Film Review: Solomon Kane

Publicity for Solomon Kane focussed heavily on the fact that the character was created by Robert E. Howard, of Conan fame. Presumably, marketing executives hoped this association would help snare sword and sorcery devotees. And though Solomon Kane and the Conan films have very different settings, there are many parallels between both the stories and the characters.

Kane is a former captain, and as the opening sequence shows, he is one that is not averse to looting and brutality. It is only after the devil comes to claim his soul that Kane sees the error of his ways, vowing to renounce violence. This does not last long, however, as Kane has a quest to rescue a young girl, after making a promise to her father. Like Conan, it is only under duress that Kane will fight – be it to defend innocents or to defend himself.

Visually, the film functions successfully in creating a fantastic sphere – the historically setting is decidedly otherworldly in the presence of the supernatural. The narrative, however, leaves much to be desired. Solomon Kane is standard, by numbers, sword and sorcery fare that lacks originality. Even the twists are predictable – most audience members will see certain revelations a mile off.

The end of the film points to a likelihood of one or more sequels. Given the film’s lacklustre box office performance however, a Solomon Kane franchise possibly isn’t the surest bet.

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