Directed by Michael J. Bassett
Appealing visuals and a somewhat interesting plot are not enough to save this movie from being simply mediocre.
James Purefoy ,whose presence channels Aragorn, any Hugh Jackman character and a touch of Jonah Hex, delivers a performance of near-robotic insincerity. With a more adequate leading man, this movie might have stood a fighting chance, but with Purefoy at the center of it all, there is not much to be said for the successes of this film. Instead of creating a memorable lead character (which, due to the film's title, I feel was at least attempted), Solomon Kane spends half of its running time on useless character development, which could have just as easily and effectively been shown over the course of a 5-minute-long flashback sequence. By the end of the first act, we have learned very little about our protagonist, and are now only interested in the possibility of action and violence to spare us of the boredom.
Lack of originality is hardly ever important to me, so the fact that this movie is filled with it means very little to me. However, the fact that it doesn't improve on any of the elements in which it so freely borrows from existing films does mean something. The imagery is strong, with good - and somewhat sparse - use of CGI, but doesn't provide any images that leave a lasting impression on you. And in a film where the visuals are the strongest part, the fact that they fail to impress is not a particularly good thing. Not once did I find myself immersed in the experience; the visuals providing very little atmosphere. Not even the costume design was impressive.
The poor execution of this movie is not a victimless crime; it had serious potential. In the hands of a more capable director, this could have been one of the most interesting and exciting movies of the year. Instead, very little winds up happening, as the potentially-engaging plot spins easy-to-predict story-lines and produces forgettable characters to play them out. With a cast featuring the likes of Max Von Sydow and Pete Postlethwaite, one might have hoped the acting would be more compelling. Sadly, they are featured in very few scenes, never once sharing screen time with each other. A real shame.
As you read this, you may be wondering why I'm giving it this high of a rating, relatively speaking. The answer is simple: this is not a bad movie. Nor is it a good movie. This is the result of zero originality and mediocre execution. Most of this movie is bound to be forgotten by the time it's over.