"Solomon Kane" by Yojimbo
A murderous pirate renounces his evil ways in the hope of saving his soul from damnation but is drawn back to his violent ways when an evil sorcerer's army invades the land. Solomon Kane reminded me of a Hammer Studios period chiller done in the style of The Lord Of The Rings. The medieval setting and religious imagery of something like The Witchfinder General combine with some bloody, rain and mud soaked battle sequences to create a believably grimy world of superstition and violence that makes a nice backdrop to James Purefoy's intense central performance and it's this grittiness that makes it stand out from the never-ending crowd of Hollywood style comic strip action films. Unfortunately and almost inevitably, the script lets the side down; this is the third fantasy inspired action film I've seen this week, and the third that includes a plot revolving around a tough, amoral warrior that faces his nemesis to rescue a kidnapped damsel in distress. How original. And anyone who fails to guess the identity of the masked villain would have to be a paste eater on a Ralph Wiggum level. The cheesy CGI monsters tacked on to the beginning and end of this otherwise brutally realistic hack and slasher clearly compromise its vision and it's a shame that film makers today feel the need to play to the cheap seats in this way, every single time. Still, thanks to some strong performances and quality production design, it's easily the best of the three.