“Samson” stars Taylor James, Jackson Rathbone, Billy Zane, Caitlin Leahy, Rutger Hauer, and Lindsay Wagner. Released on February 16, 2018, the film follows a man with the gift of strength and his quest for vengeance.
The film is directed by Bruce Macdonald, and it is inspired by the Biblical story of Samson in the Book of Judges. I haven’t been reviewing films that relate to the Bible or the belief of God very much because I find this topic to be extremely challenging to talk about. I’m not joking, I am really afraid that I’ll tick off the Christian folks if I happened to say one wrong word about it. But when I saw the trailer for this film for the first time, I surprisingly became intrigued on how they’re telling this type of story. Keep in mind that this is coming from the guy who has not seen a single faith-based film that Pure Flix (the film’s distributer) has ever released. Despite my fears that I mentioned above, I mustered up the courage and went into the movie with modest expectations.
The story follows the trials and errors that Samson (James) came across during his life, including his conflict with the Philistine army and his relationship with Delilah (Leahy). The film deals with redemption and the responsibilities that the main character must fulfill with the powers that he has possessed. While the messages are what you expect from a film that relates to its subject matter, its underwhelming story and the lack of strong characters weren’t able to provide something unique about the biblical legend. What really set the bar low was that the filmmakers missed a huge opportunity to fully explore the character of Samson in order for the audience to see him grow as a person rather than just a special guy who has the strength of Superman. I think if they show his first experience with the powers that God gave him during his childhood, it would’ve make both the film and the title character a lot more interesting. Yes, I did say “a lot more interesting” because I didn’t care that much about the title character and the people around him throughout the whole film. Taylor James did a fine job with his performance as Samson in the midst of its below-average cast and his action scenes were tolerable to witness, but other than that, I think the director could’ve done a whole lot better with his representation. It also doesn’t help that a few scenes dragged a little bit despite the film being under two hours. The movie tries to have some sort of “biblical epic” feel to the story while maintaining its very low budget like the other faith-based films from Pure Flix. What they forgot to realize was that the final result almost looked like it was made for television in terms of its style and its uninspiring visuals.
Overall, despite the attractiveness of Taylor James and the film’s action sequences, “Samson” fails to find the strength it needs to push past its easy-to-spot flaws. As a film made for church-going audiences, it displayed its messages quite well, but as a regular film made to showcase the life of the title character, it is a huge disappointment from beginning to end. I should be able to recommend it to those who are into faith-based films like this, but only as a rental. Gee, now I’m not so sure if I want to watch the other films from Pure Flix that are coming out very soon. Only time will tell, I guess.