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"Solomon Kane": A Brisk, Humorless, CGI Fantasy Epic 

Wednesday, Sep 26 2012

Nobody seemed to have faith in this benighted, Robert E. Howard–based sword-and-sorcery demi-epic, which is three years old, has already wound its way through Europe, and was preempted stateside by its own VOD release this past August. It is, for a contemporary CGI-fraught fantasy-slash-living-video-game, not at all bad, dotted with moments of Bosch and steady on its storytelling feet. Dyspeptic brooder James Purefoy is the Howard-esque blade-wielder in question, giving up his homicidal ways in 1600s England after the Devil threatens to take his soul, and then picking them up again in a flash to battle a demonic big boss and his black-pupiled orc-ish minions, who are kidnapping urchins and laying waste to old Blighty. Predictably, everything is draped in late Gilliam, and the action is meticulously humorless — as Howard was himself. The site of a "failed" witch burning, exploded out around the stake and scattered with eyeless corpses, suggests a more interesting medieval pulp tale, but what we get is brisk, atmospheric, and faithful, for better or worse, to Howard's earnest voice.

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Michael Atkinson


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