By Guillermo Azabal
Los Angeles, Aug 23 (EFE).- Special effects, street fights, bad guys and Sylvester Stallone.
The formula may be basic, but it’s been a winner in the past and the producers and distributors of “Samaritan,” a rare foray for the iconic actor into the superhero genre, are betting it will work once again.
Stallone and 16-year-old Javon “Wanna” Walton, who was catapulted to stardom by the teen drama series “Euphoria,” co-star in this latest action-thriller that premieres Friday exclusively on Prime Video, Amazon.com, Inc.’s streaming platform.
“Samaritan” will strive to deliver the goods for a niche audience looking to experience high-octane thrills and watch a grizzled, superhero single-handedly save a city overrun by violent crime.
The plot revolves around 13-year-old Sam Cleary (Walton), who begins to suspect that his trash-collecting neighbor, Mr. Joe Smith (Stallone), is a famed superhero who went missing after an epic battle a quarter-century ago with his arch-rival, Nemesis.
The action unfolds in Granite City, where criminals rule the streets in Samaritan’s absence and ordinary, law-abiding citizens long for their protector to return and bring an end to the mayhem.
Sam, however, becomes certain that Smith and Samaritan are the same person and sets out to convince him to give up his trash route and rescue a metropolis on the brink of ruin.
The veteran actor joked during a press conference with members of different media outlets, including Efe, that he now brings the experience and the younger cast members provide the energy.
He also was full of praise for Walton, saying the young star is highly intelligent and quickly adapted to his role in the film.
Action, fantasy and suspense are all part of the mix in “Samaritan,” whose cast also includes Dominican-American actress Dascha Polanco (“Orange is the New Black”), Danish actor Pilou Asbaek (“Borgen”) and American actor Moises Arias (“Hannah Montana”).
“I feel very proud to represent the Latino community in my role as Tiffany (Sam’s mother), a woman who’s a fighter and makes great sacrifices but always has time to educate her son,” Polanco said in an interview with Efe ahead of the premiere of “Samaritan.”
She added that it was an honor to work with Stallone and said of Walton that he “has a great future ahead of him but an even better heart.”
Directed by Julius Avery (“Overlord”) and written by Bragi F. Schut (“Escape Room”), “Samaritan” has a running time of 101 minutes and is rated PG-13.
Braden Aftergood and Stallone are the producers of the film, the first production the 76-year-old actor has been involved in this year.
Stallone said during the promotional event for “Samaritan” that he enjoys acting now as much, or even more, than he did when he was 30 or 35, stressing the importance of remaining humble and not thinking there is nothing left to learn.
Over the course of his 53-year career, Stallone has left an indelible mark on Hollywood with his starring roles in the Rocky and Rambo film franchises.
The muscle-bound actor’s well-known formula of action films with a moral underpinning is seen as cliched by some. But while originality may be lacking, his movies’ box-office success almost never is. EFE