Is it possible to make a long and boring thriller film with unlikeable characters and horrid dialogue? Guess so… Directed by Dean Devlin (the filmmaker who made his directorial debut with the critically panned Geostorm), Bad Samaritan is about a man named Sean Falco (Robert Sheehan), a struggling valet driver at a restaurant working with his friend Derek Sandoval (Carlito Olivero). He breaks into customers’ homes to hopefully steal some cash. After taking the key of a customer named Cale Erendreich (David Tennant), he breaks into his home and finds out that this man is a kidnapper of a woman trapped inside his house. Sean and Cale go after each other like crazy, and there, in a nutshell, is Bad Samaritan.
Right off the bat, this could have been a fun thriller with some suspenseful moments. But instead, it’s a movie with terrible pacing, which makes it feel like it has a runtime of three hours. It’s only an hour and 47 minutes, yet it feels way longer than that… You can even tell which scenes needed to be cut as some of them felt kind of irrelevant to the plot. From the beginning of the film, you start feeling bored, which is never a good sign. It opens with the lead character being completely unlikeable, and you stop caring as the film progresses.
Speaking of the characters, they’re all unlikeable and uninspired. You forget their names as the movie goes on, and some characters are just left in the background with minimal and lazy development. However, David Tennant’s performance as the main antagonist completely steals the show. Whenever he’s on screen, he immediately grabs your attention with his charisma. While the things he says make no sense whatsoever, Tennant’s performance makes up for it. Since he also played an evil villain in the Marvel Netflix series Jessica Jones, he was able to transfer some aspects of Kilgrave into this character. In fact, there are times when this felt like a Kilgrave spin-off, which actually could have been interesting. Instead, we have this boring mess…
The film tries to be clever, but it comes across more as incredibly convoluted, especially with the dialogue. There’s a huge difference between clever and convoluted, but it tries so hard to be clever in the most boring way as possible. Brandon Boyce’s script feels completely uninspired and clichéd, and he makes a lot of scenes cringe-worthy to an unbearable degree. It’s like he’s struggling to come up with good dialogue for college students. When characters talk, it doesn’t feel natural, and that really takes you out of the narrative.
You know a movie might be bad when it has the word ‘bad’ in the title. Granted, Bad Grandpa was surprisingly enjoyable, but most of them tend to be terrible films. On the bright side, it is way better than Geostorm, but Dean Devlin still hasn’t fulfilled the task of bringing the audience an effective and entertaining thriller. David Tennant’s performance alone is worth seeing, but other than that, Bad Samaritan is simply a bad movie itself.
Bad Samaritan is now playing in theatres.