Original title:Samaritan
Director:Julius Avery
Release:Prime Video
Running time:101 minutes
Release date:26 august 2022
Thirteen-year-old Sam Cleary suspects that his mysterious and reclusive neighbor, Mr. Smith, is actually a legend hiding in plain sight. Twenty-five years ago, Granite City's super-powered vigilante, The Samaritan, was pronounced dead in a warehouse after a tragic battle with his rival, Nemesis. Most people believe that The Samaritan perished in the flames, but some residents, like Sam, are hopeful that he is still alive. As the city teeters on the brink of chaos and crime escalates, Sam makes it his mission to persuade his neighbor to come out of hiding and save the city from ruin.

Mulder's Review

In just two films, director Julius Avery has managed to make a name for himself. Whether it is Son of a gun (2014) or Overlord (2018), these first two films revealed an audacious director capable of appropriating a genre to propose a version of it over-energized and of an unfailing efficiency. His third film allows him to approach, after the thriller and the horror film, the theme of superheroes and far from proposing a story based only on spectacular special effects, it is the theme of the aging hero and what is really the essence of this one that is at the center of the story. Bragi F. Schut's script seems to find its essence in films like Unbreakable (2000), Kick Ass (2010) but also in comic books like The Dark Knight Returns (1986) by Frank Miller. 

After playing in two other films of superheroes, Judge Dredd (1995) and in the film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Stakar Ogord (2017), Sylvester Stallone again plays a superhero. After a retro cartoon introduction featuring the Samaritan's last stand before his demise, the film takes place a few years later and we discover young Sam Cleary (Javon Walton) who believes that his lonely and aging neighbor Mr. Smith (Sylvester Stallone) is The Samaritan. While many believe the Samaritan, he perished in a warehouse fire in a spectacular battle with his rival Nemesis.  As a new gang plagues the city and seems to have everyone in its grip, including corrupt law enforcement, Sam tries to persuade his neighbor to come out of hiding and save the city from falling into chaos.

Inspired by the comic book series published by Mythos Comics and created by Bragi F. Schut, Marc Olivent, Renzo Podesta, Julius Avery's film does not tend to stand up to Marvel Studios' blockbusters whose special effects have revolutionized the current Hollywood industry but rather towards a minimalist film in which an aging superhero tends to have a normal life and no longer be a peacekeeper in a city plagued by pervasive violence. However, recent events will push him to become the city's superhero again and to take on a whole gang by himself. Like Superman or the character David Dunn (Bruce Willis) in Unbreakable, Joe Smith also has a weakness that forces him to have a different diet and especially to try to remain unnoticed.

The action scenes are very spectacular, especially in the last act, and show us the skill of the script by Bragi F. Schut and the inspired direction of Julius Avery. In the same way, despite his 76 years, Sylvester Stallone proves to be excellent again and after having interpreted iconic characters such as John Rambo, Rocky Balboa, Barney Ross finds here again a character that will become just as cult. The pleasure that this actor takes to break his image and to bring a real psychological thickness to his character certainly makes Samaritan a film that can only become one of the must-see superhero films next to the Marvel and DC comics universes.

If you look hard enough, the only criticism to make of this film is that it is not being released in theaters, as it would benefit from being discovered on a large cinema screen and then on the Prime video streaming platform. In these difficult times, it's good to immerse yourself in an excellent movie and forget the bad news arriving in a continuous flow on our news channels for almost two hours.

Directed by Julius Avery
Written by Bragi F. Schut
Based on Samaritan by Bragi F. Schut, Marc Olivent, Renzo Podesta
Produced by Sylvester Stallone, Braden Aftergood
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Javon Walton, Pilou Asbæk, Dascha Polanco, Moises Arias
Cinematography : David Ungaro
Edited by Matt Evans, Pete Beaudreau
Music by Jed Kurzel, Kevin Kiner
Production companies : Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Balboa Productions
Distributed by United Artists Releasing, Amazon Studios
Release date : August 26, 2022 (United States, France)
Running time : 101 minutes

Seen on August 18, 2022 (Prime video press link)

Mulder's Mark: