Saturday, February 27, 2010

Solomon Kane

Of all of author Robert E. Howard's characters (Conan, Kull) my favorite was always Solomon Kane. He was always such a sanctimonious bastard whose religious hypocrisy seemed to put him in the path of vampires, werewolves and witches. He also had that specific kind of self hatred and ennui that even as a ten year old I found delicious.

The movie begins with Kane and crew invading a castle in search of treasure. There he meets a demons who claims that he will be taking Kane's soul, something Solomon is not yet prepared to part with. He knows the rules and has made no such trade one would make in exchange for the loss of his soul. Europe in the 1700s was a gloomy place.

We meet up with Solomon one year later as he has moved from abbey to abbey, still haunted by that night and the horrific dreams that follow him. The head monk has a vision that requires Kane to leave the only peace he has found and urges him to return to his home in the west - again, something that is not on the top of Kane's 'To Do' list.

But walk he does, finding much death and plague along the way. When he is set upon by thieves, his vow to never take a life is severely tested. It is at this point that we see how stubborn a child Solomon was. Rather than become a priest as it was his lot in life as the 'second son' he left it all behind. A confrontation with his older brother changed everything - forcing Kane to go to sea to seek his fortune. As he tells the family he meets in forest - for him, fighting and killing was the place he always felt most comfortable.

He joins the small group as they attempt to make their way to the new world. They know of his past as an evil man but a man who seeks redemption. I can imagine they have about ten minutes left to live.

One evening the family is set upon by what can best be described as demon men and the youngest daughter is kidnapped. The girl's father makes Solomon swear on his redemption to find the girl and thus begins his search.

I have a soft spot for these revenge movies complete with the scene when our hero gathers up his weapons and pulls his cape over his shoulder. There is nothing more dangerous than a holy man with god on his side and Solomon is both dangerous and holy.

The setting is both stark and grim and you can almost feel the wet and the cold. Everyone looks like they could use a bar of soap and a round of penicillin. Once they started with the cruxifictions I knew the happy time was over but the ass whopping had begun.

I like these kind of historical revenge pictures so I can take the slow build-up and the suffereing of the main character because I know that evil is going to get what's coming to it and the young girl will be saved.


Taranaich said...

Sanctimonous? Religious hypocrisy? Self-hatred? Ennui? Frankly, I'm wondering if you and I are reading the same stories.

Kane was a holy man, sure, but he only acted holier-than-thou towards murderers, rapists and pirates - and, well, he kind of is holier than those types. Don't know what "religious hypocrisy" you're alluding to, unless it's the whole Thou Shalt Not Kill thing. As for self-hatred, I can't imagine where you even got that from, seeing as Kane wasn't the introspective type.

Steve LeCouilliard said...

The Howard character's name was Kull, not Krull. Krull was a bad 80s fantasy film. Also, if this film is set in the 12th century why is everybody carrying flintlock pistols? Robin Hood lived in the 12th century. It's the 17th century knucklehead.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

wow..two assholes no waiting...