He's reformed, honest.
"If I kill you, I am bound for hell. It is a price I shall gladly pay."
— Solomon Kane
Released early 2010, Solomon Kane
is based loosely on Robert E. Howard's character of the same name. The film begins with Solomon Kane, an English mercenary, sacking a Spanish-occupied fortress in 17th-century North Africa. After easily dispatching any guards unfortunate enough to stand in his way. Solomon's men are set upon by demons and only Kane himself reaches the throne room. The treasure within is vast but much to his horror Solomon finds he is not alone.
Confronted by none other than the Devil's Reaper he is informed his soul is damned to hell and Satan has come to collect. Kane narrowly escapes, vowing to renounce his violent and sinful ways forever. Thus begins Kane's path to redeeming his wicked deeds and the lesson that "redemption is not always found through peace."
Inevitably his quest to avoid confrontation is hampered at every turn and sure enough this reformed-sinner-turned-Puritan must now put his violent skills to good use once again. Otherwise the audience might actually be forced to watch a man live out a peaceful life in a monastery. And no-one wants that in an action movie.
The film itself is unashamedly over-the-top with some gritty realism thrown inbetween the demons and witches being slain. Its dark atmosphere and James Purefoy's lead performance have gotten a decent amount of praise, while on the other hand the straight forward plot and out-of-place finale have been seen as a weakness.
Well worth taking a look at the original inspiration, Solomon Kane
, along with his creator, author Robert E. Howard
Solomon Kane provides examples of the following tropes:
- Always Save the Girl: Solomon sees Meredith as the key to his salvation.
Malachi: Why do you care for her? You came here to save your soul.
Solomon; She is my soul
- Anachronism Stew: Okay, sure, it's hardly meant as a real historical film, but still, a puritan praying before a decorated crucifix just isn't right.
- And Your Little Dog Too: The protagonist has been foolishly refusing the call up to this point, so it's time for the villains to kill young Samuel in front of his eyes.
- Anti-Hero: Solomon Kane
- Attempted Rape: Marcus is confronted by Solomon before he can take things further.
- Badass: Solomon. Complete with Badass Longcoat.
- Badass Boast: The moment Kane lets the enemy mooks know the gloves are finally off.
Solomon: If I kill you, I am bound for hell. It is a price I shall gladly pay.
- Beyond the Impossible
- Kane somehow manages to un-crucify himself from a cross
- Afterwards he heals himself with some kind of pagan magic thing despite God, devils and stuff being real.
- Big Bad: Malachi. There is a case for the devil himself being the true threat.
- Blood Knight: When talking of the hardships of war, Solomon confesses this to William Crowthorn.
Solomon: I was never more at home than I was at battle.
- Boom, Headshot: How Solomon kills Malachi.
- Bullying a Dragon: A group of thugs harass and taunt Solomon, who is doing his damn best to never kill again. One is smart enough to notice he's "got murder in his eyes" and has likely killed before. But they still beat him down for fun. They meet again. He isn't forgiving.
- Burn the Witch!: Inverted. Solomon and the Crowthorns encounter the bodies of villagers who were burning a suspected witch. The problem arose when she actually turned out to be genuine and the fire was utterly useless. She then turned the flames on her capturers and burned the eyes out of all those who came to watch. All while laughing.
- The Call Knows Where You Live: Despite his best efforts to become a man of peace, the call plagues him until Solomon finally answers. The call banishes him from the safety of the monastery, kills most of the family that took him in, kidnaps their daughter and then he finds out Malachi is now residing in his family's castle.
- Came Back Wrong: Marcus Kane, who is nothing more than Malachi's slave.
- Children Are Innocent: Subverted. Turns out that child who survived the witch attack was the witch in disguise after all. Solomon wasn't fooled, however.
- Christianity Is Catholic: Zig-zagged. Catholicism should have been well stamped out in southern England by the time Solomon Kane is set, but the film still shows Kane living in a monastery and kneeling in front of an ornate crucifix. Both Kane and the Crowthorns are Puritans, but this fact receives very little screentime.
- Crucified Hero Shot: Solomon is literally crucified, though he escapes.
- Damsel in Distress: Meredith Crowthorn.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Solomon, of course.
- Darkest Hour: Solomon suffers this when he believes he has failed Meredith and by extension lost his chance for salvation. Then ends up letting himself be crucified. He recovers though when he finds out she's still alive.
- Deal with the Devil: Malachi's power is literally a result of dealing with Satan. And then Josiah Kane in turn makes a deal with Malachi, offering up his power and lands to heal his eldest son.
- Determinator: Solomon displays this trait on several occasions, even during his darkest hour. He refuses to be taken to hell quietly, pulls himself off a cross after being crucified and tracks down Meredith against all the odds to save her.
- The Dragon: The Masked Rider is this to Malachi.
- Dual Wielding: Be it dual swords, a pair of muskets, or one of each, Kane is fond of a weapon in each hand.
- The Dulcinea Effect: Solomon for Meredith.
- Eating the Eye Candy: Meredith not-very-subtly hides behind a tree in order to check out Solomon when he's bathing in the river.
- Evil Feels Good: The bandits who decided to join Malachi. "It is good!"
- Evil Overlord: Malachi.
- Evil Plan: Malachi informs Solomon that everything that transpired was meant to bring him here. Essentially so his master could send another minion to try and get him. It fails at every level.
- Evil Sorcerer: Malachi.
- The Faceless: The Masked Rider. Until The Reveal that is.
- Failed a Spot Check: Happens to Solomon multiple times throughout the film. Makes you wonder how he survived as a soldier all those years. Good thing we have Mook Chivalry to compensate....
- Fate Worse Than Death: Any one "infected" with the evil of Malachi is pretty much a slave to his will and eventually they become demons.
- Flaming Sword: The weapon of choice for the Devil's Reaper. And a BFS at that.
- Flash Back: Several major moments in Solomon's youth are explored through flashbacks.
- Grim Reaper: The Devil's Reaper. Complete with fiery sword.
- Heroic BSOD: When Solomon is led to believe that Meredith is dead, he gives in to drink and despair.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In the end Solomon's willingness to sacrifice his soul to save Meredith even if it means his own damnation, is exactly what redeems him.
- High Dive Escape: Kane escapes from the Devil's Reaper by diving through a stained glass window into the ocean below.
- Hijacked by Jesus: The original novels were about a Puritan Christian struggling to understand a world where creatures and forces of various non-Christian belief-systems roam freely, yet the Christian God makes no overt signs of His existence, whereas the movie is all about the struggle between the Judeo-Christian God and Satan via human proxies.
- Holding Out for a Hero: The local fighters don't fight back until Kane leads them. On a larger scale, what the hell are the armies of Queen Elizabeth the First doing while half of the West Country is burning to the ground? Although there wasn't so much of an army per se in the early 1600s... but there would have been badly trained (and drunk) local militias available for hire. If you want an army, you'd have to wait about another 40 years. Never-the-less Elizabeth I would surely have done something and since her mother was reputedly a witch....
- Human Notepad
- Solomon is covered in religiously-themed tattoos and scars, apparently intended to ward off evil. And we get to see quite a lot of them.
- Malachi also has neatly scrolled text written across one side of his face.
- I Didn't Mean to Kill Him: Played straight and subverted. Solomon spends years feeling guilty after accidentally killing his brother, even though he didn't like him, but in the end it turns out Marcus never died from the fall. Ironically if Marcus had died things might have turned out for the better.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Subverted. It turns out Marcus isn't in there after all, or if he is, can't fight his master's will. Solomon is forced to put him out of his misery.
- Infant Immortality: Averted. The Crowthorns' youngest family member, Edward, is the first to die by the hands of Malachi's mooks.
- Infernal Retaliation: The Masked Rider is put on fire by Solomon during their duel. He doesn't stop fighting.
- I Will Fight No More Forever: Solomon vows off violence forever. It doesn't last.
- I Will Find You: Meredith will be rescued if it's the last thing he does.
- Marcus Kane comes across as a bully toward young Solomon.
- Solomon himself is very much one during the intro.
- Knight Errant: Solomon Kane is this trope. The film is essentially how he becomes the Knight Errant, hunting evil across the world.
- Large Ham: Jason Flemyng's turn as Malachi.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: The Masked Rider is Solomon's brother.
- Made of Iron: Solomon: in the final fight he gets a sword run straight through his shoulder, but is up and swinging in mere moments.
- Man Behind the Man: Malachi serves the Devil.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Played very straight when the Crowthorn family is set upon by evil thugs and all the males, the father, eldest son and even the youngest Edward, are brutally killed. The two women, Mrs. Crowthorn and Meredith, both survive the movie.
- The Musketeer: Solomon.
- Name of Cain: Solomon Kane is the antihero variety.
- Neck Lift: The Masked Rider likes to crush Red Shirts' necks, and he does this to Solomon during their final battle.
- Nice Hat: Solomon's Puritan hat, naturally, given the source material.
- Our Ghouls Are Creepier: The villagers-turned-demons locked under the church are your typical cannibalistic undead.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Essentially Solomon's modus operandi.
- Plague Doctor: A couple of them are briefly seen.
- Punctuated Pounding: Head vs. ground.
Kane: "Don't! You! Lie! To! Me!"
- Reality Is Unrealistic: For those who have never heard Purefoy's native accent, the West Country voice can take getting used too.
- Redemption Earns Life: Solomon's willingness to sacrifice his soul is exactly what saves it.
- Red Herring: The mark the witch leaves on Meredith's palm at first indicates she may be special or have some say in the final battle. In the end it was simply to let Malachi and co. know she was bait for Solomon.
- Self-Made Orphan: Unusual in that the father asked his son to do the deed.
- Sequel Hook: The film is after all a blatant origin story. Apparently a trilogy is planned.
- Sesquipedalian Smith: Solomon Kane.
- Sinister Minister: Father Michael. Driven insane by his congregation turning into ghouls, he keeps them confined under the ruins of his church. He even feeds them other people. Solomon learns this too late to avoid being pushed in.
- Shoot the Dog: Solomon finds his father locked in the dungeon, bound by chains made by Malachi. Josiah Kane tells him that deal he made means Malachi will always be stronger while he lives. Reluctantly Solomon carries out his father's request to kill him.
- Shout-Out: Intentionally or not, Solomon surviving crucifixion is reminiscent of another Robert E. Howard creation, Conan the Barbarian. The magic recovery in particular reminds one of the Arnold movie.
- Something Completely Different: For some reason the Devil has Malachi send a 30ft lava monster through a giant portal to kill 6 foot Solomon. Rather than...oh I dunno...the Reaper that Kane nearly killed himself escaping from last time. It looks more like something you hit repeatedly until its HP bar reaches zero than, say, a movie villain..
- Super Window Jump: Kane escapes the Reaper by diving through an ornate stained glass window.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Well that's one witch who should have spent more time ducking and less time taunting. Sword to the face... ouch.
- Trailers Always Spoil: That massive fire-demon-thing hasn't showed up yet and it's the final battle....
- Villain Ball: It appears the Devil himself is carrying this thing around the whole movie. He sends his reaper after Solomon essentially warning him he's doomed for hell unless he changes. He orders his minion Malachi to orchestrate a reign of terror on Kane family lands solely to bring Solomon out of hiding. Then has Meredith used as bait. All this to get Solomon's soul. Instead it only gives him new purpose and a noble reason to fight. Backfiring in every conceivable way. Honestly, Satan comes off as a Super-Persistent Predator who wastes an entire kingdom to claim a single soul.
- Villainous Widow's Peak: Malachi sports a glorious one.
- Volcanic Veins: The big magma demon, naturally.
- War Is Glorious: In the intro it's clear Solomon Kane really loves his work. That is until he meets a reaper.
- War Is Hell: After recounting his own personal experience, William Crowthorn informs his son that the bloodshed of battle and taking another's life is far from glorious.
- White Mask of Doom: The Masked Rider.
- Wicked Witch: Pretty much your classic ugly hag, complete with cackling.
- A Wizard Did It: As no amount of herbal medical techniques can mend the devastating bone, muscle, and nerve damage having your hands nailed to a cross would do, especially in less than a few days, the movie pretty much handwaves the miracle of Solomon's 100% fully functional hands as some strange pagan magic. Then again, they did Hand Wave it, which is more than most film do....
- You Can't Fight Fate: Solomon is pretty much cursed to a life of battle. The Devil's Reaper informs Kane he is damned and it's pointless to fight it.