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Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Why do I keep watching movies like this? I’m always disappointed. If the IMDb rates something a 6, I should really just assume it’s going to be a waste of my time. But there’s always this voice in the back of my head that keeps saying, “Maybe the masses just didn’t get it!”

I’ll tell you why I watched this one, specifically: because Robert E. Howard invented some really neat pulp fiction characters (not, merely, Conan the Cimmerian)–I really appreciate his unique mix of sword and sorcery; and because it stars James Purefoy, who was so brilliant as Mark Antony in HBO’s Rome.

Well, he’s not as good here, but it isn’t his fault, really. Even had it been more competently devised, Solomon Kane probably isn’t a character that would give an actor a great depth of motivation and emotion to plumb. I appreciate what Purefoy attempted to imbue to the role, but had the narrative been truer to the source material, it would have sufficed for Kane to merely be the BAMF he’s meant to be, without all the needless pathos.

I suppose I see what the writers were attempting to do in giving Kane a very wide character arc, but someday, I’d enjoy watching a movie that just dispensed with that sort of nonsense and embraced this brand of pulp character as they are, without regard for modern Hollywood sensibilities. Can’t Solomon Kane just go around killing bad people because of some strange, dark compulsion that even he doesn’t understand? Did he really need an entire moral journey that culminated in reclaiming his soul from Satan? Keep it simple, I say.

It wasn’t a totally incompetent film. It hangs together well enough as a narrative, and the effects and acting are largely fine. But ultimately, I didn’t find enough compelling characters to care about, the most visible baddie, himself, is a complete cypher, and Solomon Kane was too conflicted a character to carry the film.