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'Samaritan' Review: Even a Superhero Sylvester Stallone Can't Save This Film
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'Samaritan' Review: Even a Superhero Sylvester Stallone Can't Save This Film

'Samaritan' stars Sylvester Stallone and Javon 'Wanna' Walton as an unlikely duo.

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Celebrities
3 min read

'Samaritan' Review: Even a Superhero Sylvester Stallone Can't Save This Film

In Samaritan, a Hollywood legend, Sylvester Stallone plays a role that seems sketched out for him from the get go. Samaritan starts with a prologue: two brothers suffer a tragedy and choose two different paths; of good (Samaritan) and of ‘evil’ (Nemesis).

The perfect fodder for an emotional journey is wrapped up in the first few minutes for a story that lacks any depth.

Sylvester Stallone in Samaritan.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

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25 years after Samaritan and Nemesis are presumed dead, a 13-year-old Sam Cleary (Javon 'Wanna' Walton) believes Samaritan is alive and in hiding and he makes it a mission to find him. So far, the premise is strong and if you’ve seen the trailer, it’s pretty easy to piece together that Stallone’s character Joe is the hero Sam’s looking for.

Sylvester Stallone in Samaritan.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

A promising story and perfectly cast actors are buried in heaps and heaps of tropes and cliches; some picked straight from other superhero films and their spin-offs.

Anyone who has ever watched a superhero film will also piece together the ‘big twist’ pretty soon, taking any spirit out of a bland film.

While Stallone is the perfect person to play a hero-in-hiding, who is past his glory days but still pretty adept at throwing punches (he marches across scenes invoking a nostalgia for his Rocky and Rambo days). But there is little else to his character.

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His relationship with Sam is a ‘matter of fact’ addition to a film that seems to be going nowhere. Both actors, Stallone and Walton, have proved their merit before acting with diverse casts but their skill is wasted in Julius Avery’s film.

A still from Samaritan.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

The antagonist that Nemesis could’ve been is replaced by Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), who incidentally idolises the former.

However, a potential indictment of the housing crisis (Dascha Polanco plays Sam's single mother, a working nurse, struggling to pay rent), policing in underprivileged areas, and the divide between the rich and the poor, are all lost in creating gimmicky antagonists whose only motivation to cause destruction is ‘why not?’

The biggest issue with Samaritan is that it doesn’t anchor itself to much, except Stallone and even the Oscar-nominated actor isn’t enough to save this film.

While the cinematographer David Ungaro frames some gorgeous shots, production designers Greg Berry and Christopher Glass have created a fictional Granite City which feels like Gotham was never fully realised.

A still from Samaritan.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

It has all the makings of a superhero film but doesn’t have the conviction to build on its conflict: it rarely goes beyond the good vs evil story. But with the dearth of superhero content, from Marvel studios to the pragmatic The Boys, a black-and-white story is not enough to cut it.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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