Samaritan review: Sylvester Stallone carries mediocre superhero flick

Samaritan on Prime Video follows 13-year-old Sam Cleary (Javon Walton) in his quest to locate the presumed dead titular superhero. After his neighbor Joe Smith (Sylvester Stallone) saves him from bullies, Sam zeroes in on the possibility that he may have found the man he’s looking for.

Story

Samaritan’s opening explains how many years ago, a pair of twin brothers in Granite city were feared and hated by the locals due to their superhuman abilities. One night, people barred their house and set it on fire which ended up killing their parents.

One of the brothers, consumed by rage and vengeance, became the villain Nemesis whereas the other took up the Samaritan alias, and helped those in need. Eventually, the two became fierce rivals and in a brutal face-off, died 25 years ago.

In the present day, we meet 13-year-old Sam Cleary who is a massive Samaritan fan and believes that the hero still lives. Meanwhile, he is good friends with his elderly garbage collector neighbor, Joe Smith.

Sam gets involved with a local gangster to earn money but ends up offending some of his lackeys. When the goons corner and try to beat him up, Joe comes to the rescue.

Surprised by the strength and agility of the old man, Sam is convinced that Joe is Samaritan in hiding and starts stalking him. Elsewhere, the gangster Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk) kickstarts an uprising against the rich and powerful by stealing Nemesis’ legendary weapon and taking up his mantle.

Joe’s secret is revealed to Cyrus who kidnaps Sam to attract his attention. Furious at the gangster, the hero gears up to fight back.

Performances

No matter how many times you watch Sylvester Stallone on screen, he is always at his best. The star is always praised for his action but what most people forget is that he’s a superb actor as well.

The 76-year-old veteran is the backbone of Samaritan. He captures the nuances of a troubled superhero dealing riddled with familial trauma with ease. Moreover, he is character is also a delight when he’s not so serious about things. The range which he showcases in the film is immense.

Javon Walton plays Sam and is a great compliment to Joe. However, taking his role in Euphoria into account, his performance in Samaritan is quite ordinary. This is probably due to how his character is written in the film.

He quite comfortably plays the determined kid who finds his idol and then encourages him to fight back. Furthermore, he matches Stallone in intense scenes quite admirably.

Pilou Asbæk as Cyrus is quite generic. His performance is comparable to numerous baddies in cinema history and doesn’t leave a mark. He’s quite literally there to act as the chaotic negative element and nothing more.

Positives

Samaritan is an effortless watch. It is quite straightforward in its approach and doesn’t try to overachieve. Stallone’s performance adds a much needed depth to the narrative which is fast paced and gritty.

The superhero element is quite an important aspect of the story however it never overshadows the characters and storytelling. The film could have easily taken the DC or Marvel route but director Julius Avery wisely keeps it distinct.

This adds to the refreshing combat which is mostly hand-to-hand fight sequences with minimal CGI. Sure, there are some effects involved to highlight Joe’s superhuman strength but they almost feel invisible.

Negatives

Unfortunately, there isn’t much holding the film together except Stallone. The plot has its moments but is mostly predictable. The antagonist is generic and doesn’t add any sense of urgency to the storytelling.

This forces Samaritan to become a hive of film clichés. A washed out hero rising from the darkness to protect the innocent is such an overused trope that it can suck the intrigue out of any film.

The plot twist about Joe’s actual identity can been seen from miles away. The makers thought it would be a shocker but it was probably the most expected thing ever. Also, the actual conclusion to the conflict between the superhero brothers is extremely underwhelming.

Lazy writing is what prevents the film from standing out which it had the potential to. Unfortunately, it reduces itself into a generic action-flick that will be forgotten in the dark corners of the internet.

Verdict

Samaritan is fun in bits but mostly feels outdated. However, it is worth a one-time watch if you’re craving a casual binge session or if you’re a Stallone fan.

Samaritan
Samaritan review: Sylvester Stallone carries mediocre superhero flick 1

Director: Julius Avery

Date Created: 2022-08-27 23:12

Editor's Rating:
2.5

Also Read: Samaritan ending explained: Is Joe really the superhero?