil demon with the skin mask is actually Solomon’s brother (an obvious surprise). Again, his father is chained to the wall, and Solomon exclaims something along the lines of, “I’ll get you out of here,” to which the father replied, “these chains can’t be broken,” explaining that the chains have been put under a spell by an evil sorcerer that he called into this world. Again, where the heck is this all coming from? Everything is explained in dialogue and not a single thing is gestured on. It’s a movie, tell the story with images.
But the most insulting part of about Solomon Kane is the finale where Solomon has to battle the evil sorcerer who lets loose a gigantic fire demon from hell. Solomon bounces around avoiding being hit by this creature, but then eventually gives in and sacrifices himself. The second he plays martyr, God blasts through Solomon destroying all of the evil in the room. Yeah, seriously, that happened. I looked over at my friend who let loose one of the most hilarious happy smiles I’ve ever seen in my life. His face had confirmed my thoughts that what I had just witnessed was mind-blowing and shockingly bad. I don’t act like this when I’m in a theater, but I began laughing uncontrollably as I just couldn’t believe it. There was no way this was the end. So, wait, there’s no epic battle? No fight? No climax? It just… ends…because of God?
While the set designs and wardrobe were beautifully done, there’s really nothing else good about the film. In fact, I would say that Solomon Kane is one of the worst movies of the year. An unfocused mythology, with underdeveloped characters and bad acting make this an unbearable theater experience. If you simply can’t help yourself, just go watch Conan to suppress that evil, evil urge.
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