“Samaritan” Movie Review

Story posted September 2, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by Evan Smith.

Superhero movies have been done to death at this point and “Samaritan” manages to be the least inspiring film released to the mainstream in the genre’s recent push.

Amazon Prime Video holds a stereotype as the most generic streaming service and with this film, they did themselves no favors in staving off that criticism.

The movie is by no means bad, but there is simply no stakes for viewers to get invested in. The film treats itself like a return from a superhero everyone watching should know from the past, yet the only backstory given is a few minute comic-style opening that failed to portray the importance of Samaritan. It feels as though the writers had an arrogance to their work.

Sylvester Stallone stars as Joe Smith - the hero Samaritan - alongside Javon Walton as Sam, the kid who discovers his identity. While they both put in good performances, they do nothing to pull this film out of the depth of genre fodder.

The idea itself is novel, even without the execution. Being a superhero movie not bound by the confines of Marvel or DC means that the universe is completely unique. The setting of Granite City is reminiscent of Gotham, with Joe being in the slums as opposed to living the Bruce Wayne lifestyle.

The two main super-characters, Samaritan and Nemesis were believed to have died after a battle occurring at a power plant. However, conspiracies said that Samaritan lived, but no one could find his identity.

Sam finds out and hunts down Joe who denies the truth until hearing Sam’s plea. This is a plot that has been played out countless times and is not interesting in this format either.

The plot of the movie is the same story you would get from any related film, with no semblance of effort to differentiate itself from the crowd. Throughout the whole film, one minor plot twist that will not be spoiled is the only beat separating the film from total, boring predictability.

The action in the movie is still entertaining, as Sylvester Stallone still has the ability to put on great fight scenes, but this is a minimum standard for a superhero film, not a reason to watch.

The scenes are surprisingly gory and intense, looking like they belong in a rated-R film rather than the encased PG-13 package. The issue with these action scenes is the lack of stakes, as Samaritan is shown to be an unbeatable hero with no actual threat of being harmed.

The writing is where the movie completely goes south. The film never truly introduces you to the new superhero character enough to get invested; and many of the side characters feel shallow with no real depth.
As for the primary villain, Cyrus, he is simply bland. All of his moments are forgettable, and his motivations are flat. Throughout the runtime he goes on multiple monologues that add little to the plot or entertainment value.

Samaritan is simply another cog in the superhero film machine, with little value to watch among a sea of better titles.

Rating: 1/5


Evan Smith is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ers5828@psu.edu.