Monday, April 1, 2013

Long awaited adventure

This weekend Xbox Video was offering the film Soloman Kane for free. For the uninitiated, Solomon Kane is a character created for the pulps by Robert E. Howard. Solomon is basically a puritan who wanders the world, fighting demons, witches, and other evils from the beyond.

I have to first admit that I have only ever read one or two stories about Kane. I have the old Baen collection of his stories, and I recall reading the first couple from that. From these, and from other sources, I would classify the Kane stories as Horror Adventure. The mood is dark and grim, with the damnation of souls often hanging in the balance. Not my usual fare, as I am not a huge fan of Horror as a genre. However, like the Conan stories, Kane triumphs over evil, often with the prodigious use of steel.

The movie was very good. Excellent special effects that weren’t overused; basically, just for the supernatural elements, as they should be. The fights were well-done, and exciting. The acting was beyond superior. But then, James Purefoy (Kane) can really do no wrong. He is one of my favorite actors. The story was good, if a bit predictable. But it didn’t really have many huge plot holes, at least that I could see.

If I were to have any criticisms, I would say that the narrative dragged in places. I get that they were going for characterization and suspense, but the timing of these bits seemed to be wrong somehow. Also, the film suffered from an overuse of slo-mo shots set to dramatic music. But none of these really detracted from the quality of the film as a whole.

This film should have been a big hit. It had all of the right elements in place. But, as happens with a lot of genre films lately, it suffered setbacks behind the scenes (*cough* John Carter *cough*). It was never released theatrically in the States. And there was some kind of delay on a video release for months and months. Sadly, these will probably combine to effectively bury the film, and dash any hopes of a sequel. Which is really too bad, as the story was obviously set up with sequels in mind.

Be that as it may, it has kind of inspired me to read more about the character. I have the recent Del Rey edition.  I might even revisit an idea I had for a similar character.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I had hopes for it to be released here but alas. I really like the SOlomon Kane stories quite a lot.