I can not begin to describe how much I enjoyed this movie. Made in 2009 and sitting on the shelf for 4 years now all I could think to myself while watching it was why did was this film held back while so much drek made it's way to the big screen? Why weren't we allowed to watch this film in theaters rather than having to wait to see it at home?
For those unfamiliar with the character Kane was a creation of author Robert E. Howard prior to his writing his most famous character Conan the barbarian. As a pulp fiction character he was perhaps as widely read but for some reason never considered as marketable by film makers. Until now.
James Purefoy stars as Kane, a ruthless privateer in 1600 supposedly working for the King but in truth working only for himself. For Kane killing is an art that he does well and often as he and his men cut their way through body upon body as they try to find a treasure considered lost and hidden. As they approach the room said to contain this treasure, Kane and his men are separated. While hearing their death screams Kane finds the treasure but at the same time finds someone waiting for him. This is the reaper, sent to collect Kane's soul to be taken to Hell. Kane escapes intent on doing anything he can to redeem himself.
Several years later we find Kane living in a monastery. He has sworn off his past ways, making an oath to never raise a hand or rapier against any man. Living a life of penance, Kane is approached by the head of monastery and asked to leave. God has spoken to him and told him that it would be best if Kane did so.
Kane obeys and on his trek to find what God has intended for him he is attacked and robbed, refusing to lift a hand against his attackers. Found by William Crowthorn and his family, puritans on their way to America, he is mended and travels with them for a time. During their travels they come upon a village where everyone was wiped out in what appears to be a witch burning. Everyone except a young girl who swears her family was taken from her. When Kane recognizes her for what she is she marks the William's daughter Meredith and disappears.
Their travels continue and one day Kane walks ahead in the forest and comes across a group of mercenaries capturing people and caging them to take to their home base. When he returns to the Crowthorns he finds them under attack as well. Refusing to fight, he witnesses their deaths with the exception of young Meredith who is captured. William, knowing what Kane is capable of, makes him swear to save Meredith. Turning his eyes to the heavens Kane asks what God wants of him. It is then that he realizes he was sent here to use the skills he acquired as a killer in the hopes of saving the land from these mercenaries and the marauder who leads them.
Back to his killing ways Kane confronts numerous bad guys, finding himself in situations where he's never quite sure who to trust. In the end his skills help him not only rid the world of some terrible people but lead him towards Meredith as well. Will Kane be placing his soul in jeopardy once more by living his life like this? Or will his attempt to rescue someone be the one redeeming feature needed to save his soul?
This movie is a fantastic action film that not only delivers scene for scene thrills but offers tons of story to go along with it. Background stories of Kane when he was young, discovering who is behind this plague of murder across the land and the battle Kane struggles with for his immortal soul blend together to make a tale that would serve Howard proud.
The movie is just now released on blu-ray and all I can say is that it is one of the most spectacular displays of imagery that I've seen on film in some time. Every shot feels like it is about to pop off the screen at you and this movie is NOT in 3D! The clarity on display is so sharp as to be razor keen. The composition of the shots by the director and cinematographer are splendid with each one being the most perfect shot they could have gotten. There is not one shot in this film that seemed incomplete or done imperfectly.
The acting is wonderful as well with Purefoy taking on the task of playing Kane in both his wild days and his repentant ways with equal skill. It would be easy to swagger around swinging a sword and looking evil at all times. But in the character of Kane Purefoy shows the inner struggle that he feels with each confrontation he avoids and then with each death he brings about. He wants to do the right thing and thinks that is to not kill or defend himself. When he finds out this is not his path, he takes to his old ways like a duck to water but at the same time feeling remorse that he didn't have early on.
There is only one sad thing about this film and that is that it never received the attention it should have. As I said this movie was better than probably 75% of the movies I saw this past year and deserved to be treated better. This IS a movie that you will watch and wish that they would make sequels to. While it's rather doubtful that will happen, perhaps enough copies will be sold to make that dream come true. If not, at least we have this film to hold on to and watch over and over wishing that the path of Solomon Kane were one we could follow again and again.
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