Samuel L. Jackson has basically dedicated the latter half of his career to what can be best described as “action schlock”. Between “Black Snake Moan”, “Snakes on a Plane”, and “Deep Blue Sea”, Jackson has seemingly built a reputation as a tongue-in-cheek badass. At this point in his career, he’s almost playing a caricature of his former self.
“The Samaritan” however, is a departure from Jackson’s usual absurdity. At the core of the plot is a heist film, yet the film transcends the cliches that make up the genre. That’s not to say the film isn’t predictable, but it certainly isn’t unoriginal. Jackson plays Foley, a former professional grifter who is recently released from prison after a 25 year sentence for killing his partner. Upon reconnecting with the outside world, Foley finds himself immediately entangled in a high stakes grift with Ethan, his dead partner’s son. Through a series of blackmail tactics, the duo are reluctantly paired up despite their hatred for one another.
There are a series of secondary characters that serve no real purpose other than to distract from the rather paper-thin plot. Ruth Negga plays Foley’s estranged daughter Iris who’s character potential is wasted through a series of meaningless plot twists. Tom Wilkinson plays Xavier, a ruthless boss (but only as ruthless as the 2 minutes of screen time leads us to believe) who also doubles as “the mark” in the grift. Much like Iris though, Xavier is a merely a pawn used to muddle up the overall plot and create a false sense of depth.
It’s not so much that “The Samaritan” is a bad film as much as it’s just a confused one. The plot changes directions more times than one could conceivably keep track of. All secondary characters are given little to no character structure which ultimately amounts to a film without any depth. The storyline, before it gets muddled up with unnecessary subplots, is an interesting one with loads of potential at it’s disposal. Unfortunately, this dream plot is never actualized and Samuel L. Jackson is left holding the bag in what stands to be a not-so-thrilling crime thriller.
If special features are your thing, “The Samaritan” includes absolutely nothing in the way of extras — a rather bare bones blu ray release to accompany an even more lackluster movie.
Film: 2.5 Yaps
Extras: 0 Yaps