Metascore
37

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 15
  2. Negative: 5 out of 15
  1. Reviewed by: Diego Costa
    May 18, 2012
    25
    The Samaritan treads a fine line between film-noir moodiness and crime-thriller triteness, mostly settling for the latter.
  2. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    May 18, 2012
    40
    His (Jackson) doleful revenant is in almost every scene, and this hardworking actor seems to know that the film around him should be a light-footed caper instead of a grim noir with a side order of deviance.
  3. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    May 18, 2012
    12
    A would-be piece of pulp fiction about a parolee trying to go straight, The Samaritan proves that even Samuel L. Jackson can be boring.
  4. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    May 17, 2012
    50
    About a third of the way along, there's a shocking revelation that definitely packs a punch. Problem is, it's followed by a near-immediate return to familiar narrative convention, where the noir ante rises exponentially toward a climax that arrives too hastily and ends too neatly.
  5. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    May 17, 2012
    50
    The Samaritan doesn't wind up feeling like a con, exactly, but it has just enough promise to leave viewers feeling ripped off when it comes up short.
  6. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    May 17, 2012
    20
    The most charitable approach to this unfortunate diversion in Jackson's career would be to pretend it never happened. Now, who wants to go see "The Avengers" again?
  7. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    May 17, 2012
    55
    Svelte enough in its reassembling of familiar elements to be, for a while, as comfortably pleasant as sipping on what once used to be your go-to drink - until The Samaritan takes a jarring turn right out of Park Chan-wook, and from there takes a tumble into ludicrousness from which it doesn't recover.
  8. Reviewed by: Ben Sachs
    May 17, 2012
    50
    An odd stylistic mash-up, the movie never quite coheres, in part because the characters are so thin that the style doesn't have much to cohere to.
  9. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    May 16, 2012
    42
    It's difficult to describe The Samaritan, in which Samuel L. Jackson plays an ex-con trying to return to the straight and narrow after 25 years inside, without overlapping a dozen other movies in his nigh-endless filmography, nor watch any scene without thinking of how many times he's drawn from the same bag of tricks.
  10. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    May 16, 2012
    75
    The Samaritan isn't a great noir, but it's true to the tradition and gives Samuel L. Jackson one of his best recent roles.
  11. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    May 15, 2012
    30
    Weaver's story slowly begins to buckle under the weight of its own self-seriousness and familiarity, concluding with a showdown and resolution marked by one implausible and unsatisfying been-here-done-that twist after another.
  12. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    May 15, 2012
    20
    No one expects a Samuel L. Jackson thriller to be Shakespeare, but David Weaver's wanna-be '70s-grindhouse cheapie doesn't even achieve serviceability.
  13. 70
    A gritty serving of pulp fiction masterfully perpetrated by Samuel L. Jackson as a philosophical ex-con trying to buck the considerable odds by taking a shot at redemption.
  14. Reviewed by: Andrew Pulver
    May 12, 2012
    40
    A clotted, knotted, twisty noir that is, unfortunately, short on the required atmosphere.
  15. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    May 12, 2012
    50
    If anything, this Canadian production misses a great opportunity to dig into its setting and examine the dark side of seemingly pristine Toronto, even as the script by Elan Mastai and director David Weaver labors over a mostly boilerplate storyline.
User Score
5.1

Mixed or average reviews- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 2
  2. Negative: 1 out of 2
  1. Sep 14, 2014
    3
    Taking story lines straight out of other films and blending them together, The Samaritan is one strange and confusing film, that will reallyTaking story lines straight out of other films and blending them together, The Samaritan is one strange and confusing film, that will really turn people off. While watching this film, one could easily identify elements straight from films such as Shaft, Payback, and Oldboy, making this film anything but original. Samuel L. Jackson stars as a con man, who has just been released from prison. He's been in there a long time and wants to go straight, but his partners son is determined to make sure that doesn't happen. Samuel L. Jackson is a legendary star that can carry any film he stars in. I love his personality and will watch anything he's in, I even sat through Black Snake Moan, but The Samaritan makes even less sense than that did. The story is just completely all over the place, jumping from one thing to another, without resolving any of the issues it presents. Often times films like that will come together in a terrific ending, but the end of the Samaritan just leaves more questions than answers. Jackson is of course very solid and shows his wide range or ability and emotion, but the rest of the cast is just awful. Independent films often times only feature one person of recognition, but when you're releasing a film like this one, which is heavily advertising that star, you've got to give them something to work with. I honestly feel like some of these people were just pulled off the street and asked if they wanted to be in a movie, their inexperience is that obvious. When you add to that a confusing story line, that is full of slang and innuendo, the result is something that is unwatchable. The biggest star in the world couldn't have made a film like this work.The Samaritan is a rare instance where I wish I had listened to my fellow reviewers and just let this one pass me by. Full Review »
  2. Jun 6, 2012
    5
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