We’re all familiar with the typical action hero movie formula, right?
Enter Samaritan, your typical action superhero movie. Except it’s not.
The trailer for this Prime Video exclusive film, which dropped early Wednesday morning, deviates from the typical comic book style film that’s been popularized in recent years by taking the genre and turning down a dark alley into traditional action movie territory. You have a simple garbage man trawling through his daily loads for a bit of treasure to take home and tinker with each day, while the world around him falls to pieces at the hands of criminal enterprise.
However, in this story it’s not some cop gone rogue or former military legend hiding beneath the threadbare beanie and baggy coat. There’s no assassin looking to start fresh or criminal doing penance for past misdeeds that just needs a little convincing to take down former allies for the benefit of all—no, in this trailer, our would-be savior is a real life super powered crime fighter formerly known as Samaritan. Played by Sylvester Stallone, Samaritan, alias Joe Smith, vanished after an epic battle twenty five years before and left his superhero days behind him while his city fell to ruin. Outed by neighborhood youth Sam Cleary (Javon “Wanna” Walton) after rescuing Cleary from bullies, Samaritan must come to terms with his past, his exposure—and make a choice about his future before the criminal element forces his hand.
Unlike the films of the MCU, this film isn’t based on a comic book or graphic novel. Instead, it draws inspiration from both Unbreakable, a now 20-year-old sleeper superhero film starring Bruce Willis, and Finding Forrester, a film from 2012 starring Sean Connery about a prodigal writer who finds a mentor in a reclusive author.
The whole trailer is gritty, austere, and fairly realistic for the premise. As a Marvel die hard that loves a good traditional comic book film, I’m encouraged by this fresh take created by a merging of genres. Rather than the rise or restoration of a hero, we see in this trailer what amounts to most every revenge or redemption based action movie that was ever made.
This time, however, it’s got a superhero protagonist, and it’s enough to seriously pique the interest of any fan of a Marvel movie or a Jason Statham flick. With a taste of The Watchmen in its grim view of the superhero life overall, what I really enjoy about this trailer is the fact that Stallone isn’t trying to be something he’s not. This isn’t comic book Rocky Balboa, the mercenary for hire from The Expendables, or any number of action hero films we’ve seen before. This is a hero past his prime, living simply with what power he has left — and he says it himself that he’s not what he once was.
“I’m not as strong as I once was…things start to fall apart when you stop caring.”
What can an aging superhero, broken down and embittered by the years, do for a vastly corrupt city? Find out on August 26th on Amazon’s Prime streaming service — I know I’ll be tuning in for sure.
Liz Carlie (she/her/he/him) is a regular book, TV, and film reviewer for SCIFI.radio and has previously been a guest on ‘The Event Horizon’. In addition to being an active member of the traditional fandom community, she’s also an active participant in online fan culture, pro wrestling journalism, and spreading the gospel of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She resides in Southern California with her aspiring superhero dog, Junior, enjoying life one hyperfixation at a time.