As for Samaritan, Sam’s next door neighbor, a garbage man named Joe, may be the real deal. He is played by a greybeard Sylvester Stallone, so you know he’s no ordinary trash man. Joe arouses suspicion when he beats up the aforementioned teenagers after they turn on Sam. Even more stirrings of suspicion arise when Sam breaks into Joe’s house and finds a scrapbook filled with newspaper clippings about the Samaritans. Then, of course, there’s the scene in the trailer where Joe is smashed to pieces by a car driven by the people he just beat up, and his body fixes itself.
There are so many holes in “Samaritan’s” script that the film has to move faster than it does if it’s going to surpass them. Manager Julius Avery throws plenty of carnage at the screen, but even that becomes so repetitive that the mind goes back to asking questions. Like, if Samaritan was world famous and everyone knew his powers, why do dozens of people keep shooting at him or trying to knock him out? And what’s with the power-zapping grenades the bad guys use? Apparently they cause massive explosions, but in one instance a character detonates one without throwing it and doesn’t blow him up. The film is so tired of itself that it can’t keep its own guns straight.
27 years ago, Sylvester Stallone played a similar type of superhero in “Judge Dredd.” Now, I didn’t think that movie was as bad as a lot of people did. I found some amusement in Stallone’s commitment to playing the role in a completely humorless way, and in his repeatedly screaming “I am the LAW!” Plus , “Judge Dredd” had the decency to be rated R. “Samaritan” is extremely violent and even more bloodless, so it can get the cynically applied PG-13. People are bashed in the head with giant sledgehammers, shot with automatic weapons and beaten of a man whose strength should cause them to explode.There’s also Stallone running across a burning, collapsing building, something he already did in the much funnier “Expendables 3.”