Directed by: Dean Devlin
Written by: Brandon Boyce
Starring: David Tennant, Robert Sheehan, Carlito Olivero, Kerry Condon, Jacqueline Byers
Sneaking around where you shouldn’t tends to go wrong for many characters in feature films because they eventually find something they regret seeing. Take that idea and mix it with a millionaire lifestyle and someone who has fun ruining the lives of others to get Bad Samaritan, which had a good promise but then became a letdown by the end.
Trying to make it as a photographer, Sean (Robert Sheehan) works as a restaurant valet and with his partner, they take the cars of the wealthy patrons and steal from their house as they eat. One night they take the car of a mysterious man (David Tennant), and Sean finds that he has a girl locked up in his office. Sean gets back and returns the car, but now has to figure out what to do.
The title of the film utilizes the story in the bible of a good samaritan that assists someone despite the actions of others but then inverts it because our protagonist happens to be a thief. You see what they did there? He’s bad. It fits the billing and it definitely creates for a very interesting build up as most thrillers do. The narrative builds up the intrigue of entering the house, which seems immaculately contained, until the woman held against her will bursts onto the scene. It shifts what seems to be the biggest score for Sean and his partner into a nightmare. Additionally, it also does not help that the man they crossed happens to be quite sadistic in the way he treats people.
David Tennant really decided to go for it as the character of Cale. He gives the most unsettling stares and looks to every character to carry the balance of being smooth but very unhinged. Upon discovering that Sean broke into the house and seeing his captive, he goes on a journey in trying to ruin his life in every way before trying to kill him. The efforts, I must say, are quite mean. In his life, Sean has his friend, girlfriend, and nuclear family who all become a target of Cale to apply some intimidation. Tennant’s turn as this character quickly became the very best part of this film, but it got to points where he became superhuman. I understand that he’s rich and powerful so he can devise ways to really mess with people’s lives, but the man can only be in so many places at once and this narrative makes us believe that he can teleport to mess with people in so many different ways. Again, something that seems to happen aplenty in thrillers, but it still takes away from the grounded feeling the first act of the film established.
The tension does build up in some fun ways because it seems like the Flash is after Sean and his loved ones. You just never know when he’ll pop up. Robert Sheehan portrays our protagonist, which was nice to see as I remember watching him in Misfits and he gets the opportunity to rock his Irish accent for all to hear. He was perfectly fine in the film but the script did him no favors in rounding out a character arc for him.
Bad Samaritan ultimately fails because it flies off the wall when it gets past the first act of the film. While the tension of Cale jumping around made it somewhat interesting, it started to get comedic that he could do so much in little time. The sequences that take place in a cabin, for example, illustrate moments that should cause tension, but just fails to measure up a character that seemed to be menacing before but then just becomes incredibly incompetent. It left me very disappointed with the end result, as it did become formulaic in its conclusion.
Good promise that remains unfulfilled, Bad Samaritan proves that David Tennant can be menacing, as he possesses one very mean stare. What could be a very real situation turns into something that felt out of a cartoon with how unrealistic it all became. It’s something you can turn on if you want a movie to drink to or not pay much attention to because everything after the first act gives you no real reason to do so.