The Road to Hell
As a mercenary Solomon Kane (James Purefoy) faces blood shed on a regular basis and is responsible for much of it as he leads his soldiers on conquests. But when he has a bizarre encounter with the devil's helper he realises his path is leading him straight to hell unless he changes his ways. Renouncing his mercenary lifestyle leading to him being kicked out of the monastery where he lived Solomon hits the road looking for a peaceful life, becoming close to a puritan family on his travels. But when the family is attacked and the daughter kidnapped it forces Solomon to return to his violent past to rescue her.
If you asked me to watch a western featuring a gun fighter trying to go straight but having to turn to the guns to rescue someone I would be more than happy to watch it. If you asked me to watch the same scenario with a Vietnam vet I would go out of my way to watch it. But despite the same sort of story being the basis of "Solomon Kane" it is a movie which I put off watching for ages as this type of fantasy adventures are not always my cup of tea. Having watched "Solomon Kane" all I can say is that it ticks a lot of boxes but in the end my struggles with fantasy adventures stopped me from really enjoying it.
Now "Solomon Kane" is simple with an opening which introduces us to the violent world of Solomon and also the encounter with a devil helper which makes him realise he is on the road to hell. This is followed by him becoming close to a puritan family whilst we also learn about his history, about how he came to be a mercenary, his first killing and the scarring on his back. And then when things turn nasty and the daughter of the family who took him in is kidnapped we see him return to his violent ways in full knowledge it may lead him to hell. It is simple stuff and effective with director Michael J. Bassett keeping things chugging over at a decent pace so that it never becomes dull.
Bassett also gives us an impressive visual look be it during the opening scenes of action or when we encounter the aftermath of an attack on a village with the smoke still rising from the charred frames. We also get one decent performance after another with James Purefoy well cast as Solomon to give him the heroic quality but also the troubled aspect of a man coming to terms with what he is. But whilst "Solomon Kane" ticks pretty much ever box it sets out to it is the sort of movie where you have to be a fan of the fantasy adventure genre to really enjoy.
What this all boils down to is that I can see "Solomon Kane" being a good movie for those who enjoy fantasy adventure movies. But for those with just a general interest in movies it is a movie which ticks the boxes but doesn't truly come to life.