A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Solomon Kane is a dark fantasy adventure movie with lots of violent fighting and action. It's based on pulp stories written in the 1920s and 1930s by Robert E. Howard, who also created Conan the Barbarian. Nonstop fantasy violence includes fighting with swords, slicing, slashing, and spurting blood, as well as monsters, crucifixion, and kidnapped women. The main character also drinks to total drunkenness in a moment of despair. Language isn't very strong but contains uses of "Christ" and "God" (both reverential and non-reverential) and "hell" and "damn."
What's the story?
As SOLOMON KANE begins, Solomon Kane (James Purefoy) is a selfish, mean mercenary, stealing and killing seemingly for pleasure. Upon hearing from a reaper that his soul is damned, he retreats to a monastery, attempting to find peace through non-violence. Years later, turned out into the world, he begins wandering the countryside. He's attacked by a band of robbers, and a kindly family helps tend his wounds. Before long, demons and monsters attack again and kidnap the family's beautiful daughter (Rachel Hurd-Wood). Solomon vows to get her back but realizes that to do so, he must leave behind his life of peace and once again embrace violence. Little does he know that the fight will lead him back to his own family.
Is it any good?
Of the various movies based on the work of pulp writer Robert E. Howard, Solomon Kane is arguably the best and easily in league with 1982's Conan the Barbarian. Unlike many others, director M.J. Bassett seems to know how to correctly handle the material, giving it a lightness of touch but also enough bloody and shocking spectacle to stir up viewers.
Bassett may sometimes go a bit too far -- as in the relentless downpour and gray mud that drench the bulk of the film, or a scene in which Solomon is crucified -- but, on the other hand, no self-respecting pulp writer ever let their hero off too easily. Scriptwise, the movie might also have done without all the backstories and flashbacks, but even with them, Solomon Kane still has a stripped-down feel and focuses entirely on its troubled hero, with little room for supporting characters. He's fascinating; it's easy to see why he was so popular a century ago and why he could still command a movie -- or a series of movies -- today.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Solomon Kane's intense violence. Was violence this strong necessary to tell this kind of story? How does it compare to what you've seen in other fantasy movies, or horror movies?
Solomon's journey requires him to choose violence after a life of peace and spirituality. Why was this choice necessary? Was there any other possibility for him?
Is Solomon a role model? By the end of the movie, is he someone you'd like to emulate or someone you feel sorry for?
It seems that "evil" is everywhere in the world of this movie. How does the world of the movie compare with our own? Is evil easy or difficult to define?
- In theaters: September 28, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: July 16, 2013
- Cast: James Purefoy, Max von Sydow, Rachel Hurd-Wood
- Director: M.J. Bassett
- Studio: Radius TWC
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence throughout
- Last updated: May 24, 2021
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