America, the land of opportunity, where chances are taken and fortunes are made; some are born to privilege, some have to bend the rules to get their first step on the ladder to success and riches, and while best friends Sean Falco and Derek Sandoval may not be criminal masterminds, they believe they have found a way to do just that.
It may not be Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, but they have a system; only take from the well-to-do, only take that which won’t be missed or can be replaced easily, get in and out, stay beneath notice and beneath suspicion and don’t let it go to their heads or get greedy.
Working at valets at an Italian restaurant, they are handed the keys to the car as the families step inside, but instead of parking safely they check the satnav for the route home, and if it is nearby and the whole family is dining, they sneak home for a swift breaking and entering, back to work before the dessert trolley rolls around.
When one particular prospect announces himself in spectacularly rude fashion, despite Derek’s misgivings Sean insists on making an illicit home call, as much to put one over on the man who talked down to him as for the takings, but what a haul it is, a new credit card, and a locked room where the real treasure is held… a woman, chained and gagged.
Directed by Geostorm‘s Dean Devlin, Bad Samaritan is a far cry from the the disaster porn of his earlier productions Independence Day and its sequel Resurgence or Godzilla, a horror-thriller filmed and set in Portland, Oregon with no exploding landmarks or superstorms in sight, but what does remain is his focus on momentum rather than character or narrative sense.
Starring The Messenger‘s Robert Sheehan as Sean and Fright Night‘s David Tennant as protagonist Cale Erendreich, former stars of Misfits and Doctor Who who have moved to Hollywood to further their careers, both are better than Brandon Boyce’s script deserves, Bad Samaritan aiming for gripping and terrifying while the increasingly ridiculous plot means the greatest threat is to suspension of disbelief.
Erendreich the ranting embodiment of white male entitlement, neither Sean nor Derek are significantly more likeable, their behaviour presenting them as arrogant thieves who take advantage of their situation and their employer while bickering like teenagers who cannot even obey their own rules to protect themselves, nor are they smart, entering houses with which they can be directly linked without concealing their faces and openly discussing crime on their cellphones.
Little more than fifty shades of torture porn with a fully equipped murder dungeon, Erendreich is a high-tech sociopath trust fund brat trying to prove a point to daddy by breaking women like horses, any attempt of the film to be subversive or call attention to toxic male stereotypes undermined by the predictable misogyny which drives it, Sean’s girlfriend required to expose her breasts in her first scene while Better Call Saul‘s Kerry Condon is wasted as the helpless victim who needs a man to rescue her from her oppressor.
Bad Samaritan is available on DVD from Signature Entertainment from Monday 8th October