Sunday, September 5, 2010

2 Reviews - Black Death, Solomon Kane

Time for some medieval glory.

Had the joy of watching these two excellent movies and here's my impression of them.

Let's begin with Solomon Kane.
This is a real fantasy movie. To those who can relate to it - this is based on the novel by the same author as Conan the Barbarian. It was written a long time ago and is a perfectly kitch and cliche filled fable. Perhaps that is why nobody had filmed this story until now, but I was happy with the overall result. Again, I think this movie appeals to people who are into the fantasy genre.

The story tells of Solomon Kane, an evil pirate who is remorseless and greedy. Right in the beginning he is confronted with an agent of none other than Satan to claim his soul. Solomon however escapes and with fear of his soul, turns to God and away from his wicked ways. But darkness seems to spread around the lands and there seems to be no refuge from it. Solomon returns to his old home land where he was once the son of a King (before being renounced by his father) but it is here where he must realize that he cannot live a life of peace. In order to save an innocent young woman he must once again turn into that wicked person he was. There is black magic, darkness, demons and other gruesome things.

Overall it's a very dark movie. There isn't a lot of joy and happiness at all...or any for that matter. There is evil that is fought with evil. Even the whole saving the damsel in distress isn't a merry event at all. I won't go into details here but the positives of this movie for me was exactly that dark atmosphere. The main actor James Purefoy is excellent for the role of Kane but I recognized him from one of the best TV series ROME.
The negatives about the movie are the predictable storyline and the overkill at the end. Just as the climax of the movie is about to be reached, they introduce too much "cgi demoness" that made it feel more of a computer game than a movie. Too bad, because if the end had been a little more in line with the rest it would have given it an extra star from me.
One last thing that bothered me. It may seem strange, but when a characters name is dropped too many times it becomes annoying to me. And here I felt his name came up... well just too *#^&@ many times.


On to the next>

Black Death - couldn't be a more fitting title.

This movie gets high rating from me. I just love realistic portrays of the middle ages. Things were not shiny and happy during the "dark ages". People had dirty teeth, poor health, struggled with starvation unless they were noble and kings didn't treat their subjects fair and with respect.

Again, stay away from this one if you don't like dark stories.
The story tells of England during a plague of Black Death (around 1300 A.D.). A young monk leaves his monastery to join a group of men sent by the bishop to investigate a remote village.
This village apparently hasn't seen any sign of the plague that is killing hundreds all around England at the time. Rumors tell of witchcraft and black magic that is being used as well as rituals of raising the dead.
This group of men that the monk joins is a nasty bunch and perfect for the task of bringing in a necromancer if there should be one.
A lot of the story shows how the land was plagued with this disease and the mind-state people were in. The young monk has a secret of his own and everyone is confronted with their fears during this trip.
The fight scenes are realistic, bloody and cruel - just as battles were at that time. People were not "fencing" with smiles on their faces and nobody died by a small piercing to the chest. The real thing were people bashing each others skulls in, slicing throats and chopping limbs. Watching a documentary where they researched and explained an ancient battle ground and the remains of the people that died there took away any illusion I had about those times. But I digress.

Again, I'm staying away from telling too much of the story, but suffice to say that it did take me for a little loop. I was surprised at the end, but then again surprised at being so surprised. That makes no sense I know:)


I give Solomon Kane 3 stars out of 5, and Black Death 4 1/2 stars.


  1. It was written a long time ago and is a perfectly kitch and cliche filled fable. Perhaps that is why nobody had filmed this story until now, but I was happy with the overall result.

    Actually, the story was written by the director, Michael J. Bassett. It isn't based on any of the original Robert E. Howard stories, though why they haven't been filmed is beyond me.

  2. Yes, I stand corrected. The character Solomon Kane was created by Robert E. Howard and appeared in several of his stories, but the movie is not a Howard story. Perhaps it could be described as being in the spirit of his line of work using the character created by him.