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Originally published Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 3:03 PM

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'Solomon Kane': an epic sword-and-sorcery tale of redemption

A movie review of "Solomon Kane," a lavish, brooding sword-and-sorcery epic. Based on stories by "Conan" creator Robert E. Howard, it's about the titular mercenary who, in 1601, must redeem his soul after a career of ruthless evil.

Special to The Seattle Times

Movie review 2.5 stars

'Solomon Kane,' with James Purefoy, Pete Postlethwaite, Alice Krige, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Jason Flemyng, Max von Sydow. Written and directed by Michael J. Bassett. 104 minutes. Rated R for violence. Sundance Cinemas.

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Completed in 2009, "Solomon Kane" made its U.S. debut at Comic-Con in 2010, after a successful run in Europe. It's now getting a limited U.S. theatrical release and is available on-demand.

That kind of history used to mean low quality. No more.

"Solomon Kane" is a lavish sword-and-sorcery epic aimed at fans of HBO's "Game of Thrones" and the "Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter" franchises.

Based on pulp fiction by "Conan the Barbarian" creator Robert E. Howard and filmed under harsh but visually impressive conditions in England and the Czech Republic, it's a brooding tale that begins with 17th-century mercenary Kane (James Purefoy) being captured by the Devil's Reaper (Ian Whyte), his soul damned by a life of greed and evil.

Kane escapes but is exiled from an English monastery in 1601, seeking redemption while protecting a family of traveling Puritans (led by the late Pete Postlethwaite, in one of his final film roles, and Alice Krige).

En route to saving his soul, Kane must confront the villainous Overlord (Sam Roukin, looking like a masked member of Slipknot) and the evil sorcerer Malachi (Jason Flemyng), who has a pet monster inspired by the fire-spitting Balrog in "LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring."

It's hardly original (and Max von Sydow is wasted in brief scenes as Kane's father), but "Solomon Kane" is worthy of big-screen appreciation.

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