Bad Samaritan Review

Bad Samaritan
When small-time thief Sean (Robert Sheehan) breaks into the home of Cale (David Tennant), he winds up getting more than he burgled for — a terrified woman (Kerry Condon) chained up in a basement dungeon. Sean does everything he can to free her, but Cale is onto him, coming for Sean’s loved ones with sadistic delight.

by David Hughes |
Published on
Release Date:

30 Mar 2018

Original Title:

Bad Samaritan

After a quarter century as writer and/or producer partner for Roland Emmerich’s bombastic blockbusters, including Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, Dean Devlin’s directorial debut, last year’s Geostorm, became Hollywood’s equivalent of an extreme weather event, buffeted by reshoots, delays, the ignominy of being replaced. Thankfully, he’s bounced back with an engaging, well-acted and crisply directed thriller anchored by two highly watchable performances.

Bad Samaritan

Parking valets Sean (Misfits’ Sheehan, who’ll soon be seen as Tom in Mortal Engines) and Derek (Carlito Olivero) have a seedy little racket going: while their customers dine out at a Portland restaurant, they drive their valet-parked cars to their homes (sat nav helpfully providing directions) and rob them, returning the cars to their unwitting owners before dessert is served. Breaking into the home of rich douchebag Cale (Tennant), Sean stumbles upon a grisly scene: a woman (Condon, the voice in Tony Stark’s suit) chained in a filthy dungeon, next to what looks suspiciously like a fully prepped kill room. Unable to free her right away, Sean hatches a plan to rescue her, unaware that Cale, who’s both intelligent and unhinged, knows all about his intruder, and is about to start turning the screws on him and his loved ones.

It’s a mouth-watering premise, and Sheehan is terrific as the bungling burglar whose life comes crashing around his ears, his unsuitability as a hero making him more sympathetic and relatable. Tennant, for his part, attacks the role of Cale with even more sadistic relish than he managed as Kilgrave in Jessica Jones — although his Ameerrrican accent still needs work. Both are well served by a tricksy, twisty script, and Devlin manages to keep all the moving parts working smoothly, proving that good actors and a decent script are the only special effects he needs. His only misstep is arguably Joseph LoDuca’s overblown score, which feels more suited to a Devlin/Emmerich blockbuster, and has a tendency to drown entire scenes in bombast.

Dean Devlin finally steps out from Roland Emmerich’s shadow with a tight, twisty little thriller. Add a fourth star to the rating if David Tennant going full Nicolas Cage sounds like your kind of thing.
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