Solomon Kane tells the story of the ruthless mercenary, Solomon Kane, and his quest to save his own soul from the black deeds he has done. His stories were originally published in Weird Tales by Robert E. Howard, the creator of the Conan series (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solomon_Kane). I’m not sure how close to the original stories this movie keeps (because I’ve never read the stories), but on first blush it seems faithful. Solomon Kane is a tale of gloom, death, dark sorcery, and demons.
The story begins with Solomon Kane leading an assault on a castle. A skilled warrior, he wades through men like a scythe through wheat, only to find the treasure room to be guarded by a room of mirrors. He leads his mercenary men through, but these mirrors are portals allowing demons to reach through and claim his men. Finally, he breaches the final door and enters the treasure room where he comes face to face with “The Devil’s Reaper,” one of the more powerful demons, indeed the harbinger of the devil himself, who tells Solomon Kane that his black deeds have sealed his destiny with hell. Unprepared for such, Solomon dives out a window and flees. Then, he must begin the long journey back to redemption forsaking violence … at first. But soon he learns that through dark sorcery a former priest has summoned demons that now haunt his homeland enslaving the poor and converting the strong. It is up to him to stop the dark sorcery of this corrupt soul and release his homeland from the demons that besiege it. Will he be successful? Or will the forces of hell reclaim his soul for their own designs?
Strengths: this movie had a lot of elements I liked: magic, demons, sword fighting, and courage. The hero, although starting as a villain, was likeable in a macho, kick-butt sort of way. The innocent were innocent, and the evil were clearly evil. Sometimes, that can be refreshing. There was also the overriding theme of redemption (although it was redemption through violence) and the oft-repeated lesson that sometimes evil cannot be reasoned with. Both are good marks for the film. Weaknesses: well, some of the dialogue was weak, in my opinion. Also, the story began kind of slow. Although, setting the stage for a character as a man of peace may be a worthwhile goal, it has a tendency to be boring. Plus, at this point, I’ve seen it done a million times.
All that being said, the film was still worth watching. I’ll give Solomon Kane three and a half stars out of five.