Damn it, Purple Man! Harassing the bitch from apartment 23 was too much for you, now you gotta harass a couple of regular dudes?
The story looks like it’s about a pair of guys who intend to rob a rich snob, but inadvertently discover that the rich snob has kidnapped a woman. They try to inform the authorities, but there’s no evidence that the snob has anyone against their will and starts terrorizing the two guys.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have David Tennant (FERDINAND , TV show JESSICA JONES [2015 – 2018], and upcoming films MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS  and CHEW ), Robert Sheehan (GEOSTORM , and the upcoming MORTAL ENGINES ), Carlito Olivero (stuff I’ve never heard of), Kerry Condon (AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR , THREE BILLBOARDS , CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR , AGE OF ULTRON , and the upcoming DREAMLAND ), and Jacqueline Byers (stuff I’ve never heard of).
Now for the crew. Directing is Dean Devlin, known for GEOSTORM. Penning the screenplay is Brandon Boyce, known for stuff I’ve never heard of. Composing the score is Joseph LoDuca, known for CULT OF CHUCKY (2017), TV show XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS (1995 – 2001), and the upcoming MORNING, NOON, & NIGHT (2018). The cinematographer is David Connell, known for ROBINSON CRUSOE (1997) and the pilot episode of JERICHO (2006 – 2008). Finally, the editor is Brian Gonosey, known for stuff I’ve never heard of.
Overall, I think this is going to be a lot of fun, watching Tennant run around, fucking with these two guys. He’s clearly going to be the best part of this movie. As for everything else… eh, it could be good, but I’m not holding my breath. I just want to see Tennant be awesome.
This is my honest opinion of: BAD SAMARITAN
Set in Oregon, Sean Falco (Robert Sheehan) is otherwise a good-natured young man. He pursues his passion of his art, photography, has a beautiful and smart girlfriend named Riley (Jacqueline Byers), loves his mother, and has a decent job. Sort of. His job is a scam. He and his best friend Derek (Carlito Olivero) pose as valets for a fancy Italian restaurant and when someone drives up to them, they steal the car, and using the GPS in the car, take it back to the family’s house and steal from them while they’re dining. One night, a snobbish rich man named Cale (David Tennant) pulls up in his Mazerati and Sean takes the car to his rich home. However, he stumbles across a young woman named Katie (Kerry Condon) who has been chained to a chair, clearly kidnapped. While Sean tries to save her, he is unsuccessful, panics, and leaves her to her fate. In an attempt to make up for his actions, Sean tries to call the police, but Cale figures out that someone has been in his house and has taken quick precautions to keeping suspicion off of him. So begins a game of Cale discovering that it was Sean who broke in and starts screwing with his life to pay him back for the inconveniences he’s caused.
Oh yeah, I had a fun time with this. Is it a good movie? Eh, probably not.
If it isn’t obvious, yes, the best part of this movie is Tennant. If there’s anyone who can play a lanky, but scary rich dude out to ruin and kill you, no one could do it better than him. So much of his performance is just his expressions, being highly observant of his surroundings, seeing the tiniest things out of place, and able deduce how to react to it. Being a serial kidnapper, I guess one would have to be hyper aware of where things are and in what position, as it could imply any number of things. And every step that he takes is so precisely calculated to do the most amount of damage to his victims, whether they’re in his clutches, or not. Causing his step-dad to lose his job, causing his mom to get suspended from hers, among other terrible things, he knows just what to do and how to do it efficiently. And the fact that he’s that kind of guy who says “don’t touch my car,” or watches the damage he causes drive his victims crazy while sipping on a tiny ceramic cup of espresso is delightfully entertaining. There’s even hints that he enjoys how close and persistent Sean is with his pursuit of the kidnapped girl. I wish the movie had played into that a little more, but that was an interesting and fun hint.
And I do give credit to this movie for one detail: subversion of clichés. Actually, there’s a big cliché that I’ll be tackling in a minute, but this one I liked. A huge chunk of this movie is the characters’ reliance on cell phones. This movie also has a hint of a horror vibe to it. What do cell phones and horror movies have in common? They’re useless. No bars, no signals, no reception, whatever the trope is, that’s surprisingly not the case here. Everyone’s cell phone is constantly charged and they have bars even in places where you wouldn’t think a cell phone could be used. Horror movies would exploit the shit out of that, but this flick was kind enough to not do that. Bravo, writer. This was quite refreshing.
However, there’s a lot of problems with the movie. Hey, I said I had fun with it, I didn’t outright say it was good.
Arguably the biggest problem that I have with the movie is how increasingly stupid Sean gets. From the moment that he sees Katie chained up in that chair, he knows he’s out of his element. He even openly admits early on that when he panicked and made dumb decisions, he knows how dumb it was, and that level of self-awareness gave me a great deal of hope. And yet… he continues to try and play by certain rules, going to the police multiple times, including the FBI, trying to convince everyone that Cale has kidnapped someone when there’s no proof of his actions, going places where Cale knows he’ll be, it’s a constant frustration to see this character never truly adapt to his situation. He never has that moment where he just stops for a second, realizes that he needs to be smarter than he’s been, and start making better decisions. This was always a situation that was going to get worse before it got better, but if he quit his desperation to try and save everything, he could have gotten control of his situation a lot better, and maybe even find a way to fight back.
Smaller problems include scenes that look like they’re going to be important, or characters that are going to be important, but end up going nowhere and end up being pretty useless by the end of the film. We get shots of a family that was stolen from before Cale, but was a waste of two minutes worth of film as the family never comes back into the story. There’s also Detective Banyon (Tony Doupe) who’s only in the movie for three scenes. He listens to Sean’s story, investigates Cale’s house, then tells Sean to leave Cale alone, and never comes back in the movie. Um… okay, he certainly added a lot, but we already have an authority figure who helps Sean, so what was the point in Banyon? Oh, and did you know that Sean has a brother? What? You didn’t know that Sean has a brother? That’s because the movie didn’t care to give him more than three seconds worth of screen time. He literally pops in and out of the movie, barely referenced at all.
Not that I’m a psychology major or anything, but much of Cale’s actions and a lot of the things we know about him don’t really add up. I get his overall motivation. He wanted to tame a wild horse to impress a girl, but killed it instead and killed his family. Now instead of breaking horses in, he breaks women of their wills and he dominates them until they’re compliant to his every word and moves on to his next target after he kills them. But here’s where I get lost. Why the knives and chainsaw in his garage secret room? The hell does he do with those? Unless it was subtle as hell, I don’t recall appendages lost from Katie. So what was with the cutlery?
For that matter, what exactly does he do to break these girls’ wills? I imagine chaining someone to a chair and hitting them a few times wouldn’t be enough. I feel like there’s a fine line between someone who has lost all their sense of identity and accepted a new reality that they can’t escape from, and someone who’s just compliant to avoid further harm, sort of like a dirty cop beating a criminal to confess to a crime that he didn’t commit, but the criminal admits to it only so the pain would stop. Something of that nature. The point I’m trying to make is that we don’t see enough of him breaking her will. Granted, we can assume that he got a little overzealous with Sean’s interference and she wasn’t as broken as he would have liked, but this should also have been just as much her story as it was Sean’s. Really seeing her hanging on to that last shred of humanity while being broken would have gone a long way.
Overall, the movie isn’t all that good and I can see this being something either loved or hated. The main character does seem to get more stupid as the story goes on and not everything about the villain makes a whole lot of sense, which does hurt the movie. However, anyone’s enjoyment of the film hinders entirely on how much you enjoy Tennant as an actor. If you’re a fan of JESSICA JONES, then you’re in for a truly fun ride of him screwing over the protagonist and seriously delivering a great performance that mixes pretentious, hilarious, and scary as fuck. So as a recommendation, I say, viewer beware. If you’re not a fan of Tennant, or seeing just how insane a villain can get, then I can’t say if you’ll enjoy it that much. But if you are a fan of Tennant, this comes pretty highly recommended. Take it all for what it’s worth to you. The Purple Man moves on from the bitch from apartment 23 and deliciously screws with a regular stupid dude.
My honest rating for BAD SAMARITAN: a strong 3/5