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Solomon Kane


Stars: James Purefoy, Max Von Sydow, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Patrick Hurd-Wood, Pete Postlethwaite, Alice Krige, Jason Flemyng, Mackenzie Crook

Director: Michael J Bassett

Some movies are promoted as being “from the director of…” presumably in the hope that the magic of a previous success might rub off on the new film. Here, taking a slightly different approach, this sometimes sombre slew of sword and sorcery action is hopefully burnished as being the creation of Robert E Howard who gave us ‘Conan the Barbarian’.

Purefoy plays Kane with a commendable straight face as he fights to save himself from the Devil’s Reaper who has been sent from hell to collect his soul. Once evil but now reformed, Kane is put to the test as he swashes and buckles across a gloomy 16th century England ravaged by diabolical raiders, finding time in between slicing and dicing with bravura gusto to save maiden Hurd-Wood.

Unlike Conan, Kane is no barbarian: despite his skill as a killing machine, he is occasionally given to contemplation. Fortunately for those who enjoy action rather than something cerebral, writer-director Bassett sensibly concentrates on the former, spicing the assorted slashings with some effective special effects sequences, notably a scene set in a hall of mirrors reminiscent of (or, if you’re a cineaste, an act of homage) The Lady from Shanghai and a climactic demon that might give Schwarzenegger pause for thought.

Sequels are hinted at. Unlikely, in my view, since this film has already gone far engough with its key character.

Alan Frank

France/UK/Czech Republic 2010. UK Distributor: Entertainment . Colour.
104 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 22 Feb 2010