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The movie tells the origins of Solomon Kane and is hoped to be the first of a trilogy of movies. When the story opens Kane is a mercenary of Queen Elizabeth I fighting in Africa, but after an encounter with a demon, The Reaper, he realizes he must seek redemption or have his soul damned to Hell. He returns to Engand and lives a life of peace, converting to puritanism, but soon the doings of an evil sorceror upset his plans and he must take up arms again.
For more about Solomon Kane and the Solomon Kane Blu-ray release, see Solomon Kane Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on July 15, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: James Purefoy, Max von Sydow, Pete Postlethwaite, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Jason Flemyng, Ian Whyte
Director: Michael J. Bassett
» See full cast & crew
Solomon Kane Blu-ray Review
"Kane" proves able.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, July 15, 2013
Your soul is damned.
The fictional Solomon Kane's origins date back to the late 1920s, the man clad in black and battler of evil a pulp magazine creation of Writer Robert E. Howard. The character has since evolved with several tales and, now, a rather good motion picture adaptation that captures an essence of good-versus-evil in a classically styled narrative built around a grim overlay, visual excitement, and only a few key special effects. Writer/Director Michael J. Bassett's (Silent Hill: Revelation) picture breaks no new ground yet it's a very well crafted film that never masks its themes, purpose, or violence but instead embraces the quintessential struggle for redemption and the goodness that may come from battling evil, even if that means sacrificing all one holds dear -- including the soul.
Solomon Kane (James Purefoy) is a ruthless cutthroat who comes face-to-face with a demon sent to collect his soul. Kane, unwilling to hand over his most intimate possession, escapes the demon's clutches and takes a vow of peace and Godliness. He spends a season in an English monastery but a priest's prophetic dream instructs Kane to move on. He travels the countryside doing no harm, even against those who harm him. When he's beaten by vagabonds, he's rescued by a kindhearted Puritan family with whom he finds an immediate bond. Unfortunately, the family is attacked and daughter Meredith (Rachel Hurd-Wood) is taken by an evil sorcerer named Malachi (Jason Flemyng) and his henchmen. Kane breaks his vow of nonaggression and promises his dying friend, Meredith's father William (Pete Postlethwaite), that he will rescue Meredith at any price, including his own soul. William, however, believes the noble journey in the name of goodness will validate Kane and save his soul. Now, Kane must learn the truth behind the kidnapping and the identity of the kidnappers in the name of protecting innocence and discovering himself.
Solomon Kane revolves around core themes and values and never deviates from them, and that's a key element in the film's success. It's a classic tale of redemption, a search for purpose, a lost soul rediscovered, and discarding the waywardness of evil and taking the path of righteousness. Every word and every action only build toward Kane's outward search for young Meredith and his inward search for himself. It's all set against other classic elements, namely the long journey built of physical hardships and emotional hurdles, including sacrifice, high adventure, personal trials, daring, and difficult terrain. Few films are as fundamentally sound as this, and it works better than most by keeping things simple -- dramatically and stylistically both -- rather than overcomplicate either the inner narrative, the outer structure, or both. Everything in the movie is all about capturing the essence of spirited action and adventure balanced by that rudimentary human story that, at its core, defines quintessential drama.
Fortunately, the film's strict adherence to basic themes doesn't lessen the emotional impact or excitement. Solomon Kane may work around simple principles but the film proves largely engaging -- perhaps not captivating, but certainly engaging -- even as it moves through a rather predictable story arc. It's very well made but favors content over flash, nicely recreating a long-lost world but not drawing unnecessary attention towards it. It feels very authentic but blends in perfectly with the tone and story, a trait shared by lead actor James Purfoy who disappears into character and conveys the fear, determination, steadfastness, allegiance, personal struggles, and emotional arc -- from evildoer to God-fearing man, from God-fearing man to justly avenger -- with a demeanor that makes the character both sympathetic and believably capable of existing on both ends of the spectrum. The film does make a rather jarring transition from "Kane the Barbarian" to "Kane the Godly man," but then again a run-in with evil incarnate might just be enough to shed a man of his evil ways in an instant. It does, however, take its time in building his relationship with the Puritan family (and there's a fantastic performance from Pete Postlethwaite at the center of it) and builds the substance necessary to make his adventure to free Meredith while also freeing himself a journey that will leave the audience sympathetic to the character and understanding of his arc.
Solomon Kane Blu-ray, Video Quality
Solomon Kane's high definition transfer looks fantastic. Though it's a rather dark film, dominated by dark blues, grays, and blacks, there's a clear, well-defined cinematic texture to the image. Light grain accentuates the entire thing and helps define even the tiniest details. Woodland terrains, stone textures, and facial close-ups are all intimately revealing, the former elements crisp and lifelike and the latter showing dirt, sweat, blood, and hair with uncanny realism. The image enjoys a bold, natural sharpness and crisp definition across the board. As noted, the palette is rather drab, but brighter elements -- fiery oranges and woodland greens, mostly -- contrast nicely with the colder backdrops which themselves are very well resolved. Black levels are deep and never crush out details, while flesh tones appear largely accurate. The image appears free of any excess blocking, banding, or other irksome eyesores. All around, a fabulous effort from Anchor Bay.
Solomon Kane Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Solomon Kane's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack is awesome. It struggles a little bit at the beginning, however. It's so chaotic, involved, and loud -- packed with extensive surround support, shifting dynamics, and potent bass -- that it comes across as a little processed or over-engineered. Clarity lags behind aggression, volume, and immersion, not to the presentation's total detriment, necessarily, but it's enough to notice, particularly as the track tightens up as it moves along. Later, music delivery proves perfectly defined, with smooth front-end elements and just the right amount of surround support. It plays big, with a large-stage cinematic flavor that nicely supports the sense of adventure that shapes much of the film. Chaotic battle scenes remain aggressive but with more balance, clarity, and stamina. Pouring rain saturates the stage and works the surround speakers as an example of the track's balance and abilities away from fighting scenes. Dialogue comes through evenly and with natural clarity from the center channel. Aside from a beginning part that's a little too much of a good thing, this track impresses a great deal.
Solomon Kane Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Solomon Kane offers a commentary track, a few featurettes, a deleted scene, and an art gallery.
Solomon Kane Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Solomon Kane recalls everything from The Lord of the Rings to Cyborg, and like those films it's a classic journey towards personal redemption and discovery in the midst of high adventure. The film unabashedly clutches to core thematic principles and it works very well in a context of good versus evil and the individual path towards destiny and fulfillment. It's supported by inspiring action, high quality production values, and just the right level of special effects. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of Solomon Kane delivers fantastic video and audio. A good assortment of extras rounds a high quality package into form. Highly recommended.
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Solomon Kane Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Solomon Kane Finally Coming to the U.S. - May 14, 2013
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment has officially announced that it will release on Blu-ray Michael J. Bassett's period adventure film Solomon Kane (2009), starring James Purefoy, Max von Sydow, Pete Postlethwaite, and Rachel Hurd-Wood. The release will be available ...
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