BAD SAMARITAN is a movie you probably aren’t likely to see (or hell, maybe haven’t even heard of), but as one of the only 3 new releases this week, and between this, Tully, and Overboard (did not see that and am not going to), this is definitely the one to see. It’s a nice little “how far would you go to prevent something” type of cat and mouse with a dash of techno thriller with really, really great performances by Doctor Who’s David Tennant and Robert Sheehan, you most of you ladies probably know as Simon from the Mortal Instruments movie. The movie starts out extremely strong yet ends a little weak, and it is about 20 minutes too long, but you could get much worse entertainment, like an unnecessary remake to a Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russell movie that should never have been greenlit which I will NEVER EVER see. It’s a half way solid thriller that is extremely entertaining.
The movie is about two guys that use their car valet business for restaurants as a way to steal from the people that go into these restaurants to have a long expensive dinner. They find the addresses to these people in these expensive cards, and if their homes are close enough, bust in, and rob some things from the place. And they usually will only rob rich assholes, not families or people that don’t really deserve it. And they only rob a little, and usually things that the people really wouldn’t notice were gone or thought they had just misplaced. This is where David Tennant’s Cale comes in, playing a really rich asshole with a really bad attitude, leaves his expensive car, so Robert Sheehan’s Sean Falco goes to the house, only to discover there is a woman beaten and chained up in Cale’s house. He has a dilemma, save this woman and risk having his green card taken away for his crimes, or leave her to die. Let the cat and mouse game begin.
What I really liked about the film was Robert Sheehan’s character Sean Falco. Yes, he does try and alert the police by an anonymous phone call to try and save the woman, but right as he realizes that it won’t work and he can’t save her himself, he goes straight to the police and the FBI, trying to find someone to believe him, not caring about his consequences. I loved that, and his solid acting sold his very redeeming character. David Tennant I have always thought was good, from the episodes of Doctor Who I have seen to playing Peter Vincent in the remake of Fright Night back in 2011. He plays that psychopath Cale to perfection here, a really sinister psychotic person that seems to be one step ahead of Sean in every single way.
I liked the both characters made actual smart choices throughout the film, usually choices that are made completely missed opportunities by screenplay writers in other films. I also liked the police and FBI’s role in the movie as well. Usually, they are hardly in the picture for these kinds of things, but they actually listen to Shawn and follow up on his claims and are in the film quite a bit. Hell, the FBI a even talks about having to get a warrant at some point during the film to enter private property and would not go in until that warrant was signed by a judge. You NEVER see that in a movie like this, with the FBI or police just coming in guns-a-blazing. It was a really nice change of pace.
The movie does have its flaws. While the first hour is damn near perfect, the second hour kind teeters in and out of brilliance. I didn’t like the relationship or predictability of Sean Falco and his girlfriends character Riley. Eventually Cale uses Riley to get to Sean, but he also uses Sean’s family. The character of Riley could’ve been cut out completely and Cale could’ve just tormented Sean’s family and that alone could’ve worked and ten minutes could’ve been cut right there, making the film tighter. Also, the end is kind of anti-climatic. The bad guys talks too long, does a monologue where characters could take that time and get the one up on him. Doing that monologue was out of character for Cale, considering how many smart moves the character made before the finale. Some of that could’ve been trimmed as well and it would’ve made a much, much better picture.
Also, how did Dean Devlindirect this film after giving us the piece of dog crap that was Geostorm and having his hand in the Independence Day 2 screenplay? Was he filming this and Geo back to back and had his heart more into this? I think so. This was expertly directed while Geostorm seemed like he just didn’t give a fuck. This film makes me forgive him (directing wise) for that…well almost, we’ll see his next feature and then I will completely decide. He didn’t write this so I haven’t forgiven him for the screenplays for ID4-2 or Geostorm yet.
But I will take what I can get and really still recommend this. With all the shitty thrillers out there we get year after year and where this one holds my attention for about 75% of the time, you just have to give it a chance. Especially the brilliant first hour. And even though the finale is flawed and one story line could’ve been completely cut out, the acting and what came before it nearly makes up for everything else. And at least it didn’t have the clusterfuck ending Tully has…(I saw Bad Samaritan the day after).