Solomon Kane Blu-ray Review
Written and directed by Michael J. Bassett
2009, Region A, 104 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on July 16th, 2003
James Purefoy as Solomon Kane
Pete Postlethwaite as William Crowthorn
Rachel Hurd-Wood as Meredith Crowthorn
Alice Krige as Katherine Crowthorn
Jason Flemyng as Malachi
MacKenzie Crook as Father Michael
Max von Sydow as Josiah Kane
Solomon Kane (James Purefoy) is a bad dude. A seemingly unstoppable force of rage and anger, he and his group of like-minded men pillage and pilfer, leaving terror, death and destruction in their wake. But he meets his match in the form of Satan's Reaper, a giant demon warrior intent on killing Kane as his soul is due to the devil because of a prior deal – something which Kane vehemently denies. Narrowly escaping this monster, Kane finds his way to a monastery and renounces his evil ways, determined to live a life of peace and non-violence to avoid certain death. That's all well and good until those in charge of the monastery Kane is crashing in decide he has to leave. No reason is given and, yes, they will be keeping the gold Kane gave them, but he still has to move on. Reluctantly he obliges, and he heads off in the general direction of his childhood home.
Along the way, he comes across a band of ne'er-do-wells who beat the hell out of him and leave him for dead. Clearly Kane could have taken these punks, but with him refusing to unleash his inner fury fearful the devil will find him again, he takes the beatdown. Fortunately, William Crowthorn (Pete Postlethwaite) and his family found the unconscious Kane, patched him up, and have welcomed him into their fold for their travels. They're heading somewhere; maybe America because they're pilgrims. This is the 16th century, though, so going 20 miles is going to take six months and Kane joins them for the ride and companionship.
Things are going dandy until a group of thugs led by the evil Malachi attack the group and kidnap William's daughter Meredith (Rachel Hurd-Wood). William makes Kane promise to get the girl back and, if he does, he will have a clean slate in the eyes of God. Apparently William knows people. Kane takes this deal and he once again releases the fury on those that cross him in his journey to Meredith's rescue.
I have to admit, I had no idea what to expect from Solomon Kane when I popped this movie into my player. I had vaguely heard of it, but it was merely a blip on my radar. I barely even looked at the cover when I opened it, and I was pleasantly surprised to see James Purefoy in the titular role. Having enjoyed his performance in The Following, I have been eager to see more of his work and he doesn't disappoint here. He does a great job with the character, in particular when Kane is struggling with not fighting back. Purefoy's performance in these parts is outstanding, as there is a rage that radiates off so thick you can almost see it. And once he does release and begin his path of destruction, you feel as much relief as Kane.
Another rock solid performance comes from Pete Postlewaite as the family's patriarch. I've always enjoyed Postlewaite's work and his character's quiet contemplation is the yin to Kane's yang. While he doesn't have a tremendous amount of lines, he is a great asset to the film.
Solomon Kane has a nice mix of action and violence all the while maintaining a relatively solid story arc. It isn't action for action's sake, as there is a good chunk of the film simply devoted to getting to know the characters. There are a few scenes that seem out of place – one scene that takes place in a church and involves a priest who is doing evil for what he thinks is a good reason seems particularly forced – but overall the film surprised me on how much I enjoyed it (especially since I had virtually no expectations). I don't think I'd go as far as to say that the movie has a high re-watchability factor, but you'd do well to give it a spin at least once.
Video and Audio:
Solomon Kane's 2:35:1 presentation is fantastic. Detail is crisp and blacks are deep and lush, which is important because on the whole it's a rather dark film.
The 5.1 DTS/HD Master Audio track is equally impressive. Rears and sides are always busy and the my subwoofer got a nice little work out. Dialog is always clear, never overpowered by the score or various acts of violence going on.
- Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Michael J. Bassett and James Purefoy
- The Making of Solomon Kane
- Deleted Scene: Cave Fight
- Special FX: The Creation of the Fire Demon
- Interview with Writer/Director Michael J. Bassett
- Interview with James Purefoy
- Original Concept Art
The commentary with Bassett and Purefoy is light-hearted and enjoyable. The two obviously get along splendidly, and the track is informative without being dry.
At just under 12 minutes, The Making of Solomon Kane is more of a promotional piece than a true "making of". However, even though there is as much scenes from the film as there are interviews (perhaps more), I still enjoyed it as there are a few nuggets of trivia found within it.
Special FX: The Creation of the Fire Demon is a two-minute long montage of the film's final boss, showing it in both computer and final form. There's not much to it as there is no dialog offering any sort of explanation of what you are seeing.
The two interviews with Bassett and Purefoy run about nine minutes each and both are worth a watch if you enjoyed the film. Bassett's is a bit more enjoyable and informative of the two as he talks about his goal of making a serious fantasy movie, the reason why Solomon Kane is an origins film, his love for the fantasy genre (and its problems in the film medium), and more. There's a lot of info to be had in under 10 minutes. Purefoy spends his time talking about the experience on set and with the character. The most interesting of his discussion comes when he shares his most challenging scenes.
Wrapping it up is a deleted scene and original concept art.