Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Javon Walton, Pilou Asbaek, Dascha Polanco, Moisés Arias | Written by Bragi Schut | Directed by Julius Avery

amazon, ‘samaritan’ review (amazon prime)

Thirteen-year-old Sam Cleary (Javon “Wanna” Walton) suspects that his mysterious and reclusive neighbour Mr. Smith (Sylvester Stallone) is actually a legend hiding in plain sight. Twenty years ago, Granite City’s super-powered vigilante, Samaritan, was reported dead after a fiery warehouse battle with his rival, Nemesis. Most believe Samaritan perished in the fire, but some in the city, like Sam, have hope that he is still alive. With crime on the rise and the city on the brink of chaos, Sam makes it his mission to coax his neighbour out of hiding to save the city from ruin.

There’s something about Julius Avery‘s Samaritan that reminds me of a 2000s action-thriller, and I mean that in the best way possible. Some people have a sour taste in their mouths when they watch a film that feels extremely old-school in terms of its style, atmosphere, tone, and even execution, but if done right, they can be satisfying.

Unfortunately, Samaritan – while featuring a great atmosphere – is a film that can never quite rise to the full potential of its zany premise, despite screenwriter Bragi F. Schut implementing some truly entertaining things throughout the course of the film. It’s not one of the worst movies of the year by far, but it’s also not one of the best. It’s a resounding “meh.”

We are so used to superhero films in this day and age being over-the-top with goofiness (for example, this year, you don’t need to look any further than the abysmal Thor: Love and Thunder), and it can be easy to forget that, surprisingly, once upon a time, superhero films used to take themselves seriously.

Sure, some jokes were included but they was, at their core, serious movies. One thing I love about Samaritan is that it’s a superhero film that legitimately takes itself seriously and barely has any time for humor. Sometimes the script can be a little ridiculous, but it mostly nails the gritty tone that so many films today in this genre are missing.

At this point, it’s kind of a known thing that Sylvester Stallone stars in a bunch of garbage movies that nobody ever watches and that his glory days are far behind him. While that latter statement still rings true, it was definitely refreshing to see the legendary actor deliver a genuinely great performance here as the titular character.

Similar to Creed, Stallone actually seems like he cares about delivering a good performance here instead of just showing up to set every day for some easy money. The relationship he has with Javon Walton’s character Sam Cleary is also extremely touching and quite interesting.

It’s just a shame that the film is never able to grasp onto you one hundred percent. There will be a handful of scenes that you’ll be highly invested in, only for the next few to be relatively boring talking scenes that don’t really do a whole lot to actually advance the plot forward.

But to be honest with you, I had a fun enough time watching Samaritan It’s absolutely not one of the best movies of the year. It’s not one of the worst, either. If you’re a fan of Stallone or superhero films in general, it’s worth checking out just to see what your stance is on it.

**½  2.5/5

Samaritan is available to stream online now via Amazon Prime.


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