Friday, February 19, 2010

Solomon Kane

By Reymundo Salao

SOLOMON KANE is a badly made movie but one that has lots of redeeming factors that save it from being downright garbage. This movie works like a guilty pleasure because although it was badly made, I still freaking loved it.

There were really cheesy lines, but I could not say it was bad writing because at some times, there were just simple lines delivered in a really cheesy manner. The cheese factor just shines with how the director, the editor, along with the music, make the hero look. The hero moments employed very cliché editing. It’s as if this movie was one of those B-movie “sword and sandal” movies (like “Beastmaster”, and “The Sword & the Sorcerer”) made in the 1980’s. The direction of the story was also very badly made. At the middle of the movie, you get lost at what really is the heroic motivation of the hero. His character immediately becomes black and white (figuratively) and you just surrender to the idea that this was the hero and just let your brain take a back seat. Some of the movie logic also gets lost. I could still not figure out the sense behind how the big bad guy was actually defeated.

James Purefoy is not necessarily a bad actor, but he is given such awful lines. There were moments that seemed perfect for a really catchy line, instead he says something either corny or something that just makes him look infantile. The inclusion of actors like Pete Postlethewaite and Max Von Sydow were such a waste. Postlethewaite’s was too lame and Sydow’s was too insignificantly brief. Even the main villain played by Jason Flemyng has also gone to waste. It was such a black & white dull character due to its lack of screentime, in which he appeared for only the final scene.

There are also numerous directions that did not add up to have any sort of purpose in the end. The best example is when a demon in disguise as a human plants some sort of curse mark at one of the character’s arm. In the end, this leaving of a curse mark was not explained in any manner. It was as if the damn scene was just filler after all. It was as if it wished for the audience to forget about that one scene detail.

But as I said, I loved this movie. SOLOMON KANE has really cool, daring twists in the middle, and there were moments that it set out to break the rules of Hollywood stereotypes. It has elements that make it such a bold movie. At the same time, it was not a pretentious movie; it came and told a story and it didn’t give a f#%k how audiences would react to it. There is a total shocker scene in the middle that really surprised me in a nasty but impressive manner, revealing the savage irreverence of such a dark storyline. Those were the moments that showed promise for a great movie, but unfortunately fell too short. The other redeeming factor of the movie is its visual look; from the impressive costumes, to the set design, to the props, and the supernatural creatures that haunt the world of Kane. The overall atmosphere of the movie is pretty bleak; it is either really cold or really barren. My friend and I were repeatedly reminded of the game DIABLO, which also has a resembling atmosphere with this movie. All the flaws of the movie plus the elements of it that I really love makes this movie remind me of the B-movies of the early 1990s. Watching it kinda takes me back to the Allegro moviehouse (a local moviehouse here in Iloilo from the 1980s to the early 2000s) days.

Those who are not much into medieval or fantasy action would probably not enjoy this movie. On the other hand, this movie would appeal greatly to those who play online fantasy action games because the look really reminds me of games like Diablo & Neverwinter Nights. This is one of those guilty pleasure movies that you just adore in a campy manner. This movie is meant to be the first of a trilogy. I sure do hope they make a new one, because from here on, there really is no place for this project to go but go up, improve, and make things a whole lot better.

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