Samson was chosen to be a judge of Israel by Yahweh, but he did not always do as he was supposed to do. He was anointed by God with superhuman strength when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, but when he disobeyed, there were serious consequences. God used Samson to deliver His people from the oppressive Philistines, and He used an imperfect man to accomplish His will in the most extraordinary ways.
Production Quality (2 points)
PureFlix has clearly come a long way since the abysmal production days of The Book of Esther and the half-hearted production of movies like Apostle Peter and the Last Supper. This newer rendition of Samson boasts a surprisingly high production quality, which is manifested in gritty and realistic elements that are not afraid to make the characters get dirty. Action scenes are filmed very well with good camera work. Video quality is crisp, and sets, locations, and props are very well-constructed and culturally authentic. The editing is also good, but this production is held back from being all that it could be by weird cuts and dramatic zooms that are reminiscent of Revelation Road and by very obvious CGI architectural shots. However, on the whole, Samson is a huge step forward for PureFlix Bible productions.
Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)
Right off the bat, the plot of Samson is hamstrung by immediate and unwanted narration. Accompanying this story crutch is a typically PureFlix ‘creative license’ that they give themselves to do whatever they want with historical narrative. As this film was shamelessly pushed as a ‘Christian superhero’ flick, it is full of mostly mindless action scenes and is actually quite violent for a Bible film–even rivaling The Bible miniseries for gory content. With so many battle scenes and bodies flying around, there is no room for character development as dialogue is instead used to fill time, dump information, and force the story along in the direction the writers wanted it to go in. In molding the story however they wanted, the PureFlix collective whitewashed the obvious mistakes of Samson the historical figure and made this movie into some kind of romance-revenge plot. However, in some ways, they made some interesting connections between the true events of Samson’s life, which keeps this section from being zero, but they took too much ‘creative license’ with historical fact to be acceptable. Regardless, we have no idea who Samson is as a character due to massive time jumps, and the recurring villain character is beyond cheesy. In the end, plot was basically tossed by the wayside in the making of this pandering film.
Acting Quality (1.5 points)
Somewhere out there, there is a Christian movie consultant who constantly advises film makers to cast BRITISH people as Middle Eastern characters. Sure, Middle Eastern cast members can be somewhat difficult to find, but what is the idea behind casting people with such obviously culturally inauthentic accents? I’m sure with this budget PureFlix could have found some authentic cast members. This consistent problem aside, the acting of this film is mostly fine except for the overly dramatic moments and forced emotions that are apparent here. Also, it goes without saying that PureFlix consulted with Timothy Chey on how to give PhilistIne characters the worst possible makeup jobs. On the whole, this section is average.
What to do with another Bible film? Samson fulfills the gritty category, and the production is fine, but the other categories are greatly lacking in what is needed. With a budget this big, better cast members could have been employed and better screenwriters could have been retained. Then again, it’s doubtful that PureFlix actually cares about making a truly quality film. Samson was just another attempt at a cash grab–PureFlix adapts with the times as needed to do the bare minimum to get enough audiences to pay for a ticket. Now most people have forgotten this film even happened. Oh well.
Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points
This is exactly what I was afraid would happen with this movie. Pureflix just can’t resist taking a good idea and filtering it through a Me Again lens (yes T.B. that’s on your record). How is it possible that they can insert this level of absurdity into every Bible film? And their villains have got to go. Maybe someday Pureflix will hire someone who uses their endless cash flow for God’s glory. However, at this point, in the vast wake of their permissible but less than beneficial content, this dream will probably never come true.