The advertisement for the programme “Samaritan” on Prime Video begins with the phrase “25 years ago, the world’s greatest superhero vanished.”
The film begins with a narration by Sam (Javon “Wanna” Walton), in which he gives us the CliffsNotes version of how he managed to pull it off. Nemesis, Samaritan’s twin brother, was Samaritan’s adversary. Nemesis’s name came from the Greek word for “enemy.”
Sam informs us that when they were younger “they were freakishly strong,” and the citizens of Granite City were scared of them because they were unable to manage their might.
Therefore, the residents locked their family inside of their home and set it on fire before fleeing the scene. The fire took the lives of their parents, but the mutant twins managed to escape unscathed.
Nemesis’ hate of Samaritan, which is reasonable, turned him into a villain even though Samaritan grew up fighting crime in the same city whose residents had roasted to death parents. Since his brother was now the antagonist, Nemesis channelled all of his resentment toward his sibling into the creation of a monstrous hammer, which became Samaritan’s Kryptonite and…
No, I’m not making any of this up, and yes, I’m completely sober while I write this critique. I haven’t even gotten to the point where both brothers end up dying after their sibling rivalry is interrupted by an explosion at a power plant.
The opening credits contain each and every one of these pieces of information. I have to give Walton props for his impassioned reading of these elements from Bragi F. Schut’s screenplay, and I also have to give props to the animators who bring it to life.
The loud and annoying tune that Kevin Kiner and Jed Kurzel composed is almost enough to make you believe that this poorly written origin narrative deserves to be taken seriously. Although we are informed that both of these figures pass away, bringing the power grid down with them, Sam tells us that he thinks Samaritan is still alive.
What gives Sam reason to think this? The film does not provide any answer, nor does it dive into the conspiracy theory that is being discussed in the book “Samaritan Lives,” written by Albert Casler (Martin Starr), who is played in the film by Martin Starr.
Sam keeps coming to Albert every time he sees an old person demonstrate even an ounce of strength, only to have his theory repeatedly debunked by the evidence. Sam decorates dumpsters with spray paint and sketches journals full of Samaritan’s exploits.
Even his closet door has one of those walls that you see in movies about conspiracies, but he is on his door to the closet. This is a man who is 40 years old but has the mind of a 13-year-old. He is paranoid.
The very existence of Granite City is even more ludicrous. It resembles the descriptions of places that Fox News employs to terrify its viewers because it is covered in graffiti and has vacant lots and lanes throughout. You almost expect Austin Butler’s portrayal of Elvis in the film directed by Baz Luhrmann to make his way from pay-per-view to Amazon so that he can sing “In the Ghetto” while walking down the street.
Additionally, this location is riddled with criminality, as evidenced by the fact that Sam committed petty stealing alongside youngsters who work for the nefarious Cyrus (Pilou Asbaek). One of these young people has brightly coloured braids and is covered in tattoos all over their body.
Because of the extreme nature of his villainy, he seems to have been transported from the movie “Robocop 2.” Sam feels the same way about Samaritan as Cyrus feels about Nemesis; in fact, he feels the same way about Nemesis to the point where he wants to imitate Cyrus and destroy Granite City.
Concerning the Good Samaritan, Sam’s next-door neighbour Joe, who works as a garbage man, might be the genuine article. You can tell he’s not your average garbage collector just by looking at him since he’s played by a bearded version of Sylvester Stallone.
When Joe beats up the youths who previously turned against Sam, he raises eyebrows and raises suspicions about his true motives. When Sam breaks into Joe’s house, he discovers a scrapbook that is full of newspaper clippings about Samaritans.
This raises even more questions about Joe’s loyalty to Samaritan. Then, of course, there is the scene in the trailer in which Joe’s body miraculously heals itself after being mangled beyond recognition by a car driven by the people he just assaulted.
The script for “Samaritan” is riddled with so many flaws that the film needs to move much more quickly than it currently does to keep up with them all. Even though there is a lot of blood and gore on the screen, the director Julius Avery’s work is so repetitive that it leads the audience’s attention to stray back to asking questions.
If Samaritan was famous all over the world and everyone was aware of his abilities, then why are so many people trying to hurt him by firing at him or punching him in the face?
And what exactly is the problem with those grenades that zap power that the evil guys use? It would appear that they are capable of producing enormous explosions; but, in one scenario, a character detonates one without throwing it, and the explosion does not kill him. The film is so preoccupied with itself that it can’t even keep track of its own arsenal correctly.
In the movie “Judge Dredd,” which was released in 1992, Sylvester Stallone portrayed a superhero with similar powers. Now, contrary to the opinions of many other people,
I did not believe that movie was quite as horrible as they did. Stallone’s dedication to playing the character in a completely humourless manner, as well as his continuous yelling of “I am the LAW!,” provided me with some comic relief, and I thought it amusing.
In addition, “Judge Dredd” was respectful enough to earn an R rating. The film “Samaritan” is extremely bloodless despite its high level of violence, which is how it managed to acquire the cynically imposed rating of PG-13. People are pummelled by a man whose strength should cause them to explode, shot with automatic weapons, and beaten in the head with gigantic sledgehammers.
There is also a scene in which Sylvester Stallone escapes from a burning and collapsing building, a scene in which he previously appeared in the far more entertaining “Expendables 3.”
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I’m going to keep writing that the vast majority of these movies that are released directly on streaming services are not intended to be watched with any sort of attention being paid to them until I’m shown otherwise.
Because there are no characters that are interesting to care about and no follow-throughs on the attempts at world-building that this movie makes, I am a stupid fool for trying to follow this movie.
It even features a twist that you should be able to anticipate before the opening credits, yet the movie doesn’t even accomplish anything useful or fascinating with that potentially interesting development in the story. To paraphrase Tina Turner, “Samaritan” demonstrates that we do not require the introduction of a new superhero.