Solomon Kane (2009)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Solomon Kane</strong> (2009)

(On Cable TV, September 2014)  I applaud any attempt to bring pulp heroes back to life through modern movies, but if the result is going to be as limp and by-the-numbers as Solomon Kane… I can wait a while longer.  It’s especially damning given that the first five minutes of the film suggest a far more engaging experience than what we actually get.  Here’s a hint: If you have a swashbuckling hero, it’s a good idea not to restrain him with a pacifist oath for the first half of the film.  While technically well-made and visually convincing, Solomon Kane simply goes nowhere for much of an hour, and the resulting lack of energy almost kills the film.  James Purefoy (looking eerily like Hugh Jackman) isn’t too bad as the hero, and it is kind-of interesting to see veterans like Max von Sydow and Pete Postlethwaite in small roles.  Still, much of the film is overly contemplative when it should be far more action-driven: Promised a pulp hero, we’re stuck with a brooding anti-hero dabbling in nonviolence.  I don’t mind a bit of depth and introspection, but writer/director Michael J. Bassett takes it too far.  By the time the action moves to castle heroics late in the film, it’s too late and too bland to impress –the slight revelations twists are obvious early on, and the film doesn’t take too many chances on its way to a conclusion.  It’s not a bad film for its budget, but it is blander than it should have been –the fact that it was completed in 2009 and made its American cable-TV debut five years later does hint at how unspectacular the result is.

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