Movie Title: Solomon Kane
Director: Michael J. Bassett
Date Released: September 24th, 2009 – Austin Fanatic Fest
Date Seen: December 20th, 2012
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
A movie about a man with a rough past whose soul is destined to hell. He joins the church, becomes a man of peace, but has to return to his old ways to save a young puritan girl who was nothing but nice to him.
It’s an ok movie. The scenery, meh. The sets, very meh. The characters, other than the puritan family, very cartoony. The costumes simple or WAY cheesy and the CGI in one scene was HORRIBLE. The plot is pretty one note. You know what’s going to happen pretty much the entire way through. There was only one time that I was like “oh, didn’t see that coming” mostly because I had forgotten about an earlier part that connected to it because it was just so stupid. So yeah, it was just very “meh” all around. Not bad. But not great. There’s a lot of guessing at the back story – and they introduce characters who know his back-story, but you don’t, so it’s kind of weird. And there are a lot of random characters that they introduce then kill, introduce then kill, introduce then kill. So you have a hard time caring about anyone because you don’t have time to get attached to them. I just found it ok.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler Ridden Review/Synopsis
We open in North Africa, 1600. We meet Solomon Kane (James Purefoy) as one bad ass British Mercenary. He is mid battle, fighting some Spaniards, breaks into their castle, and kills EVERYONE. Even saying “let not one of these putrid heathens live”. He has one guy tell him where the throne room is before he disposes of the man. In the throne room, it is very strange – there are these weird wooden full length mirrors EVERYWHERE. The men already feel that there is “something else” with them. We start to see these demon creatures in the mirrors – and then they start pulling men through the mirrors and devouring them. One man says to Solomon, “I told you the devil was here” and Solomon shoots him, saying to the other men “I AM THE ONLY DEVIL HERE” and, right on cue, a huge door opens up behind a confused looking Solomon, but of course he continues on through the door. It immediately closes behind him and we hear what sounds like the rest of his men being devoured. The treasure he was looking for is in fact here, but also another super weird mirror thing.
Solomon starts fingering the treasure, then notices – the king of this castle was already dead and is starting to all of a sudden freeze. Solomon breathes out and notices it’s suddenly gotten freezing cold and can see his breath. Then the torch goes out – and these black shadows start to envelop the room. They all come together on the thrown to form a dementor looking creature, who reveals himself to be the Devil’s Reaper. He has come to claim Solomon saying “his deal is done”. Solomon says there was no deal – and the reaper says that the devil wants his soul of evil and greed. The reaper raises his flame sword and is about to kill Solomon – but Solomon raises his sword saying that the devil cannot have him as it belongs to the lord. The reaper laughs saying the lord has abandoned him, they sword fight for about half a second, and then Solomon escapes by jumping out a window. The reaper again laughs saying that Solomon will never escape them because his soul already is destined to hell.
Now we go to England, one year later. We are in a church, and an older man and a younger man enter. The younger man is captivated by all the tattoos and marks that Solomon has on his body. He asks Solomon if they really protect him from Sat… and then another man walks in, cutting him off, and telling him to be careful what he says in this holy place and asks to speak to Solomon alone. They go for a walk and the man says that everyone heard Solomon’s cries last night, and what was his dream. Solomon says his dreams only remind him that he is damned, that “this place” (the church) and these markings are the only thing hiding him from damnation right this second. The man then explains that he’s always felt some dark presence and now it’s getting worse and that Solomon must leave. Solomon doesn’t want to, because he’s given everything to the church – and it’s the only thing keeping him from damnation. He begs but the church guy says that no, Solomon cannot stay. We see Solomon leaving, and two church men talking about him, including the man that just sent him away. Apparently Solomon is being sent away so that he can find his own path/his redemption, but he doesn’t know this.
On the road, Solomon sees many horrible things, such as a funeral where the people are burning the body of what looks like a toddler, and people have old timey masks on that keep infection at bay. He also walks by a large number of people hung up and displayed. A nice looking couple does come upon Solomon, in a covered wagon and ask Solomon if he’d like a ride because these parts shouldn’t be traveled alone. He declines, the man (Pete Postlethewaite) insists, Solomon declines again, and so the man leaves him with a kind “alright, well god be with you” and Solomon says the same. As they leave Solomon sees a kid poke his head out the back of the cart. In the woods, while stopped, he gets jumped by some raiders. There are three of them, and they go through Solomon’s bag and from his scrolls thing he’s a sorcerer. They kind of antagonize him and beat him – and wonder why he won’t fight back. He says it’s because he has renounced violence and will not hurt another man. They knock him out.
Solomon has a dream/flashback/whatever while he’s passed out of his father (Max Voy Sydow) telling young Solomon that he has to join the church or else he will cut him off and have nothing and blah blah blah. Solomon says he doesn’t want to, and so he leaves the castle with his father screaming at him that he is going to have nothing. He opens the door, and there is the Reaper – and he cuts him down.
Suddenly, Solomon wakes up in the cart of the family he saw earlier. One young girl, Meredith (Rachel Hurd-Wood) tells Solomon that he is ok, he is safe. The father, William, explains that the “lord guided them” to his rescue, and Meredith has been tending him. The family stops to set up camp. We see the family is made up of an older brother, younger brother, Meredith, and parents. Solomon still feels bad – but feels even worse about being idle and not repaying the family. He goes to wash up before trying to help the family out with their chores. As he bathes, both the younger brother and Meredith notice the marks all over Solomon’s body, especially the cross that looks cut or burned into his back. As they eat, Solomon tells the family (well answers their questions) about how he fought the Spanish, and went to other countries. They discuss murder, and how William was in the army, before he found faith, but couldn’t stand the killing. Solomon says that he must confess, he found it too easy and was never more at home than killing people.
While Solomon sleeps, we flash back to a young Solomon leaving his home. He hears a girl screaming and finds his brother (who will be the heir to everything) trying to rape a girl. He yells at his brother to stop, and his brother slaps the girl, pushes her away, then kind of fights with Solomon. He’s significantly older so he has an advantage. He cuts Solomon’s face, “giving him something to remember him by” and Solomon pushes him back – and he ends up falling off a cliff. Oops.
When he wakes up, it’s night, and he goes and sits with William. They discuss the family, and how they are everything to William. He explains how they lost lots of family, because of the plague and persecution and other things – so now they are heading for the New World. He asks Solomon to go with them. Solomon says that William needs to know what type of person he (Solomon) really is. He explains that he used to be a terrible, evil man. William says the lord offers redemption – and to not stray from the path. He’s a very understanding man. Love him. The next day the couple walks in front of the wagon, the boys driving the wagon, and Solomon behind the wagon. Meredith says that she has made some clothes for Solomon because his aren’t that great. He puts them on, really starts to feel part of the family. The younger brother asks if Solomon is going to go with them to America, he says no, because he has more in his life to do. They start play fighting with sticks, having a grand old time, just as the family comes up upon a burning destroyed village. The men go inside. Everyone is dead and their eyes are burned out. They wonder what happened here, and William says the devil must have been there. Solomon notices that it’s centered around a post – and that a witch burning must have been going on, and the creature broke free. Meredith wanders around and finds a young girl clinging on to her dead father. They take her with them and ask what happened. She says that the witch killed them all and burned their eyes because they came to watch. She also said something about how now all the devils children were out to play. Solomon is seen walking up to the family, as the mom says let’s pray. The little girl says she is tired and the woman says “just a moment more” and the little girl starts getting all bitchy. Meredith says that she is going to take the little girl to bed, and first Solomon says that he thinks the little girl should wear a cross to keep her safe. Of course, this causes the child to go nuts and turn into the witch – but not before she marks Meredith with a weird black thing on the hand. The witch flies off saying “the devil is waiting for you Kane”.
We now the raiders from earlier, along with a shit ton more, raiding a town and causing general havoc. A new person arrives, a masked man. We find out he answers to someone called Malachi. He is clearly some type of creature of the devil from the looks of him. He does something weird to the raiders, puts his hands on their heads and it burns his hand prints into them – and they kind of giggle – saying it was fun – and now look even more evil, if that was possible. Back with Solomon and the family, they are setting up camp. Meredith asks Solomon why the witch marked her – and Solomon says he can’t be sure, but he is sure that there is no evil in her so she need not worry. He also tells William that perhaps they should set a smaller fire than normal, just to be safe. While sleeping, we see someone creeping up on Solomon. It’s the younger brother. As he almost gets to Solomon, he wakes up – and the brother explains that he just heard something over the hill. Solomon goes to investigate and sees the group of raiders. They are capturing people and putting them in cages. Uh oh. Solomon goes to investigate closer and sends the younger brother to warn the family to run – but too late, the raiders are already there. They are dragging off Meredith and keeping the rest of the family. The younger brother yells for Solomon who comes running. They show Meredith to the masked man saying that “she is the one” right as Solomon runs up. A douchey looking creep grabs the younger brother and is threatening him – but Solomon won’t kill the man. Solomon asks the masked man what he wants – and he squeezes his fist and makes the douche say “kill me”. Solomon says he can’t – and then the man says that this little boy has more heart than any of them – and kills the boy. So everyone is screaming and then you pretty much see Solomon break as the family screams for him to help. He looks up at the sky, asking “god” if this is what he wants from him. He looks at the man and says “if I kill you, then I am surely bound for hell. It is a price I will gladly pay” and he goes all Solomon kick ass on them. During the fight, unfortunately though, they kill the other brother and take Meredith with them. Solomon kills everyone, tries to catch the men, but can’t and goes back to hear Williams dying words – of telling Solomon that he knows if he (Solomon) saves Meredith, his soul will be saved. William makes him swear he will find Meredith. He does and William dies. The wife (who we can’t tell if is wounded or not, but doesn’t appear to be) takes the locket with Meredith’s picture in it and gives it to Solomon and tells him to go and find her.
Solomon grabs some weapons and prepares to leave – he does notice however that one man, takes his last breath, dies, and then seems to return to normal – as in no hand prints on the face, no black pupils. So whatever was possessing him has left now that he’s dead. He notices the same has happened to all the other men. Solomon puts on his cape and hat that Meredith made for him, and rides off, leaving behind the wife clutching her dead husband. Now, even though the men have a good I’d say 10-20 minute head start, Solomon has an awesome horse and manages to catch up to them. He finds one of the carts of people and lets them go, killing the guards, and none of them have seen Meredith. No shit Sherlock, because she was special. We see Meredith arriving in a cage in another town, of course praying with another woman in her cage. The masked man ominously rides in and stares her down. Flash back to Solomon who sees a strange sight – tons of people walking, heads down and sad, all going in one direction. He goes to what they were walking from – a destroyed church and village. He goes into the ruins of the church and starts praying, saying he’s failed god and that he doesn’t know what to do and can’t find Meredith and to give him some guidance. We see a man sneaking up on Solomon, about to hit him over the head with a stick – but Solomon stops him, and finds it to be a kind of young priest. Solomon says he just wanted a moment to pray, and the priest guy rattles something off. He seems to be a little off himself.
We find out that this guy, Father Michael (Mackenzie Crook) lives there, saying that there is nowhere else to go. From Father Michael we learn about Michael that Malachi sends his men out, led by the masked guy, to make soldiers of the weak and slaves of the strong. The men kind of blabber about faith for a while – and then Solomon says he hears something outside. Michael says “no, there is no evil outside. The evil is already here.” and he opens up something in the floor. Solomon slowly walks over to it – it’s a pit in the floor, and we see some zombie like creatures. Solomon asks why he keeps them, and Michael explains that they were once part of his flock, his townspeople, and by Malachi’s curse were turned into these things. He says that he cares for them, keeps them, and feeds them… and kicks Solomon into the pit. Down below, Solomon starts fighting them and killing a number, while Michael listens from above. We see something come in front of Michael, and kill him. We go back down to Solomon and he is kind of going through the tunnels under the church trying to escape. He finally does and gets outside – and apparently the creatures can’t stand the moonlight and kind of burn.
Outside, we see the raiders again – this time it’s the EXACT three from earlier in the movie that he didn’t fight. They throw him Michaels head, there’s a little speech about how Solomon doesn’t fight so he should be easy to kill and blah blah blah, and of course, Solomon kicks their asses and kills them in seconds. The last one he interrogates asking where Meredith is. The man says that she is dead. Solomon screams that she is not dead and throws the man down to the zombie creatures. Solomon leaves, rides to a new town, where many of the people look scared, and he goes to a bar and starts drinking. There, a young man recognizes him and goes up to him with his friend. He asks Solomon if he is in fact Captain Kane – and he is Henry Telford (Philip Winchester) and this is his friend Garrick (Stewart Moore). Henry was on one of Solomon’s ships and knows that Solomon is one of the greatest warriors ever and needs his help. Solomon is drunk as shit and is like “I WAS one of the greatest.” We see Solomon then sleeping, completely passed out, as a number of the raiders come into the place where he is sleeping. They take Solomon and drag him outside. We see them crucifying two men, saying that this is what happens to people who disobey Malachi. The masked man walks up to Solomon, touches his face, then walks away, and one of the men yells “even this man cannot save you!” and they crucify Solomon as well. The hoist up his cross and burn the town to the ground. As some men finish burning the town, we see the carts of people go by the village. In the last one – is Meredith. She sees Solomon strung up and starts screaming his name. He finally hears her and then sees her. He asks god to give him strength, and pulls his hands off the nails. Then he cuts himself down. The men that were left to burn down the town go after Solomon – but are killed by Henry, Garrick, and the other remaining townspeople.
Solomon wakes, an unknown amount of time later in a cave with Henry, Garrick, and a number of other men ready to fight. He is being healed by a pagan woman, and Solomon pushes her off and says not to touch him with this pagan magic. She says it was the pagan magic that healed him. He takes off his bandages and doesn’t have the wounds anymore from the crucifixion, only the scars. Because of this, I’m not sure how long has passed. Since there’s clearly magic in this world, we can’t be sure. Solomon starts to leave – but Henry stops him and convinces him to stay a bit – and that all these men are willing to fight with Solomon to destroy the evil in their lands. He then tells Solomon more about Malachi. He was a priest and a healer and then sold his soul to the devil for his power. They also talk about how the masked man can possess a man with his touch. They decide to try and kill the masked man, which will leave Malachi vulnerable. He then asks where Malachi is – Henry says he’s at a place called Blacksmith castle. Solomon says that he knows it well… as that is where he grew up and his father used to be the lord of it…. Henry says that there is no lord now, and Solomon says he didn’t even know his father had died. He then calls the men to pack up their arms and they start to head out. The men question how they’re even going to get into the castle – the front gates are crazy. He says “you forget, I was born there, I have no intention of going through the front gates”.
We flash to the castle – and see them pulling in some carts of people. There are scary things around like what look like skulls everywhere. When the coast is clear we see a grate open up from the floor of the courtyard – and the men come out. They look around and then hear a strange noise – it’s the little witch girl from earlier in the movie. He says “YOU” and she says “welcome home Solomon Kane” and throws something at him and he throws his knife and kills her quickly. Then a number of soldiers come out and start fighting the men. The masked man comes out too and so Solomon starts to fight the masked man as Henry and the men go inside. Solomon fights the mask man but manages to get away into some tunnels under the castle. There he finds the dungeons. He lets everyone out but doesn’t find Meredith. In one cell, there is a main chained up – his father. He apologizes for leaving him and for killing the brother. The father says “but he did not die… in fact, if he had, none of this would be happening.” He explains that Marcus was so messed up, that no one could really fix him – so he called Malachi to him – he told Malachi he’d do anything, give him anything, to just have his son back. Malachi did bring him back, but as the masked man. He was so disfigured he has the mask – and only listens to Malachi. Solomon doesn’t believe that the masked man can be the brother – his father says he’s just what remains of the brother. The father then asks Solomon to do him one favor – kill him (as in the father). He says they both have their sins and he is ready to pay for his. So he takes Solomon’s gun, points it at his chest, there’s a brief moment of sad in their faces, and Solomon shoots his father.
Back out in battle, Solomon passes Henry and the remaining men still fighting – and goes straight to where he thinks Malachi will be. HE bangs on a door, screaming for Malachi to open up, and then hears behind him – a number of Malachi’s men. He draws his swords, ready to fight, but then the doors open and Solomon enters to meet Malachi (Jason Flemyng). Meredith screams from a cage that it’s a trap. He kind of shushes her. Malachi looks more like a stupid cheesy stargate villain than anything. Not like a demon at all. But whatever. He kind of talks to Solomon for a minute, what about, I’m not sure, because I was marveling in his Stargate-character-esque looks, and then disappears. So Solomon goes over to Meredith who says, it’s a trap – the witch only marked me so that you would come, the devil wants me. He opens up her cage and says “well then he can have me” and of course, the masked man appears and stabs Solomon. They start to fight (With Solomon wounded) and Solomon yells at his brother which he knows is in there somewhere. Meredith gets out and runs and hides. Solomon yells for Malachi – who appears and says that he isn’t hiding – he’s standing by a mirror, a huge mirror like the ones in the beginning of the movie – and says that the devil sent the scary looking huge creature we see inside to drag Solomon to hell. While Solomon finishes off the masked man/brother (who never responds), Malachi grabs Meredith, saying only her innocent blood will release the creature. He cuts her hand open and flings the blood on the mirror thing and the big scary rock lava monster thing is released. It’s super crappy CGI. I mean SUPER crappy. But, also, I was watching it on my iPod, so that could have been why it looked so bad.
So, he runs around with the monster for a while, then runs up to Malachi and says STOP you may have my soul. Malachi asks why he would give up everything to save this girl. He said he made a promise and he must keep it, points a gun at Malachi, shoots, as the monster is about to slam its hand down on Solomon. Then a series of events occurs. The bullet hits Malachi who gets sucked into the mirror, Solomon and the monster start glowing, the monster gets sucked into the mirror, but Solomon doesn’t. He passes out, Meredith runs up to him and Solomon wakes up and says some stuff to the tune of “what your dad said was right, damn.” Then Henry and his men walk in saying that the guards have fallen. The movie finishes with Solomon sitting at some graves for his brother and father, with a voice over saying Meredith was returned to her mother and is safe, and the monsters are gone, and blah blah cheesy crap.
It wasn’t great. I’ve seen better done movies with similar plots. It lost points with me for the absolute fail at what the evil demon looked like. But not a bad watch if you’re bored.