Plot: Samson (Taylor James) has been given incredible power, but he seems to make little use of it, or at least in ways that truly benefit his people. He follows the demands made of him in exchange for his power, to avoid wine, never touch the dead, and of course, never trim his luxurious mane of hair, but outside of those rules, he seems to do whatever he pleases. As his brother often tells him, Samson does what he thinks is right, not what the living god divines him to do. Even so, his tribe appreciates having a protector around and Samson’s strength is well known, so just his presence is enough to make things a little better. But his people are starving and a push to fight back is rising, though Samson is more concerned with women and random fights with rival warriors. But when he falls in love and seeks to marry a young woman, he finds a new strength within himself, especially when she might be taken from him…
Entertainment Value: I know some will pass on Samson because it is a religious movie, I think it serves as a capable throwback to the days of biblical epics, even if it doesn’t quite measure up to the genre greats. I mean, seeing a mountain of a man as Samson, standing atop a literal mound of corpses of men he just laid waste to with the jawbone of an ass is quite spectacular. In other words, while this is a film aimed at religious audiences, it is not a sanitized or watered down version of Samson’s narrative, it is a violent, often dark experience, as it should be. I also appreciated that Samson isn’t portrayed as some hero of peerless qualities, but a flawed man who is given the world and doesn’t often put his gifts to good use. Taylor James is a great pick as Samson, as he is a brute of a man and has a simple, but good natured persona that suits the role. I do think Delilah needed a more charismatic choice than Caitlin Leahy, but it is tough to follow in a role played so well by Hedy Lamarr. The cast also includes Billy Zane, Rutger Hauer, Lindsay Wagner, Greg Kriek, and Frances Sholto-Douglas in prominent roles. The movie has some obvious budget issues that hold back the historical elements and some slow stretches arise, but as a modern bible epic, I think Samson is rock solid.
No nakedness. Samson shows off his muscles of course, but no sexual content aside from references to him being a skirt chaser. The movie has frequent violence, but the blood quotient is low. This is because the bad stuff happens off screen, such as Samson’s torture and most of the high impact violence. The scene where Samson duels an entire militia includes some bloodshed, but it is minor and even though he kills dozens of men, it is done in non graphic fashion. As for action, the movie has several fights, including the infamous jawbone showdown and for the most part, the action is well staged and fun to watch. The dialogue is a little stilted at times, but not to camp levels, so not much in over the top or outlandish moments. The craziness level is low as well, as this is a competent, sincere production that doesn’t veer into camp or wackiness.
Overall Insanity: 0/10