Sylvester Stallone has dabbled briefly in the world of superhero movies, a fleeting appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and a scene-stealing turn as the voice of King Shark in Suicide Squad being his only experience in the genre. With his latest film, Samaritan, Stallone finds himself in a more stripped down and grittier setting than his previous experience within the genre.

Sam Cleary (Javon Walton) suspects that his mysterious and reclusive neighbour Mr Smith (Sylvester Stallone) is actually a legend hiding in plain sight. Twenty-five 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.
Remember that era of superhero movies where many of them were as throwaway as they come? Some would argue we are in that era now but that's a discussion for another day. The point here is that Samaritan is very much a film that would right into that era, it's incredibly breezy in its storytelling and faces a minor identity crisis in what kind of film it actually wants to be. 

It opens with with a narration of events twenty-five years prior to the film's starting point, serious in tone and making the audience think they're in for a really gritty entry into the genre. While the film does possess some grittier moments, it slips into a bit of a childish tone when Sam meets Mr Smith, some of the jokes not landing at all as Stallone performs the role of mentor yet again. It's the writing that lets the film down, short in terms of world-building and lacking character development.
It doesn't stop Samaritan from being watchable mind, Sylvester Stallone spear-heading the film with a performance with which he's clearly having a great time. To get into it would be a spoiler but there's a moment in the film that actually took me by surprise and led to Stallone unleashing a wave of violence like only he could. Pilou Asbæk is another who makes this an entertaining film at the very least, unhinged as we've seen him before and making for a villain that keeps your eyes in the screen. 

It'll neither set the world alight or drive people to boredom however, Samaritan seems happy to settle for mediocrity when it had the potential to be so much more than that.

Verdict: ½


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