Solomon Kane

  • Review Date: September 25, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 104 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Violent, muddy, but spirited movie from classic pulp tales.
  • Review Date: September 25, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 104 minutes

Age(i)

2
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5
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7
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9
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12
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Solomon Kane has the message that, for its hero, it's impossible to live a life of peace and spirituality. He must embark upon a life of fighting and violence to protect good people. Apparently, there's no middle ground.

Positive role models

Solomon Kane is a fun pulp hero, torn between his vow of living a peaceful, spiritual life and the necessity of fighting and standing up for what's right. Though he's a skilled fighter, he only chooses violence as a last resort. He's a genuinely good, respectful, and helpful person, aside from a bout of heavy drinking.

Violence

Very strong comic book-style violence, with lots of sword fighting, stabbing, slicing, spurting blood, and severed limbs (and heads). Also some guns and shooting. Several of the bad guys are monsters, both humanoid and giant-sized, who sometimes attack suddenly and frighteningly. The main character is crucified, with nails pounded through his wrists. Scary flashbacks and dreams. Women are attacked, bullied, and kidnapped. A burned village is shown, with dead, charred victims; other characters are set on fire.

Sex

Not really an issue, except that the young female lead is presented as beautiful and desirable; there seems to be some chemistry between her and the hero, though nothing ever happens between them.

Language

"Damn" and "hell" are used. "God" and "Christ" are mentioned several times, but mostly in reverential terms.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Thinking he has failed and that his mission is over, the distraught hero gets sloppy drunk in a tavern.

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."

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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?

QUALITY
 

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 Michael 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 his 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.

Families can talk 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?

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Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 28, 2012
DVD release date:July 16, 2013
Cast:James Purefoy, Max von Sydow, Rachel Hurd-Wood
Director:Michael J. Bassett
Studio:Radius TWC
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures
Run time:104 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence throughout

This review of Solomon Kane was written by

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  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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