ENTERTAINMENT

REVIEW: Stallone’s ‘Samaritan’ stops short of superhero movie success

Aug 26, 2022, 9:12 PM | Updated: 9:13 pm
Javon "Wanna" Walton (left) as Sam Cleary and Sylvester Stallone (right) as Joe Smith in SAMARITAN,...
Javon "Wanna" Walton (left) as Sam Cleary and Sylvester Stallone (right) as Joe Smith in SAMARITAN, directed by Julius Avery. Credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2022 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.
(right)

SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to Sylvester Stallone movies, it’s seems like it’s either a big hit or a big miss.  For every Rocky, First Blood, Tango & Cash or Oscar, there’s an Over the Top, Cobra, The Specialist, or Stop, Or My Mom Will Shoot.

Stallone’s latest, a superhero-ish tale called Samaritan that’s releasing straight to streaming on Prime Video from Amazon, is definitely more of a big miss.

THE STORY

Thirteen-year-old Sam Cleary (Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton) lives with his widowed mother (Dascha Polanco) in the rust-belt-reminiscent-yet-fictional Granite City, where the two struggle to make ends meet amid an ongoing economic crisis.

Sam is obsessed with Samaritan, a super-powered vigilante who most people believe died twenty-five years earlier after a fiery warehouse battle with his super-powered brother and rival, Nemesis.  But Sam suspects that Samaritan might actually still be alive.

As Sam struggles to decide if he should accept an offer to join a gang of Nemesis supporters led by Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk) for the cash it would bring in to help his mother, he becomes more and more convinced that his mysterious and reclusive neighbor Mr. Smith (Sylvester Stallone) is more than just the old garbage man he appears to be.

With crime on the rise and the city on the brink of chaos, Sam makes it his mission to coax his neighbor out of hiding to save the city from ruin.

THINGS I LIKED

Samaritan wasn’t all bad.  In fact, Stallone actually made a believable super-powered individual, and also a believable old man.  This role is right in his wheelhouse and the action and stunts with which he was involved were very good.  The idea to make Granite City look like a run-down, rust belt-type city helped add to the feeling of impending chaos that the movie was trying to create.

I also liked that the story and characters were original.  Samaritan was written as a screenplay by , though he allowed it to be adapted into graphic novels from Mythos Comics before the movie was ever made.  The movie followed several well-worn comic book tropes, but I thought more of them worked than didn’t.

WARNINGS

Samaritan is rated PG-13 for .  It’s run time is 1 hour 42 minutes.  There are scenes of kids in peril, but oddly enough you don’t ever feel like the kid is in actual peril.  There are a couple of plot twists screenwriter Schut and director try and land but will be fairly obvious to experienced movie watchers well before they are revealed.

FINAL THOUGHTS

One of my main thoughts while watching Samaritan was that this felt like a throwback to movies that were made especially for boys. Strong men, heroic action, cool fights, and (intentional or not) the women in the movie have little to do with or impact on the plot or resolution of the movie.  For some viewers, that will definitely be a turn-off.

While I applaud the idea of a superhero movie that’s not from the mainstream Marvel or DC Comics brand, I just wish Samaritan had been better.  It never bothers to explain how Stallone got his powers or even really how they work.  In the end, it doesn’t really matter and you don’t really care that much, which is a bad sign.  Let’s just say it’s a good thing this is direct-to-streaming because you’re not out any extra money for having watched it.

Andy’s final rating:  ONE & A HALF out of FOUR stars

WHERE TO WATCH

Samaritan is a streaming exclusive free to subscribers on Prime Video.


Hopefully you & your family found this review helpful! Andy Farnsworth does a weekly “What To Watch” segment for KSL 5 TV in Salt Lake City and also hosts the Fan Effect podcast for KSL NewsRadio. Check out his other in-depth reviews of movies and streaming TV series on KSLTV.com.

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REVIEW: Stallone’s ‘Samaritan’ stops short of superhero movie success