Surprise! Solomon Kane is a damn good movie. I ain't saying it's a great film, to rank up with the classics, but it's everything it ought to be, and as a long-time Howard fan, I'm mighty pleased.
Somehow, I almost didn't find out this movie existed. I heard nothing about until I happened to see the DVD on sale. Then I heard nothing more until I happened to spot a copy at the library, and brought it home. And enjoyed it from beginning to end.
Curious, I took a squint at Metacritic (it got a 48), and saw a few newspaper bozos whining that it was too gritty and too grim, or that Kane needed a comical sidekick. What bull. Writer/director Michael Bassett and star James Purefoy (bad guy Joe Carroll from The Following) obviously cared about Howard's vision and worked hard to bring it to the screen.
Bassett gave Kane a backstory (as the second son of a wealthy British family who ran away rather than enter the priesthood and roamed the earth as a bad-guy until Satan tried to claim his soul), but there's nothing here that conflicts with Howard. Rather, it enhances Howard's character, explaining why he's a Puritan and why he's roaming the earth battling evil. I'm confident Howard would have approved.
As for the rest, the script, the casting, the sets, the special effects, the music, the tone and the overriding theme of redemption were all spot-on. It was obvious the producers had hopes of continuing the series, and I'm guessing the film fell short of the studio's financial dreams. But at least it was done right. I'd rather see one honest Solomon Kane film than a series featuring a brown-nosing Hollywood phony.
Overlook more Films at Sweet Freedom.