Solomon Kane (film)
|Directed by||Michael J. Bassett|
|Produced by||Paul Berrow
Kevan Van Thompson
|Written by||Michael J. Bassett|
Max von Sydow
|Music by||Klaus Badelt|
|Editing by||Andrew MacRitchie|
|Distributed by||The Weinstein Company
|Release date(s)||December 23, 2009 (France)|
Solomon Kane is a 2009 epic action film directed by Michael J. Bassett based on the pulp magazine character Solomon Kane created in 1928 by Robert E. Howard. James Purefoy stars in the title role. Despite optioning the rights in 1997, filming did not begin until January 2008. The film is an origin story for the Kane character and intended to be the first of a trilogy. The plot follows a redemption story for Kane, from the end of his life as a privateer, through the salvation of his soul by rescuing a Puritan girl and the beginning of his life as the Puritan avenger of the source material. It was produced by a consortium of French, Czech and British companies and mostly filmed in the Czech Republic. The film was first shown at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. It went on general release in France, Spain and the UK over the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010. Reception was generally favourable, with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 64% following the UK/US release; the film's atmosphere and Purefoy's acting attracted the most acclaim.
The film opens in North Africa, 1600, with the English mercenary Solomon Kane leading the crew of his ship into battle against the Ottoman occupiers of a fortress town. After defeating the Ottoman defenders, Solomon and his men enter the fortress and find a room of enchanted mirrors. Demons trapped within the mirrors attack and kill most of the crew, but Solomon fights his way into the throne room of the fortress. Inside, as he helps himself to the fortress's treasure, a demon dressed in hooded black robes and armed with a flaming sword appears. The demon announces itself as "the Devil's Reaper" and tells Solomon his evil deeds have irrevocably damned his soul, and he is now destined for Hell. After a brief duel, Solomon leaps from the throne room window into the sea. As he falls to safety, the Reaper snarls that Solomon's soul will be the Devil's.
Following his encounter with the Devil's Reaper, Solomon returns to England and finds sanctuary in a monastery. The Abbot apologetically expels Kane after having a prophetic dream. Kane travels by foot to his ancestral estates in Devon, from which he had been exiled by his father in his teens. Along the way he is ambushed by robbers and, as he has fully embraced a life of peace and will not fight back, he is knocked unconscious. He is found and treated by William and Katherine Crowthorn and their three children, a family of Puritans traveling west to the New World. He travels with them but the family is itself ambushed by corrupted followers of the sorcerer Malachi and his brutal lieutenant, the Masked Rider. The marauders threaten the family and mock Kane as a "man of peace". Kane resists the family's call to action, and prays for guidance. The raiders mercilessly kill young Samuel. Kane realizes that he has no choice and attacks, killing most of the bandits. In the ensuing melee, William and his other son Edward are killed, and Meredith is kidnapped by the raiders. William declares with his last breath that Solomon's soul will be redeemed if he rescues Meredith. Solomon, believing that God's plan for him might be to use his violent skills against other killers, takes a horse, arms himself and sets out in pursuit.
Solomon battles Malachi's followers across the countryside, rescuing many captives but not finding Meredith. On his journey, he meets a deranged priest who informs him Malachi's followers are taking the weaker survivors of their raids as slaves, while corrupting the strong into soldiers. The priest tries to feed Solomon to his parishioners, who have become undead ghouls. Solomon escapes, only to be set upon by the robbers who attacked him earlier, who now work for Malachi. He kills two of the robbers and interrogates the survivor, who tells Solomon that Meredith is dead. Solomon throws the robber to the ghouls. Believing his quest for redemption has failed, Solomon drinks to excess at a country inn. Former shipmates recognise him and try to recruit him as a leader of a resistance against Malachi. Kane refuses. Malachi's followers attack the inn at dawn, crucifying the leaders of the resistance, including Kane. As Kane hangs on the cross, Meredith cries out his name from her cage in the back of the raiders' wagon. Kane realises that he still has a chance to save her and pulls himself free. Before Malachi's remaining men can kill him, they are killed by survivors of the resistance, who take Solomon to safety.
Kane is healed by an old witch and is soon anxious to confront the raiders. Members of the resistance explain some of Malachi's background as a former priest who made a bargain with the Devil, and reveal that he now lives in Kane's ancestral home. Kane leads them into the castle via an underground passage. As the resistance fights Malachi's soldiers, Kane heads for the dungeons and frees many of the captives. He does not find Meredith, but he does find his father. His father explains that the Masked Rider is really Kane's older brother Marcus, whom Solomon thought he had accidentally killed shortly after he was banished as a teenager. Marcus was only severely injured and left in a coma. When priests and healers failed to revive him, Solomon's father turned to Malachi. Marcus was horribly disfigured from the accident, and after Malachi's intervention his personality had changed and he was subservient to Malachi. Solomon reluctantly acquiesces to his father's request and kills him. Then he heads to the throne room to confront Malachi.
Malachi tries to convince Kane that his destiny has led him there to be taken by the Devil at last. Solomon finds Meredith caged in the throne room. As she warns him of a trap, Marcus stabs Solomon in the back. Despite his injury, Solomon tries to convince his brother to resist Malachi, to no avail. The brothers fight with Marcus dominating throughout, until Solomon sets Marcus's clothes alight and decapitates him. Malachi uses Meredith's "innocent blood" to open a portal, releasing a demon sent to claim Solomon's soul. After a desperate fight, Kane shoots Malachi in the head, sealing the portal and banishing the demon, but not before energy is pulled from Kane into the portal. Meredith believes Kane is dead, but he awakes and declares that he has redeemed his soul, and only his past misdeeds have been taken from him. Kane reunites her with Katherine and then buries his father and brother. In a final voice-over, he declares that he will roam the earth to oppose the forces of darkness.
- James Purefoy as Solomon Kane
- Max von Sydow as Josiah Kane
- Rachel Hurd-Wood as Meredith Crowthorn
- Mackenzie Crook as Father Michael
- Pete Postlethwaite as William Crowthorn
- Ian Whyte as The Devil's Reaper
- Alice Krige as Katherine Crowthorn
- Ben Steel as Fletcher
- Anthony Wilks as Edward Crowthorn
- Jason Flemyng as Malachi
- Samuel Roukin as Marcus Kane
Wandering Star optioned the film and book publishing rights to Solomon Kane in 1997 from the Robert E Howard Estate. In 2001 it was announced that Christopher Lambert was offered the role of Kane and was seriously "considering it as it's a very compelling part." At this point Don Murphy was a producer on the film, with Samuel Hadida of Davis Film and Paul Berrow and Michael Berrow of Wandering Star Pictures, and was attempting to set up the film with New Line Cinema. Murphy left the project in 2003 under a cloud when the negotiations fell apart with New Line. Things went quiet for a while during which time several scripts were developed around the African adventures of Solomon Kane from the classic text.
Then Michael J Basset was hired as writer and director of the film, with a brief to write an origin story based loosely on the Howard poems and classic text, and in August 2006 he finished writing the script. Finally on October 1, 2007, it was announced that James Purefoy was cast as the lead.
Principal photography began in Prague on 14 January 2008 and was scheduled for a 12 week shoot. Director Bassett says of James Purefoy that he "is a delight to work with; he is giving his heart and soul to this. He's in brilliant physical shape and his sword fighting is just brilliant to behold and he's finding depth and sophistication within the character in ways I really hoped he would." As of the end of February, sets were still being built for the later part of the production, and Max Von Sydow and Mackenzie Crook had yet to begin shooting. Jan Cileček, a Czech artist produced a number of sculptures for the film and there are some photographs available on his website.
An article in the Daily Mail states that during the production Purefoy was injured while staging a sword fight with a stuntman, resulting in his receiving five stitches to the forehead. The article also mentions that Bassett is into extreme measures "so his cast and crew have been working in the cold, the rain, and as much mud as possible.".
On April 16, Michael Bassett posted a message on his blog saying "Principal photography is completed on Kane. Now for the long-haul of post-production to get it all into shape". He also says that everything is set up for the future parts of the trilogy, which "will tap more completely into Howard's original stories." Finally he mentioned that "the final scenes of the film were shot in England on the North Devon coast. It was all done on a private estate which used to belong to the real Sir Richard Grenville."
On April 7, 2009 Bassett announced that production of the film is complete. On October 23, 2009, Bassett announced on his blog that "Kane is slowly gearing up for its first set of release dates at the end of this year and early 2010."
According to Paradox Entertainment CEO Fredrik Malmberg, the film's budget was $40,000,000 USD.
Solomon Kane's world premiere was on 16 September 2009 at the Toronto Film Festival. The film was featured at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con, which Basset and Purefoy both attended. It was released in France on 23 December 2009. It was released in Spain on 1 January 2010. The United Kingdom theatrical release was on 19 February 2010; in its first week it opened at seventh place in the UK top ten with a weekend gross of £611,886 across 259 cinemas.
Home media 
The DVD was released in the UK on 28 June 2010. It was the best selling DVD in week commencing 5 July 2010. The film will be released on Blu ray to the home market in North America on 16 July 2013 by Starz/Anchor Bay.
North America 
According to Bassett's blog, the North American wide release of the film has been delayed for reasons unknown to him. The film was eventually released on September 28, 2012 in North America.
It was announced on March 9, 2012 that the film would have its Southeast US Regional Premiere as the Opening Night film of ActionFest 2012 on April 12, 2012.  This will mark the second year in a row that a film starring James Purefoy and with sword and stunt coordination by Richard Ryan will open ActionFest.
Critical reception 
Empire rated the film at 3/5 stars, complimenting writer-director Michael J. Bassett as handling the film "with the same level of commitment Peter Jackson brought to the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, the darker moments of which are an obvious influence on Bassett's film." The review says of the film as a whole: "For less than the effects budget of this year's other sword ’n’ sorcery adventures, Percy Jackson and Clash Of The Titans, Bassett has delivered a dark-as-balls Highlander for the 21st century, played with such conviction it's hard not to be swept along."
Total Film also rated the film at 3/5 stars with the conclusion: "A brutal fusion of angst and action, this mini-epic gives the sword-and-sorcery genre a bleak, brusque new life. Watch it for some terrific limbchopping and a mighty turn by James Purefoy." Sister magazine SFX rated the film at 4/5 stars. The review describes the location work as one of the films "great strengths", comparing the film to Witchfinder General and Blood on Satan's Claw, "a landscape alive with the sense of supernatural forces gathering beneath the frost and the empty fields." Purefoy is also acclaimed, with "a sense of huge faultlines coiling within him [which] makes for a genuinely intriguing hero." The only fault is the final confrontation, where the "clashingly mainstream touch" of a CGI demon "[punctures] the movie's careful atmosphere of pre-Enlightenment dread."
Variety gave the film a negative review, stating that the film "just isn't much fun." Bassett's direction is described as being handled "confidently if without much flair" while Purefoy "gamely endures heavy exertion throughout; it's not his fault the script lends his character might and a mission but little personality."
The Guardian also gave the film 3/5 stars. Its conclusion was mixed, stating: "There's plenty that's good here: a serious tone, steady pacing, muddy and bloody scenery and a convincing turn by Purefoy in his own west country accent. But Kane is an ill fit into the origins tale template; it's a story with few surprises."
- "Solomon Kane". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
- Solomon Kane Assault on the Castle Clip and Behind-the-Scenes Creature Feature
- Superherohype Board
- Michael Bassett's Production Blog
- Jan Cileček's Solomon Kane Sculptures
- Daily Mail Interview with Rachel Hurl-Wood
- "'SORRY FOR THE SILENCE' - Bassett's blog". 2009-04-07. Retrieved 2009-04-20.
- "'23rd October' - Bassett's blog". 2009-10-23. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
- Punter, Jennie (July 21, 2009). "'Jennifer's Body' to bow at Toronto". Variety. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
- IMDB description page
- Extracine, Spanish e-zine
- New Making-of Solomon Kane Featurette Available
- "UK Box Office: 19–21 February 2010". UK Film Council. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
- "DVD Sales Chart week commencing: Monday 05 July 2010". British Video Association. 2010-07-05. Archived from the original on 2010-07-05. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
- "Michael J. Bassett's blog". Retrieved 10 February 2012.
- Soloman Kane on Rotten Tomatoes
- Hughes, David. "Solomon Kane review". Empire. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
- Crocker, Jonathon (February 10, 2010). "Review of Solomon Kane". Total Film. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
- Setchfield, Nick (February 17, 2010). "FILM REVIEW: Solomon Kane". SFX. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
- Harvey, Dennis (October 9, 2009). "Solomon Kane". Variety. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
- O'Neill, Phelim (18 February 2010). "Solomon Kane". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
- Floyd, Nigel (18 February 2010). "Solomon Kane". Time Out. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Solomon_Kane|
- Official website
- Official movie website
- Solomon Kane at AllRovi
- Solomon Kane at the Internet Movie Database
- Solomon Kane at Rotten Tomatoes
- Solomon Kane Film News-Fanpage
- epinions.com |Solomon Kane