‘Samaritan’ review: Sylvester Stallone plays reclusive hero in Amazon’s not-so-good movie

Stallone produced in addition to starring in this Amazon flick, whose most obvious spiritual parent would be M. Night Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable,” right down to the reluctant hero’s rain-soaked hooded jacket. Yet there’s also a whiff of his recent work in the “Creed” films in his portrayal of a gnarled old warrior reluctantly helping a young one – in this case, “Euphoria’s” Javon “Wanna” Walton.

Said 13-year-old boy, Sam, lives in Granite City, a Gotham-esque vision of urban decay and chaos, where he and his mother (Dascha Polanco) spend most of their time struggling to avoid eviction, as well than a large part of the population, who could use a symbol of hope.

Like all the kids in these kinds of movies, Sam is obsessed with a long-mourned superhero, Samaritan, who disappeared 25 years earlier after a pitched battle with his twin, Nemesis, who had turned evil.

“I believe Samaritan is still alive,” wide-eyed Sam announces, after choosing a reclusive neighbor, Stallone’s aging garbage man Joe Smith, as his latest suspect.

Of course, Samaritan would need a reason to come out of retirement, and that’s not due to the erosion of civic standards, but the intrusion of a budding gang leader, Cyrus (“Game of Thrones” “Pilou Asbæk), whose vaguely defined criminal plans do the only thing that could trigger Joe’s conscience – namely, put Sam in danger.

Directed by Julius Avery (“Overlord”) from a screenplay by Bragi F. Schut, “Samaritan” is probably at its best during the special after-school portion of the proceedings, in which the taciturn Joe and the greedy Sam gradually bond so inevitably. , the latter unleashing his inner fanboy as he seeks to persuade the old man to remove one mask and retrieve another.

The action, on the other hand, is fairly uninspired, with one of the main visual effects shots looking downright and distractingly cheesy.

Pretty much all that remains is the modest kick of seeing Stallone in this sort of setting, a novelty that only goes so far. Granted, a little star power can be extremely helpful when it comes to getting attention for streaming projects, which is half the battle. What he cannot do, in this context, is to transform a mediocre and ordinary premise into a good “Samaritan”.

“Samaritan” premieres August 26 on Amazon Prime. It is rated PG-13.