Superhero movies are everywhere these days, but it’s rare to find one based on an original concept. Samaritan is just that – although writer Bragi F Schut has since adapted it into a series of graphic novels – and with Sylvester Stallone in the lead role, it seemed like a promising combo.
However, from the moment we are told that Granite City – the fictional setting of the film – is a place where crime is on the rise and there is a class divide (sound familiar?), it becomes clear that the concept might be original, but the execution anything but.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with paying homage (if you want to be nice) to other classic superhero outings, but the story you’re telling has to be engaging enough to ignore the familiarity.
Although he sparked some life in his final act, Samaritan is largely a joyless march.
Watch Samaritan on Prime Video
Not the best indication when the title sequence is one of the film’s highlights. The background we need is given in a comic book-inspired animated sequence, as we’re told that Samaritan and Nemesis became arch-enemies, leading to a fatal fight two decades earlier that resulted in their deaths.
Sam, 13 years old (The Umbrella Academy‘s Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton) doesn’t believe the hero of Granite City is as dead as everyone else thinks. In fact, he comes to suspect that his reclusive neighbor Joe Smith (Stallone) is a Samaritan and is the town’s only hope against a violent uprising, led by mobster Cyrus (game of thrones‘ Pilou Asbæk).
The setup is promising, but Samaritan so don’t seem to know what to do with it. Lip service is given to potentially interesting ideas (such as Samaritan’s power waning when he doesn’t care anymore), only for the movie to end as a generic town uprising led by a bland villain. without a clear goal.
What doesn’t help is that it all culminates in a final act that supposedly contains a game-changing reveal – if you haven’t been paying attention. The clunky script lays out what’s to come so far in advance that when it finally arrives, it’ll be greeted with a collective shrug.
The inevitable showdown between Samaritan, Cyrus, and his many henchmen provides at least some inventive and fun action, but it’s too little to save the movie. For something set in a gritty world, the climax is still tame, adding to the muddled tone throughout. Is it a blockbuster comedy or a gritty superhero tale? We still don’t know.
Stallone and Walton try to bring Samaritan to life and they have fun scenes together. However, they can’t do much when asked to deliver lines like, “People have to get rid of their own problems or their problems get rid of them.”
It’s always welcome when someone tries to do something new with a well-established genre like superheroes. You’ll end up wishing that Samaritan went all out and went its own way, rather than trying to evoke everything that came before.
How to watch Samaritan online at home
If you still want to try superhero Sly, Samaritan is available to watch now on Prime Video for all subscribers.
Not a subscriber ? it will cost £7.99 per monthWhere £79 for a full year, to sign up for Amazon Prime to give you access to everything Prime Video has to offer. It’s worth noting that there’s a price increase from 15 September in the UK, with subscription fees rising to £8.99 per month and £95 per year.
Better news, if you’ve never subscribed to Amazon Prime or haven’t signed up in the past 12 months, you can get a 30-day free trial, which will give you all the benefits of Prime for the duration of the test. , including Prime Video.
Samaritan is available to watch now on Prime Video.