Nowadays, every actor wants to be a superhero on screen. But there are only so many significant comic book roles from DC, Marvel and the outliers to keep Hollywood entertained. Even though Sylvester Stallone has flirted with the superhero genre a handful of times in his illustrious career, he has yet to play the lead in a full-on, costume-comic thriller. Until now. The actor has a new film coming to theaters late in 2022. It’s called Samaritan, and it just showed off its first official footage at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. And it looks completely badass.
Shame on me for not even having this movie on my radar, but I’m sitting up and paying close attention to Samaritan now. Sylvester Stallone is introduced at the beginning of the trailer as Stanley Kominski, a junker who roams around a crime-infested and rundown future society, picking up scraps of trash and equipment that interests him. He’s old. He sports a tattered hoodie. He reminds me, vaguely, of Bruce Willis’ super-powered everyman from M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable.
Eventually, fate interrupts Stanley’s “retirement” when he steps in to rescue a young man, Sam (Javon Walton), from neighborhood bullies who are beating the shit out of him. It’s a good deed, but it blows Stanley’s cover, because Sam instantly recognizes his savior as Samaritan, a superhero who was reported to have died 30 years prior.
An original superhero story? That’s exactly what the industry needs more of. As excited as all of us are about new interpretations of The Batman, and old villains returning for Spider-Man: No Way Home, we absolutely can get behind a writer such as Bragi F. Schut cooking up a fresh take on the superhero genre, and that’s what Samaritan looks like, based on this first footage.
We do get a montage in the Samaritan trailer of Sylvester Stallone in his character’s heyday -- including a shot of the suit he wore when he was a crimefighting superhero. But the bulk of the action in the trailer is confined to modern-day Stallone, looking every bit of his 75 years and yet, still able to dole out ass whippings left and right. There’s a bit of John Wick-style to the carnage as we see Stallone resume his Samaritan ways to protect and rescue Sam. But the action, while brutal, has a grace and finesse to it thanks to some intriguing camerawork from director Julius Avery (the Nazi zombie movie Overlord, and 2014’s Son of a Gun).
As mentioned, Stallone has dabbled in the comic book genre before. He’s currently lending his voice to King Shark in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. And he played the Ravager Stakar Ogord in Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Of course, he also was Judge Dredd, before it was cool. But if Stallone is going to keep exploring this territory, I personally am glad it’s in original creations like Samaritan, which seems ready to be the next Nobody, with a touch of Will Smith’s Hancock. That’s a compliment. MGM/UA has Samaritan down for an August 26, 2022 release date.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.