‘SAMARITAN’ ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
You’ve seen men wear a T-shirt or a cap that says “Old Guys Rule” and yet none of them rarely have the physical prowess of Liam Neeson, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone.
“Old Guys Rule” might as well be the title of Stallone’s aging superhero film “Samaritan” in which his Joe Smith character might not be exactly up to the job of someone helping a stranger, or at least not without prompting.
Does it seem like overkill for septuagenarian Stallone to play an aging vigilante who can easily throw a grown man across a room? Who has time to think about it when the action heats up?
Though it seems unbelievable that a man of Stallone’s age could be convincing as half-old superheroes so easily knock their opponents into a pile of human debris. Yet he hasn’t become flabby, and that may be because his day job as a garbage collector requires heavy lifting.
Amazon Prime’s “Samaritan” intro features plenty of fast-paced animations inspired by a graphic novel. The setting is Granite City, a dystopian hellscape that inevitably evolves into uncontrollable chaos and looting.
Twenty-five years earlier, the twin brothers Samaritan and Nemesis were so terribly strong that the people of Granite City began to fear them and retaliated by trying to burn them alive by setting their house on fire.
The twins remained unharmed, but their parents did not survive. At this point, Samaritan began to fight as a protector of the innocent, while the vengeful Nemesis wanted the world to suffer.
Nemesis forged a mighty weapon into a hammer into which he poured all his hatred and rage. His weaponry was like Thor’s, but his aim was malevolent. It was the only weapon that could destroy his nemesis, Samaritan.
Eventually, the brothers engaged in mortal combat in a warehouse that was consumed by a raging fire, and it was presumed that they had both perished, or at least that’s the story for the citizens of Granite City.
Local journalist and bookseller Albert Castler (Martin Starr) has written a book about Samaritan that delves into conspiracy theories and speculation that the incredibly strong Samaritan is still alive.
A true believer in Samaritan’s earthly existence is 13-year-old Sam Cleary (Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton), who suspects that his mysterious, withdrawn neighbor, Mr. Smith, is actually the legend lurking in plain sight. .
Living in an apartment building with his single mother Tiffany (Dascha Polanco), Sam is frequently bullied by local thugs led by heavily tattooed Reza (Moises Arias) who goes so far that Mr. Smith intervenes, tricking the child into believing that he found Samaritan. .
Meanwhile, a psychotic gang leader named Cyrus (Pilou Asbaek), a worshiper of the supervillain Nemesis, decides to incite a street rebellion of rioting and arson to draw Samaritan’s intervention.
Unsurprisingly, the reclusive Mr. Smith is inexorably drawn into combat, though getting there requires testing his patience with the curious Sam who goes so far as to invade his apartment in search of clues.
Because this kind of movie calls for escapist fare, the climactic showdown between Samaritan and the wannabe Nemesis feels a lot like a live-action replay of the graphic novel’s intro animation.
Even though a streaming service like Amazon Prime may have a decent budget, “Samaritan” is nonetheless a B-movie that may be forgotten the next day, but at the time of its urban chaos and violence, it offers entertainment value for action fans.
WEIRD BYPASS ON THE METRO SYSTEM
This column is about entertainment, and the diversion can be found in places other than movies and TV. Who knew that riding the New York City subway, like I did on a recent trip, would offer fun with its travel etiquette?
Practical instructions appear on certain trains equipped with an electronic reader. “Stay off the tracks” should be obvious to everyone. It’s obvious. A better warning is not to stand too close to the platform.
The “Keep Your Hands and Other Parts to Yourself” makes one wonder about the lustful who ride the rails. Avoid anyone wearing a trench coat in hot weather or anyone looking slightly crazy.
“Go before you leave” is wise because even if you found a public toilet in a metro station, the best warning would be “Enter at your own risk”.
“Don’t sell anything without a permit” is largely ignored. Someone is forced to sell cookies or wrapped candy, or useless items like an 8-track player or VHS movies.
The only directive of “Do not smoke or set anything on fire” worries me. The smoking ban is understandable, but has there been a sobering upsurge in inflammatory acts?
The subway is a great way to get to a Mets or Yankees game, but the best advice is to be alert and aware of your surroundings and not to travel in the middle of the night.
Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.