Sylvester Stallone is on view this Friday August 26 in the film “The Samaritan”, his very first superhero role, to be discovered exclusively on the Amazon Prime Video platform.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT ?
Thirteen-year-old Sam Cleary suspects that his mysterious and lonely neighbor, Mr. Smith, is actually a legend in hiding. 25 years ago, Granite City’s super-powered vigilante, The Samaritan, was pronounced dead in a warehouse, after a tragic fight with his rival, Nemesis. Most people think The Samaritan perished in the flames, but some locals, like Sam, are hopeful he’s still alive. With the city on the brink of chaos and crimes on the rise, Sam makes it his mission to persuade his neighbor to come out of hiding and save the city from ruin.
The Samaritan by Julius Avery with Sylvester Stallone, Javon Walton, and Pilou Asbæk. Available on Amazon Prime Video.
WHO IS IT WITH?
Also credited as the film’s producer, Sylvester Stallone holds the main role of the film, that of an aging and lonely man, recognized by a young neighbor as the ancient superhero called the Samaritan.
The teenager is, meanwhile, interpreted by the young actor Javon Walton. Mainly known to the public for his appearances in the series Euphoriathe latter also appeared this year in the third season ofUmbrella Academy.
Finally, the great villain of the film is embodied by the Danish actor Pilou Asbaekrevealed by the political series Borgenand become one of the bad-guys in vogue in Hollywood since his performance in Euron Greyjoy in the last seasons of Game Of Thrones !
LAST ACTION SUPERHERO
Based on an original screenplay, not a comic book, The Samaritan marks the very first time Sylvester Stallone has played the role of a superhero. The interpreter of rocky and of Rambonow 76, was particularly invested in the project, due to the “Stallonian” nature of this atypical hero, an aging and lonely man haunted by past wounds.
Conceived as a superhero film anchored in a social reality, The Samaritan demystifies the aura of the vigilante, shown here as a man of admittedly Herculean strength, but filled with flaws that ultimately make him more human. In a way, The Samaritan is to superheroes what Last Action Hero was the hero of the action cinema of the 80s, without however reproducing the tone of self-mockery of the film ofArnold Schwarzenegger.
With a budget that brings it closer to a direct-to-video than a Marvel-style blockbuster, The Samaritan works more for its characters and the development of its mythology, than for its rather cheap action scenes. The relationship between the main hero and the young boy works well, but we can only regret that the villain fits in quite badly with the plot.
Yet embodied by a Pilou Asbæk in a tailor-made role, the film’s bad guy seems to be sacrificed by the script. Thus, we do not really understand what made the latter to admire Nemesis rather than the Samaritan, and in a certain sense to take the opposite path from that of the young protagonist. “The better the villain, the better the movie” said Hitchcock, and unfortunately this observation cannot be applied to the Samaritan.
With a reasonable duration of 1h39, The Samaritan offers a satisfying spectacle for fans of Sylvester Stallone, but also the regret that the feature film did not further deepen the darkness of his universe. At times, it almost feels like Stallone is back in the days of Judge Dredd and Demolition Man, some of his last hits before his career went into decline in the mid-’90s.
But as often with Stallone, the film offers a double level of reading between the plot and the personal life of the actor. As if the story of this missing superhero, but in no way forgotten by his admirers, was finally his.