“A young boy learns that a superhero who was thought to have gone missing after an epic battle twenty years ago may in fact still be around.”

Director: Julius Avery
Writer: Bragi F. Schut
Staring: Sylvester Stallone, Javon “Wanna” Walton, Pilou Asbæk
Rating: PG-13
Release Date: August 26, 2022

Samaritan (2022) takes place in the decrepit, grey and depressing Granite City. In a rundown area lives a 13 year old Sam Cleary (Javon “Wanna” Walton), an overeager teen who is obsessed with a former hero of the city called the Samaritan. The masked man was a savor of the people and his greatest foe was his brother Nemesis. The antithesis of goodness wanted to stoke carnage of chaos on behalf of those who are unseen and unheard in Granite City.

Much to Sam’s delight, he thinks he has found the long thought dead Samaritan. In fact, he is his next door neighbor. Just your friendly neighborhood garbage man. Joe (Sylvester Stallone) is living a quiet life taking out the city’s trash until Sam enters his life. The two strike up a father and son relationship and the truth about Joe’s past slowly starts to funnel out.

Joe rediscovering who he was in an older life comes at a perfect time because Granite City is about to burst at the seems. An evil gang leader by the name of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk) has hatched a master plan to give the power back to the voiceless. He steals a priced old powerful weapon as well as crazy police technology to wreak carnage and create a storm of supporters. Granite City is brittle and can crumble at any moment so Joe and Sam must find a way to prevent the shattering of peace of normalcy.

Stallone loves to be the hero. In Samaritan, he gets to play the grizzled elder holding secrets in his heart until he must burst forward and save the day because he is the only one to do it. Unlike the grizzled version of John Rambo, Joe is not a gun touting mad man crazed on revenge. Joe is living with guilt. Joe is the uncommon hidden superhero who wants to remain in solitude. He is only brought back into the light when Sam breaks into his fortress of solitude.

Okay, so that’s the plot, but is Samaritan actually any good?

The answer is a simple, no.

For a super hero movie, The Samaritan‘s action sequences are rather boring. They bad guys are incredibly stupid when it comes to approaching a man that they know is dangerous. Sure charge him with knives and guns when you know he is almost indestructable.

There are also a bunch of continuity issues with The Samaritan. These special bombs that Cyrus stole are supposed to put a city into a blackout, but at the end of the movie the lights are on. Also what physical damage do these bombs cause? Sometimes it is just the black goo, but sometimes it is a massive explosion?

The most surprising part of this movie is how good the aged down Sylvester Stallone looked. They gave him the beard that he had during Rocky IV (1985).

Was a choice of director Julius Avery…or was it Stallone? I am wiling to bet it was Stallone. This movie was Avery’s first since Overlord (2018), which I actually enjoyed quite a bit as an experiment in horror and action.

Samaritan is a C-movie version of the great B-movie satire Robocop (1987). It is toned down, simpler, and less violent. The Samaritan also reminded me a bit of Stallone’s portrayal (or attempt) of Judge Dredd (1995). The idea of a dystopian future where a quiet badass has to assert himself in ways he doesn’t expect.

I wish the best for Sylvester Stallone. He is a man that always bets on himself, and that is for better or for worse. He has been instilled with that professional stubbornness since he got Rocky (1976). He won Best Picture in his foot the the ground moment. How can he not think that he can do anything?

This is Stallone’s sixth decade working and he still sees himself as the man in spotlight. He plays the titular role and hero in the Samaritan, and while the movie doesn’t necessarily work (on many levels), Stallone still has the “je ne sais quoi.” Samaritan is by no means a well-made movie, but it is Stallone trying to stay relevant and we should all be happy that is the case.

P.S. – Stallone, don’t fight too hard on the Rocky front. I do agree with the original script that the character dying in Creed 3 (2023) would be best for that movie’s story. It would not kill you Stallone.

P.S.S. The Expendables 4 (2023) is coming out next season and I can not wait. I do not care if the movie will be bed. Make it rated R. Make it vulgar and bring me the nostalgia throat punch I want. I want to be gasping for breath.

STANKO RATING: D (1.5/5 Stars)

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