Sylvester Stallone as an aging hero in ‘Samaritan’ – Film Review
With all the superhero options to consider, filmmakers are looking for a unique opportunity that will allow them to soar above the rest.
Samaritan was first seen in the lesser-known Mythos Comics graphic novels and provides audiences with an aging hero. He has a lot of luggage to carry. Director Julius Avery (Suzerain) dive into this dystopian world where people need a savior to rescue them from their hopeless existence and crime-riddled city streets.
Before the fall of the city’s justice system, Samaritan and his twin brother, Nemesis, had filled the roles of heroes and villains. Until one fateful night when they fought their last battle, both would have perished in an industrial explosion. This led to the rise of new crime lords and an underworld speculating whether the superpowered siblings had died years earlier.
Meanwhile, Sam Cleary (Javon Walton) is a teenager who does everything he can to survive in one of the poorest neighborhoods of the community with his mother. As he tries to make his way through the streets, one thing that gives him hope is his belief that Samaritan still lives.
Across the street in one of his other depressing apartment complexes lives a garbage collector, Joe Smith (Sylvester Stallone). After a chance encounter with the lowly official, Sam begins to believe he might just be the hero he’s been looking for throughout his young life.
As he does everything he can to investigate Joe and his hermit lifestyle, a new crime syndicate rises to power under the leadership of the psychopath Cyrus. (Pilou Asbaek). His crew has been terrorizing their part of town for years. Yet they develop a newfound confidence when they come into possession of Nemesis’ specially forged hammer.
His gang unleashes a new wave of crime across the city. Sam must determine if his speculations about Joe are true in time to save his mother and his fellow townspeople.
What’s evident from the start of this movie is that Mythos Comics writer Bragi F. Schut has developed a new character worth considering. In this crowded world of superheroes, Sylvester Stallone offers an intriguing offering as an aging crime fighter.
Especially with Julius Avery’s vision which seems to take place in an 80s movie setting reminiscent of Robotcop. Yet despite its promising setup, something happened along the way to deliver this story. Even with a timely twist that should make it a potential franchise, Samaritan never reaches its potential.
Some might say it pales in comparison to all the Marvel and DC options in theaters right now. If there’s one thing this production has going for it, it’s the casting of Sylvester Stallone. As an aging action hero, he personified that character on many levels. Except they took too long to get him to show his true potential and the whole third act feels like a cheesy 80s superhero TV series. Then to incorporate the dark rainy backdrop of that genre , the film fails to compare to the rich atmosphere of daredevil. Suppose they pulled from James Mangold’s manual and delivered something reminiscent Logan. If so, they may have reached new heights with this character.
In the end, those looking for an alternative to the current batch of superhumans, you could do worse than Samaritan. Still, it’s really a story of a concept that didn’t live up to its potential, and most viewers may wonder what it could have been.
Who is the real superhero?
“And there is no salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12
We all want a savior at different times in our lives. Regardless of your religious affiliation, outside help is needed during times of great struggle. It’s an underlying theme of The Samaritan. This story shows how we all need something outside of ourselves to save us from this world. This is true of the human condition; the figure of the savior plays a part in the smallest to the greatest needs of our lives. In difficult times, who do you turn to for help?
…awaiting the blessed hope and appearing glory of our great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus – Titus 2:13
Article provided to 96five with thanks to City Bible Forum.
All images: Movie Advertisement
About the Author: Russ Matthews is a film critic at City Bible Forum and Reel Dialogue. He has a passion for cinema and sparks witty conversations.