Samson (2018 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bruce Macdonald|
|Music by||Will Musser|
|Distributed by||Pure Flix Entertainment|
|Box office||$4.8 million|
Samson is a 2018 biblical drama film directed by Bruce Macdonald and inspired by the story of Samson in the Book of Judges. The film stars Taylor James as Samson, along with Jackson Rathbone, Billy Zane, Caitlin Leahy, Rutger Hauer, and Lindsay Wagner. The film was released in the United States on February 16, 2018.
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The Philistines are collecting food from Hebrews. In the back, Samson, a Hebrew from the tribe of Dan and his brother Caleb are attempting to steal food while Samson is telling riddles. However, they get caught and are chased through the city by Philistine soldiers.
In the meantime, Prince Rallah of the Philistines kills a Hebrew named Tobias for asking for more food.
When Samson and Caleb come home, his parents urge Samson to fight back against the Philistines since he was chosen to do so from birth. However, Samson prefers peace and is reluctant to do so.
King Balek orders his son Rallah to investigate a Hebrew with great strength but Rallah is reluctant.
While away, Samson and Caleb hear of fights going on between a strong Philistine and multiple Hebrews. While Caleb sees this as a trap, Samson jumps in and defeats the strong Philistine. While doing so, he falls in love with a Philistine woman named Taren.
The man Samson beat turned out to be Taren's brother. Rallah kills him and imprisons Taren along with her father.
Caleb returns to present the money Samson won in his fight to their father Manoah, but he refuses to take it all to himself and asks Caleb to share with the entire tribe.
Meanwhile, Samson tracks down Taren and offers her to meet at the sea in the morning. Rallah argues with his father Balek and with his partner Delilah. Samson and Taren share a number of meetings and fall in love with each other.
Samson goes to his parents to tell them about marrying Taren, but they advise him not to since she's a daughter of the enemy. Frustrated, Samson goes to a forest to find help and a sign from God. He finds a lion who he battles, then kills, with his bare hands. Delilah hears of this potential marriage from Taren and advises Rallah to permit it, so that he'd get control of Samson.
Samson finds honey in the lion he slew a bit later. Finally, he organizes a wedding feast which Rallah attends. Rallah lies to Samson and makes him drink wine, which is against one of Samson's three Nazirite vows. Rallah offers riddles to Samson which he can't answer. Samson offers him a riddle in reply with a wager of 30 tunics. Rallah agrees. The riddle is "Out of the eater, something to eat. Out of the strong, something sweet."
Rallah urges Taren to find the answer to the riddle (What is sweeter than honey and stronger than a lion) or face her and her father's death. She gets it out of Samson while Delilah is listening. Rallah eventually solves the riddle in front of Samson. Upset, he goes to a nearby village where the Philistines were holding three Hebrew girls.
The Philistines of the village prohibit Samson from drinking their water. When he continues to, one Philistine soldier puts a sword onto him and Samson kills him along with 29 other soldiers. The Hebrew girls run away and Samson takes the tunics of the soldier, reluctantly since this is breaking one of his three Nazirite vows of not touching the dead. Samson brings the tunics to Rallah only to find that Rallah had cancelled the marriage. Furious about not finding Taren and of Rallah's other actions, Samson runs away and puts fire onto foxes who burn the Philistine grain fields in front of Rallah's eyes.
Rallah then takes Taren and her father and throws them into the fire from the top of the city wall in front of Samson's eyes.
Samson then runs away into a cave. Caleb finds him and offers him to fight back against the Philistines. Samson refuses and offers to be taken as a prisoner instead. When Rallah takes Samson prisoner, he also kills Manoah in front of his eyes before moving over to kill Samson. Samson then kills Rallah's entire army of 1,000 menwith the jawbone of a donkey. Samson returns to his Danite village and gets sworn in as their judge.
Some time passes. The Philistines are starving the Hebrews. Caleb wants Samson to fight back along with other Hebrews, but Samson instead offers to negotiate peace. He goes down to King Balek's palace, but the two come to no solution. Rallah gets the idea of using Delilah as a temptress to get to Samson. Samson goes to a partyhouse upon invitation of a Philistine lady. There, Delilah meets him and tells him of her admiration for Taren. The Philistine town found out about Samson being there and attempts to kill him. He uses God's strength and escaped from the town, tearing the city's gate from the hinges. Samson returns to his Danite village and bonds with his mother and asks her to pray for him.
Delilah offers Samson her shelter. They form a bond and eventually a relationship. Two Hebrews warn King Balek of a rebellion which has been planned by the Danites. Rallah cuts off their heads and sends them to Caleb which makes Caleb go to the Philistines to attempt to attack. Delilah cuts Samson's hair after Samson told her that it was his final vow which he hadn't yet broken. She does so when he sleeps and he gets captured by the Philistines along with Caleb as Samson is blinded by Rallah. After a disagreement, Rallah kills his father and takes his crown. In a Philistine prison, Delilah appears after regretting her action and offers to bail Samson out. However, he urges her to bail Caleb out instead which she does. Samson prays to God for his forgiveness and to be his eyes.
Samson then gets brought before a Philistine crowd where Rallah is now sitting as king as Samson's hair has grown back. He asks God to lend him his strength one more time and brings the entire Philistine building to fall along with their idol.
We see a montage with Caleb narrating, showing Hebrews now fighting back against the Philistines. In the end, we see a young David picking up stones for his fight against the Philistines' warrior Goliath which will lead David to become Israel's king.
- Taylor James as Samson, a Nazarite with super-strength.
- Jackson Rathbone as Rallah, the prince of the Philistines.
- Billy Zane as King Balek, the king of the Philistines and Rallah's father.
- Caitlin Leahy as Delilah, the partner of Rallah who seduces Samson.
- Rutger Hauer as Manoah, Samson's father.
- Lindsay Wagner as Zealphonis, Samson's mother.
- Frances Sholto-Douglas as Taren, a Philistine woman who Samson falls in love with.
- Greg Kriek as Caleb, Samson's brother.
- James Ryan as Tobias, a Hebrew who is killed by Prince Rallah.
Prior to its release, Pure Flix Entertainment sold Samson to various distributors around the globe such as California Films in Latin America, Pioneer in Philippines, Scene Poong in South Korea, Sahamongkolfilm in Thailand, Ozen in Turkey and others throughout Indonesia and Malaysia.
It was released in the United States on February 16, 2018, and made $1.9 million from 1,249 theaters in its opening weekend (an average of $1,556 per venue).
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 25% based on 16 reviews, and an average rating of 5.1/10. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 17 out of 100, based on 6 critics, indicating "overwhelming dislike."
Inkoo Kang of TheWrap criticized the acting and direction, writing "the film is just plain bad, with an amateur cast (led by Taylor James), cut-rate special effects, who-cares storylines, and confusing details shoehorned in from the Bible." Writing for RogerEbert.com, Peter Sobczynski gave the film 1.5/4 stars, stating, "The problem with Samson is that while it cannot be faulted for its sincerity, it can be faulted for its sluggish pacing, inconsistent performances and lack of cinematic style".
Forbes contributor Luke Y. Thompson, while knocking the cheap-looking special effects and props, noted that Samson was "rarely boring" and that he did applaud Pure Flix "for actually trying to go big and stretch into biblical epics".
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- Kang, Inkoo (February 16, 2018). "'Samson' Movie Review: Old Testament Tale Collapses Like a Philistine Temple Tale". TheWrap. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
- Sobczynski, Peter (February 16, 2018). "Samson review". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
- Thompson, Luke Y. (February 16, 2018). "Review: Pure Flix's 'Samson' Is An Epic Cheesefest". Forbes. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
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