OK, let me get two thing out of the way, first, I love this movie, if that makes me biased towards it then so be it, and second, I don't think I have put any spoilers in here, but do make vague ref to aspects of the movie, hopefully without giving anything away hence the spoiler warning.
But I'd like to think that my love of this movie is down to the fact that is so near to flawless as any movie adaptation of a literary work I've ever seen (and quite frankly, I've seen a lot).
I wont give details about the plot for two reasons, 1)plenty of other reviewers have already done that and 2)whats the fun in seeing a movie if you know whats gonna happen? All I want to do is give you that gentle nudge to go see this flick at your local cinema, and I promise you wont leave disappointed. If you like action movies, this is for you. If you like sword and sorcery movies, this is for you. If you generally just like really well made movies that will draw you into an engaging, and at times, unexpected story, this is for you. If you want specifics about WHY it's so good (and I'll admit there are times where Im one of those 'but whats in it for me' kinda people)the answer is simple. Everything.
The acting is first class all the way, unlike pretty much every other sword and sorcery movie, no one is this flick has opted for a tongue in cheek portrayal. Everyone from the excellent James Purefoy, the always exceptional Pete Postlethwaite and legendary Max Von Sydow all give 110% in this, acting as though this was what they were put on this earth to perform.
You want action? You got it, you will likely not see sword play this good in a movie this side of an Asian epic. If you know about the character of Solomon Kane from the original stories of Robert E. Howard, he is described as a man who doesn't waste a single movement in a fight, and this is so true on screen. Every strike, swing, dodge and thrust is there because it serves to add to Kane's advantage in battle. If your looking for fancy, artistic sword play I suggest you look elsewhere, the fights in Solomon Kane are raw, fierce and realistic (very in some places, but I wont spoil it for you) CGI is kept to a minimum, and that really works in the movies favour, it add's to that raw gritty feel that CGI can sometimes dull out with too many smooth edges. (Other than one major CGI encounter, but again my lips are sealed, needless to say it looks great anyway).
For loyalists to the Howard camp I say this, no it's not based on any of the original stories. But as a fan of the original stories I can tell you that it is a very faithful adaptation of the character and his world, even dropping in at least one nod to the literary fans that I wont spoil for you. Kane on screen is exactly as I pictured him while reading the stories, the voice, the outfit, the movements and attitude.
Without going into plot details all I can add it that the world in general has embraced this movie with the kind of cult devotion rarely seen these days, and now, finally, it looks like the USA will get the chance to see what the rest of the world already knows: Solomon Kane is the definitive adaptation of any of Robert E. Howard's works, it is the peak of most action/fantasy movies, let alone sword and sorcery ones, and with a little more love from the general public, it will be merely the first part of an epic trilogy.
Please, for your own good, go see this movie!