A Hebrew with an unusual gift of strength must respond properly to the call of God on his life in order to lead his people out of enslavement. After his youthful ambition leads to a tragic marriage, his acts of revenge thrust him into direct conflict with the Philistine army. As his brother mounts a tribal rebellion, only Samson's relationship with a Philistine seductress and his final surrender - both to the Philistines and to God - turns imprisonment and blindness into final victory.Written by
"Samson" (PG-13, 1:50) is a 2018 American action-drama based on the titular Biblical character from the Book of Judges, one of the best-known and most interesting Judeo-Christian legends this side of Moses. The story takes a few liberties with the scriptural account, but only in the details. The major plot points are all still there and the spirit of the tale remains the same - that of a flawed, but practically super-human Hebrew leader chosen by God to help his people stand up against their Philistine overlords.
When we first meet Samson (British actor Taylor James, in his first major feature film role), he's a young man living with his devoted brother, Caleb (Greg Kriek), and his cautious, but supportive parents (1980s action hero Rutger Hauer and Lindsay Wagner, best known as Jaime Sommers, TV's "The Bionic Woman" in the mid-late 1970s.) Samson is a charming and mischievous character with a weakness for the ladies - Philistine ladies - and, in particular, a sweet and innocent young woman named Taren (Frances Sholto-Douglas). However, Samson's fatal flaw is his pride, which often leads him to stray from his destiny.
As Samson learns to use his god-like physical strength (sometimes for selfish purposes and sometimes in service to God's plan for his life), this incredibly large and physically fit man becomes increasingly famous among his own people - and the ruling Philistines, who increasingly see him as a threat to their control of the region. Samson's perpetual enemy is the cruel, power-hungry Rallah (Jackson Rathbone), leader of the Philistine army and heir to the throne of his tough, but naïve father (Billy Zane). As the rivalry between Samson and Rallah reaches its inevitable climax, Rallah attempts to use the sexy and wily Delilah (Caitlyn Leahy) to finally gain the upper hand over the imperfect, but resilient Hebrew hero.
"Samson" is a worthy and very entertaining re-imagining of the famous Bible story. The minor changes from the scriptural account enhance the drama and its religious significance, while highlighting the message of the importance of staying focused and fulfilling one's destiny. The film's well-cast, well-shot, exciting and even fun. The production values are high (with a few exceptions in some of the sets) and the dramatic elements are effective (in spite of occasionally crossing into melodrama). This one should appeal to the religious faithful along with the non-religious who just want to see a good action movie. "B+"
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