Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Sylvester Stallone is an Academy Award-nominated actor and writer. He’s made some very very good films throughout his career – Rocky, First Blood, Cop Land, Creed – but it’s probably safe to say that Samaritan, which hits Amazon Prime Video on August 26, won’t be joining that list. Judging by the ridiculous first trailer, the new flick is a far stretch from the film legend’s best work.
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While it appears Stallone’s latest aims for M. Night Shyamalan Unbreakable-territory, sadly, the trailer falls short in the talent, originality and inspiration stakes. At the same time, it also somehow manages to appear like a nasty rip-off of the D.C. Comics superhero Steel, a character with his own chapter in the annals of cinema thanks to an atrocious 1997 Shaquille O’Neal vehicle of the same name. As a strong start, the Samaritan trailer boasts stereotypes right out of the gate, depicting Stallone’s rescue of a poor white boy who’s being beaten up by a trio of black and Latino kids. From there, things get increasingly dramatic/silly.
According to the Samaritan synopsis from MGM, “Thirteen-year-old Sam Cleary (Javon “Wanna” Walton) suspects that his mysterious and reclusive neighbour Mr Smith (Sylvester Stallone) is actually a legend hiding in plain sight. Twenty years ago, Granite City’s super-powered vigilante, Samaritan, was reported dead after a fiery warehouse battle with his rival, Nemesis. Most believe Samaritan perished in the fire, but some in the city, like Sam, have hope that he is still alive. With crime on the rise and the city on the brink of chaos, Sam makes it his mission to coax his neighbour out of hiding to save the city from ruin.”
Sounds about as predictable as the trailer makes it look, doesn’t it? Obviously, Samaritan has yet to be released, so while we reserve full judgement until it officially hits the small screen, we aren’t confident about this one, and perhaps, neither is Sly. In what can only be described as the most telling indictment of Samaritan’s quality, the trailer sees the 76-year-old action star utter the unfortunate phrase, “Things start to fall apart when you stop caring. And I stopped caring a long time ago.” Sadly, it shows.
Then again, maybe we should look on the bright side; at least while he was making this Stallone was too busy to pump out another rubbish Expendables sequel. Samaritan streams from August 26 on Prime Video.