Samson: Movie Review
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Buoyed by the success of recent Pure Flix vehicles such as God’s Not Dead, The Case for Christ, and Woodlawn, the burgeoning studio continues to seek a stronger foothold in Hollywood. Now comes a new take on a timeless story.
Poised to be the first of several high-profile faith based films released in 2018, Samson attempts to revive the classic Biblical epic for movie audiences. And while it certainly has its moments, as a general rule this well-known Old Testament story of disobedience and redemption lacks the intensity it deserves.
Filmed entirely on location in South Africa, Samson features a well-known cast highlighted by relatively unknown British actor Taylor James (Justice League) in the title role. Also featured are up-and-coming actors Caitlin Leahy (TV's Legion) and Jackson Rathbone (Twilight), along with Hollywood veterans Billy Zane (Titanic), Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner), and Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman).
THE MOVIE IN A MINUTE
Samson is a young, eager warrior chosen by God to deliver Israel. The long-maned he-man’s supernatural strength, coupled with an impulsive nature, make him a prime target for the tyrannical Philistine empire. His immense presence does not go unnoticed by those in power. They feel threatened. Not wanting Samson to rise up and win over the people, an evil prince convinces a beautiful siren named Delilah to betray and trap him. Imprisoned, Samson calls out to God to give him the strength he needs to free himself and deliver his people from oppression.
THE GOOD AND BAD OF SAMSON
Co-director Bruce McDonald’s vision to position Samson as the world’s original action superhero is a good one, especially in light of the recent seismic success of Marvel and DC Comics. Almost superhuman in strength and indomitable spirit, Samson moves through life as if he owns it. Simply put, he seems larger than life.
Taylor James certainly looks the part as his character slays scores of Philistine warriors armed with nothing more than the jawbone of a donkey. You can’t take your eyes off the muscular actor as he commands your full attention in every scene.
Despite efforts to redefine the character of Delilah and her complexities, Caitlin Leahy’s portrayal of the sultry temptress comes across as being too sincere. Perhaps Delilah has been regularly portrayed as a motivated seductress with shears over the years, but viewers have come to expect this type of chicanery.
Jackson Rathbone, who first made his mark in the Twilight movie series, turns in a commendable performance as Prince Rallah, son of the Philistine king, Balek. His conniving intellectual shrewdness is every bit the counter to Samson’s brawny, bull-in-a-china-shop fueled tact.
Pure Flix’s desire to take on a larger project is admirable; however, they may have taken on more than they could handle with Samson. This type of movie demands high-end special effects, highly choreographed action sequences, and elaborate set designs. While you can certainly see evidence to make the most of their budget resources, something just seems to be lacking.
IN THE END
Faith-based audiences will be delighted to see this movie successfully conveys that in the midst of our disobedience and sinful nature, God will still forgive and deliver us from our brokenness.
Samson is a movie that certainly has its flaws, but one can’t discount its heartfelt message of hope and deliverance.
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