Friday, 28 September 2012

Solomon Kane (2009)

Tattoos are for pussies. Branding is the real deal.
James Purefoy is Solomon Kane, hit man for God.

At a glance:
This 2009 Michael Bassett movie scored VOD last month and sees a limited release today in a handful of locations across the U.S. so I thought I'd rehash my old review for those of you who didn't manage to catch it the first time around. To audiences vaguely familiar with this comic character, the first question is: what superpowers does Robert E. Howard’s character have in this Solomon Kane film adaptation? A cynical answer would be cheesy lines, the ability to kill CGI demons and a pretty cool-lookin slouch hat. I watched this in a March 2010 release by Grand Brilliance in Malaysia and even then the cinema bosses joked that they fancied makin a little from just the openin weekend only, considerin the box office-friendly key visual. Me, I'm just happy the director got his North America release and that the movie is at least better than that drivel that was Jonah Hex (2010).
Bad news on the doorstep:
Rachel Evan-Wood.
Yes, for one we’re fortunate that the we get a movie out of a decent character created more than 30 years ago by the man who spawned Conan The Barbarian. However, while this Michael Bassett (Deathwatch) imaginin manages to retain Captain Solomon Kane as a brutally efficient 16th century killin machine armed with his signature pistols, cutlass and rapier (so says the production notes from the U.S.), the picture as a whole is monotonous, unrewardin and also marked by a distinct lack of humour.

Perennial wonderment:
How do the actors feel about their involvement in this movie today? James Purefoy (HBO’s Rome) didn’t do a bad job at all as a Puritan with ‘fallen priest’ sentiments during those feudal times. His muscular performance is consistent throughout the show, right down to his transition in values, where he’s called to take arms again havin renounced violence to save his soul due a past encounter with a badass Skeletor-lookalike called The Devil’s Reaper. The man’s soul might be damned but he sure is joined by some very decent allies such as an ex-priest (the late Pete Postlethwaite, The Town) and his innocent daughter Meredith (Rachel Hurd-Wood, Perfume). In fact, the entire cast is faultless as they are great drama actors, includin a small role from Swede cinema legend Max von Sydow (whose illustrious career incidentally includes a role in 1982’s Conan).
I ride. I kill. I have a slouch hat. Do you?
Reminds me of:
Van Helsing (2004) and Conan The Barbarian (2011).
Most memorable line:
God's hitman has a string of iffy lines to say, all soundin like a corny, fallen feudal superhero steeped in existential illusions of self-grandeur after years of abusin cheap ale. They include: "I was never more at home than I was at battle.", "If I kill you, I am bound for hell. It is a price I shall gladly pay.", "There are many paths to redemption, not all of them peaceful.", "I'm a man of peace now.", "I am not yet ready for Hell." and "Only devil here is me". Don't these remind you of somethin Christopher Lambert would say in a Highlander movie? Well whaddya know. Apparently in 2001 it was announced that Lambert was offered the role of Kane and was seriously "considering it as it's a very compelling part". Although the film rights were granted in 1997, it took another 11 years before filmin began.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
The problem is that our dogged hero just isn’t interestin enough here despite all the excellent period detail. He doesn’t get too many show-off scenes and he takes himself too seriously under this direction. Although drama and action are struck with a fair balance (sometimes you may feel like you’re watchin Gladiator), the good captain’s adventures are predictable, dour and ultimately told poorly with disengagin focal points and unimaginative dialogue. The final nail on the coffin is hammered home when the ultimate baddie demon makes his CGI appearance, emerging like an inferior Decepticon that dropped out of Sunday school in heaven. Better luck next time, Master Kane.★★1/2

Bonus material:
Director Michael J. Bassett.
The day the music died:
R.I.P. Pete Postlethwaite 
7 February 1946 – 2 January 2011