Take a little Hancock, throw in a pinch of Shazam!, and top it off with a little bit of the shitty Last Action Hero, and you get the mess that is Sylvester Stallone’s latest, Samaritan.
Stallone plays a former, in-hiding superhero—now a garbageman residing in a rundown apartment—living under the alias of Joe Smith. (Yes, that’s the alias he chose, and it’s not played for laughs.) Sam (Javon “Wanna” Walton) is a local bullied kid who is obsessed with Samaritan, a superhero who allegedly died years ago in a battle with his twin brother, Nemesis. Sam—because there would be no movie if he didn’t—discovers Joe Smith and believes him to be the great Samaritan in hiding.
Joe probably should’ve left town after the battle with his brother if he wanted to remain incognito, but, again, no movie would exist if such things were to have happened. Anyway, Joe saves Sam from some local bullies, and then Joe survives getting hit by a car in a way that proves he is not a normal human being.
There’s a build up to a good-vs.-evil showdown when Joe will face off with Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a Nemesis enthusiast and local crime lord who looks like a mix of Michael Shannon and Kiefer Sutherland in The Lost Boys.
Director Julius Avery (Overlord) sucks all of the life out of the well-worn premise to render the film not only routine, but dull. Stallone works hard to make it all worth watching, but the film is a tonal mess. Is it a comedy? Certainly not, because I didn’t laugh once. Is it a buddy movie? Nah, because Stallone has no chemistry with the kid. Is it an action movie? Nope to that as well, due to all of the dull stretches.
The lack of humor (or humor that actually lands) makes what should have been an uplifting story a real slog. The smiles are infrequent, and everybody, especially Stallone, just groans a lot. You’ll be groaning, too.
Samaritan is now streaming on Amazon Prime.