SAMSON (2018) - Review
by Bryan Mero
In the shadow of the new Black Panther movie, SAMSON (2018) the retelling of the judge of Israel has been released. I was able to see it on preview night.
Samson (Taylor James) is young, brash and not ready to carry the burden of his enslaved people. He meets a Philistine girl, Taren and falls in love. The tragedy that coincides with their marriage brings Samson to the reality of who he is and what he needs to do. He must fight and save his people.
This is the newest retelling of this very old Biblical story. I’ll give credit to the producers for taking on such an ambitious project. Unfortunately, the pace and tone of the film is very scattered and inconsistent. There are important scenes that show Samson’s character and commitment that are quickly glossed over with a quick ‘fade to black.’ Then there are other scenes that are very well done as we cheer for Samson as he takes on 1,000 soldiers or uses his last ounce of strength to push the pillars in the temple.
There is so much going on in this movie and so quickly its tough to keep up. There are several good performances, especially by Billy Zane (Titanic) and Jackson Rathbone. Rutger Hauer (Blade Runnerd) and Landsay Wagner (Bionic Woman) play Samson’s parents but aren’t given much to do. Then there is a time jump and suddenly everyone has a beard, including Samson. This wasn’t so bad on most of the extras, but the beard for Samson looks like they slapped it on as an afterthought. Comical at best when you first see it, the beard does take shape towards the end of the film.
It is easy for me to criticize but I can tell there was a lot of blood, sweat and tears put into this film. Pure Flix is trying to produce quality movies that are rooted in the Bible. That is to be commended. Unfortunately in the era of multi-million dollar super hero movies, Samson pales in comparison. If you like Biblical movies, I’d suggest going to see this movie in the theater. The more attention and revenue it receives the better chance we have to see another one.
If you want a refreshing retelling of the Samson story…may I suggest, “SAMSON The Nazarite” graphic novel. It has wonderful artwork and a story to match. This is what I was hoping for after seeing the trailers for Samson, unfortunately it just misses the mark. I think it is the time to revisit many stories from the Bible. It just needs to be told in a way that will grip the audience from the first minute, tell a compelling story and keep you hanging on until the end.