OK, I’m going to admit that I was one confused moviegoer before I walked in to the auditorium for “Samson.”
A couple of weeks back, I first glimpsed the promo poster for this film. And I thought, “What in the heck is Matt Damon doing as Samson?” Honestly. See for yourself whether this one shot doesn’t look like a little like it’s Damon in chains.
Then I figured out that I was mistaken. I heard the name “Taylor” associated with the film, and thought that the leading man was Taylor Lautner, from the “Twilight” franchise. I mean, look at those abs, right?
Except it isn’t Taylor Lautner, but Taylor James, a British actor I’ve never seen before, in the lead role.
And now that I’m all straightened out as to who is in this movie, I’m happy to report that it’s pretty entertaining and, in some sequences, it’s quite a spectacle with some solid action scenes.
I’m going to guess that most audiences will be at least familiar with the story of Samson, which is told in the Book of Judges in the Bible. This follows the biblical version closely.
Samson is born as a man blessed by God. To retain his incredible strength, he must refrain from touching the dead, drinking wine and cutting his hair. He was born to save the Israelites from the Philistines.
The film then shows Samson as a grown man. The first action sequence, which is somewhat light-hearted, smacks a bit of a “Pirates of the Caribbean” escapade – not that that’s necessarily negative.
But the show becomes more dramatic when Samson falls in love with a Philistine woman, much to the dismay of his parents (Lindsay Wagner and Rutger Hauer.) On his way to his bride, he encounters a lion, and kills it with his bare hands.
His strength continues to be super-human. When the Philistines eventually capture Samson and tie him up, he kills soldier after soldier with the jawbone of a donkey. This is one of the most memorable scenes in the Bible, or at least it has been for me, and it’s one that makes the film worth seeing: It’s a wonderfully choreographed action scene.
All the while, the cold-blooded Prince Rallah (Jackson Rathbone, “Twilight”) is astonished and angered by Samson’s strength. He marvels at Samson: “I have seen a real God in a real man,” he says to his father, King Balek (Billy Zane).
Eventually, he meets a woman named Delilah. And you probably know something about that.
The acting is good – I like the way it connects the love interests in Samson’s life – and the acting is fine all the way around, with Zane and Rathbone giving intensity to their characters.
Please note this movie’s rating, which is because of a strong element of violence, which makes it unsuitable for children. But it is suitable for anyone who wants to take in a watchable biblical epic.