The wife and I don’t subscribe to Amazon Prime for the streaming service. We subscribe for the free delivery. As far as an entertainment outlet, Amazon Prime stinks. Actually, maybe it doesn’t stink. Maybe there are some decent TV shows and movies somewhere in that pile. Amazon Prime’s menu is so confusing and user-unfriendly, I wouldn’t know.
So, this week, Amazon Prime offered something that I thought might be worth watching, a movie called Samaritan, where Sylvester Stallone plays an aging superhero pulled back into the superhero game.
I love feeling like I might finally be getting bang for the Amazon buck. I love Stallone. I love the concept. It reminds me of Logan (2017), which has aged better than anything out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Yes, pedants, I know Logan is technically a Marvel product, but Fox, not Disney, produced it, so you know exactly what I mean, so get a life.)
Well, Samaritan stinks. It’s a total waste of time, of Stallone, of… and… well, it just stinks.
The mythology goes like this and is overexplained during the opening credits: Once upon a time, Samaritan and Nemesis were twin brothers. Both were human but possessed amazing strength and invulnerability. After the people of Granite City freaked, burnt down their home, and killed their parents, Samaritan continued to try to do good, but Nemesis went bad, and Nemesis and Samaritan both died while fighting one another.
Many years have passed. Granite City looks like your typical Democrat-run city. But a 13-year-old boy named Sam (Javon Walton) believes Samaritan is still alive. Why? No reason other than the plot demands a 13-year-old believe it to move the plot.
And wouldn’t you know it, the aging garbageman who lives in Sam’s housing project just happens to be Samaritan.
And wouldn’t you know it, this aging garbageman exposes his true identity while rescuing Sam from a local gang.
And wouldn’t you know it, Sam is mixed up with a local gang leader desperate to assume the role of the new Nemesis.
Nothing works in this movie.
Are you thinking Sam is raised by an overworked, earthy single mother trying her best? You would be correct.
The only service this Samaritan performs is as one more reminder that we should have appreciated Last Action Hero (1993) a whole lot more.
Oh, and there’s a Big Twist at the end, one I guessed during the opening credits.
The one plus? Samaritan isn’t woke. Granted, these days, that’s a big plus. But I’m just not willing to grade a movie on that much of a curve.
Samaritan’s dialogue is never believable, the relationships aren’t believable, the plot is full of holes and plot-driven coincidences, it tries too hard to be cute, there’s no sense of peril in the overly-CGI’d action, and why do the bad guys keep shooting at Samaritan when they know he’s invulnerable?
Star power means something to me. Star power forgives a lot. Charles Bronson never made a bad movie. Why? Because Charles Bronson’s in it, duh. And yes, that includes Caboblanco (1980), and I have the Blu-ray to prove it. Sylvester Stallone is a national treasure and in extraordinary physical shape for a man of any age, much less the 74 years he was when Samaritan was filmed in 2020. He’s a star’s star, but it’s just not enough.