TL;DR – This is a perfect film for Stallone, but it becomes hampered by many factors, including one of the weakest villains in an age.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this film.
Samaritan Review –
As we come crashing towards the end of the year, there is still a genre dominating the cinema landscape, superheroes. However, while the DCU flounders and is about to go through a massive rejig, and even the MCU has lost a touch of its lustre, there is space for someone else to do something grand here. With that in mind, we head to the good v bad narrative of the Samaritan.
So to see the scene, two boys discovered they had extraordinary powers a long time ago, but while learning to control them, people got hurt, and soon the town came and lynched the boy’s parents in a fire. While one boy became Samaritan, a protector, the other became Nemesis, driven by their thirst for revenge. After duelling for years, Nemesis leads his brother into a trap to save the town. Samaritan sacrificed himself to take his own brother down. People still wonder if Samaritan died that night, but Sam Cleary (Javon’ Wanna’ Walton) knows he is alive, or at least hopes so. But when he gets caught up with Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk) and Reza (Moises Arias) and gets stuck in the middle of a beatdown, only one person can save him, his neighbour, the surprisingly strong Joe (Sylvester Stallone).
If nothing else, Samaritan is at least interesting because Stallone is perfectly cast. He has the physicality you 100% believe he could beat down nearly anyone in the film. To go along with this, Stallone also has some decent comedic timing which was a pleasant surprise. This is also a role where he must have a more grandfatherly character in his dealings with Sam. Their banter is one of the film’s highlights, given Sam does not understand what Joe is trying to do.
Another strength is the setting. A city on the edge of collapse is nothing new with regards to a location. See the recent Joker, for example. While it might be an easy thematic setting, it works. It gives you the groundwork for your narrative already baked in, so there is less of a leap that you need to make for the audience. Finally, it lets you film or dress your sets in a way that can capture a moment in time. In this space, I have to call out the stunt team for some fantastic rigging work throughout the movie.
However, this film has a significant problem. The central villain has absolutely no substance behind them. There is no ideology, no drive, no logic, nothing other than Pilou Asbæk trying to look menacing, but they are giving him very little to work with. The mother character Tiffany Cleary (Dascha Polanco), is written as having no sense about her, which felt like a disservice. Given the strength of Joe, it is odd that they went with the PG-13 rating, given he is seen crunching hard metal like it was tinfoil multiple times during the film. Also, while you want to hint about your final big reveal, maybe don’t scream it from the rooftops.
In the end, do we recommend Samaritan? Well, some moments are watchable, the actors are giving their all, and if nothing else, this is a masterclass in stunt craft. However, a poor villain and shoddy foreshadowing make for a dull narrative. If you liked Samaritan, I would recommend to you Peacekeeper.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Samaritan
Directed by –Julius Avery
Written by – Bragi F. Schut
Based on – Samaritan by Bragi Schut, Marc Olivent & Renzo Podesta
Music by – Jed Kurzel & Kevin Kiner
Cinematography by – David Ungaro
Edited by – Matt Evans & Pete Beaudreau
Production/Distribution Companies – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Balboa Productions, United Artists Releasing, Amazon Studios & Amazon Prime
Starring – Sylvester Stallone, Javon’ Wanna’ Walton, Pilou Asbæk, Dascha Polanco, Moises Arias, Martin Starr, Sophia Tatum, Jared Odrick, Michael Aaron Milligan, Henry G. Sanders, Shameik Moore & Abraham Clinkscales
Rating – Australia: M;