In “The Samaritan”, broadcast on Amazon Prime Video since August 26, the indestructible Sylvester Stallone dons the costume of a superhero that everyone believes is dead. The actor who once played the unforgettable Rocky Balboa or even Rambo proves that at 76, he is not ready to put the action in the closet in favor of more emotional films. Right or wrong?
In Granite City, everyone mourns the passing of the Samaritan, a vigilante superhero who faced off against his evil twin Nemesis 25 years ago. It was after a bloody duel that the two brothers died in the flames. Anyway, everyone thinks… Sam (Javon Walton), he does not believe a word of this version of the facts and is convinced that the vigilante is alive. Obsessed with The Samaritan, the 13-year-old boy investigates and suspects his strange neighbor Joe Smith (Sylvester Stallone), a taciturn man, to be the missing superhero.
As Granite City descends into violence and riots, Sam sets out to convince Joe to return to service in order to save the metropolis from chaos, and at the same time confront Cyrus (Pilou Asbaek), the leader of a criminal gang obsessed with Nemesis and his powers.
In recent years, we’ve been inundated with Marvel Universes and other DC Comics. An overdose of superhero films written and directed with varying degrees of success. It is therefore difficult for a film to stand out among the mass of films recounting the endless battles of good against evil in capes and masks. So did we really need yet another superhero story? Not sure, unless said film really brings added value. Unfortunately, “The Samaritan” struggles to do well despite the presence of a Sylvester Stallone approaching his eighties with panache.
© Amazon Studios
Australian’s 3rd feature Julius Avery, director of “Son of a Gun” in 2014, “The Samaritan” would have something to do, but misses the mark. The biggest problem is that the film has good basic ingredients, but botches the recipe. The result is without much flavor and sorely lacking in relief. A superhero who plays it incognito by repairing old electronic devices, a nice kid from the suburbs who is fearless against a background of social misery, the film written by Bragi F.Schut could have explored another facet of the superhero genre by investing in more emotional ground, by digging into the characters and their motives and by deepening the relationship of the boy and the retired hero.
Instead, little is known about the Samaritan’s background, other than some vague information provided in an opening scene made up of wonky animation footage, we barely understand the villain’s motivations. interpreted by Pilou Asbaekalso seen in “Borgen” and “Game of Thrones”, and we feel little empathy for all the characters because we don’t know a little more about them.
Even though the tandem formed by Javon Walton, a rising young Hollywood star who has grown in popularity since his appearances in series such as “Euphoria” and “Umbrella Academy”, and Stallone seemed promising, “The Samaritan” always remains on the surface without any bias, as if he didn’t quite want to be a drama movie, or quite want to be a superhero movie, swinging between the two genres without ever choosing sides. But by refusing to be more radical in its choices, by not exploring the emotional or social aspect of the plot, the narrative loses along the way everything that could have made it a story worthy of interest, the few action scenes won’t even be enough to entertain.
Available today on Amazon Prime.
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