Friday 19 February 2010

Solomon Kane Review Reviews: Nigel Powlson

Oh boy.

Nigel Powlson's review.

BEFORE he created Conan the Barbarian Robert E Howard tested out the plot on Solomon Kane. Instead of the steppes, we have Somerset; instead of animal skins we have black hats, instead of paganism we have Christianity.

Otherwise it's the same tale of a cast out child who grows up to seek revenge for an act of violence by a brutal nemesis.

And with one fell swoop, all Nigel's credibility in this review goes whooshing out the window. No, Nigel, Robert E. Howard did not "test out the plot" of Conan on Solomon Kane, because...

  1. The story of Conan the Barbarian has nothing to do with Robert E. Howard
  2. The story of Solomon Kane has nothing to do with Robert E. Howard
  3. Just as Howard's Conan and Kane are very different from each other, so too are the stories of Conan the Barbarian and Solomon Kane as films!
  4. Konahn wasn't "cast out" as a child, he was captured and enslaved. Big freakin' difference, I'da thought.
  5. Bassett's Kane isn't driven by revenge, he's driven by desire to save his immortal soul. Again, I'da thought that would be a big freakin' difference.

Quintuple point failure, damn. How could it possibly get worse?

Conan the Barbarian has become Solomon the Puritan, with Arnold Schwarzenegger's muscles and Austrian mauling of the English language replaced by the rather more gently-muscled James Purefoy, with a West Country brogue (a sort of Conan the cider drinker).

I think it's hilarious that Nigel can possibly consider Solomon Kane, even Bassett's version, to be anything like Milius' Conan, let alone Howard's.

Seriously, let's look at the similarities: they both have swords, they both fight monsters. Uh... They're both based on works by Robert E. Howard... Ah... hmm. Can't say I find that many similarities at all, Nigel. It doesn't help that you actually add to the differences like physique and accent.

Then, instead of doing a review, he goes into spoiler territory. Which isn't reviewing, it's recapping. Then again, it's good to have a paragraph where he doesn't spout a bunch of ill-informed opinions.

Why anyone would want to dust down this 82-year-old relic and give it the Hollywood treatment is anyone's guess

WELL GOLLY GEE WILLICKERS, NIGE, YA GOT ME THERE. After all, why on earth would anyone want to watch a new Three Musketeers movie, or Sherlock Holmes, or War of the Worlds, or the innumerable Shakespeare and Austen adaptations? Maybe because... they're damn good stories that would be rippin' great films (not that this is actually the case with Kane, what with it not being an adaptation and all)?

That's a truly astounding thing to say. What's scary is the guy did enough research to know that Kane is 82 years old this year, yet he somehow comes to the conclusion that he's a mere "relic". He gives the impression that Solomon Kane has been wasting away in Weird Tales for the past three quarters of a century, and this is the first time he's appeared in a new medium. As in, the character has been completely unknown until Bassett came along to resurrect him. He's seriously suggesting that nobody had heard of Kane until Bassett made the film.

That Kane hasn't been collected in numerous anthologies throughout the decades.

That the 1970s Marvel Solomon Kane series somehow cease to exist in his little world.

That the Solomon Kane RPG is a figment of the imagination.

That The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane are not, in fact, still in print years after its first run.

That Heroes in the Wind, the Penguin Classics collection which cements Howard's status as a Real Writer of Literature, doesn't include "The Footfalls Within" - a Solomon Kane story.

The implication is "if it's old and I've never heard of it, then it MUST be rubbish, and can't have been popular at any point!" Which is perfectly understandable for such a pretentious dotard as himself.

but Deathwatch director Michael J Bassett approaches the material as if Peter Jackson had handed him the keys to Middle Earth.

You know, Bassett's handling of Kane really doesn't seem dissimilar to Jackson's approach. Obviously this isn't Nigel's intentions--he's just making the old "Howard is inferior to Tolkien" horseradish--but it's kind of a fun thing to muse.

For some reason, I can't comment directly to the review despite there being a "comment" button. More's the pity, I'd love to take a screenshot with my comment on it before Nige takes it down a la Baz Bamigboye. Then again, maybe Nige has thicker skin than Bazza.

I'm going to see the film on Saturday, and post my thoughts on it. I'm not entirely sure how I'll tackle it, it all depends on whether I enjoy it or not. I already know enough of the details to try and ignore/brave the anti-Howardian elements, and to discuss them on The Cimmerian might be redundant. Might even end up the debut of the much talked-about but still not ready to come out into daylight Good Scot/Bad Scot review. Perhaps, if I'm especially cruel, I'll embark on La Película del puritano engañoso Sully McCain...


  1. Lol, you should stop reading that stuff; it can't be good for your blood pressure. Your readers at least get the filtered and commented version which is more digestable. :)

  2. One of the few things that isn't a health problem for me is blood pressure. Stones are easier to get blood out of than me.

    Still, reviews for Kane in the UK have been far better than the French ones, not least because they don't (on the whole) make as many mistakes. I've noticed most of the bad reviews are also the ones that get things wrong. Wonder what the corroboration could be?

  3. I guess Its a good thing that your reviewers are even talking about it..

    I can't seem to find out any information about the US release at all.. and when it does get a vague mention its always seemingly in the context of ' that movie thats ripping off van helsing '...

  4. Kane is a pretty big deal over in Blighty: tv spots on major channels, buses with Kane on the side, reviews and interviews on terrestrial TV (basically the five most important channels).

    If it sells well in the UK, perhaps it'll get a release in the US.