Sylvester Stallone Has The #1 Movie On Streaming

Sylvester Stallone is still going hard at 76-years old, as proven by him starring in the number one most streamed movie in the world.

By Nathan Kamal | Published

sylvester stallone

It cannot be overstated what a singular career Sylvester Stallone has had. After years of roles as an uncredited extra (and the occasional softcore, uh, erotica), he famously broke through to stardom by writing himself into his own movie and insisting that he be the one to play Rocky Balboa. Along with his eternal frenemy Arnold Schwarzenegger, he helped mold the future of action films in his own bulky, veiny image. There may be no other actor who has wholeheartedly dived into gory action and ridiculous science fiction and still been praised for his nuanced dramatic roles in critically acclaimed movies, all while writing, directing, and producing his own work. It should not be a surprise that even at this late stage in his career, Sylvester Stallone is starring in the most-streamed movie on Amazon Prime Video: Samaritan

Samaritan stars Sylvester Stallone as Joe Smith, a loner of a garbage man in Granite City. As the opening voiceover informs us, decades ago, two twin brothers were born with superpowers that frightened the normal people around them. A mob burnt down their home, killing their parents, but leaving the brothers alive. One grew to be Samaritan, the titular defender of the helpless, and the other became Nemesis, who was consumed with revenge. Both wore suits of armor that covered their face entirely and ended up both disappearing after fighting in a fiery explosion. Also, Nemesis made a big hammer that is also superpowered. 

That is a whole lot of exposition right up top, especially when Sylvester Stallone himself does not show back up until nearly 20 minutes in the film. The actual protagonist of the film is Sam (Javon “Wanna” Walton), a young boy drifting toward crime to help his financially struggling single mother (Dascha Polanco) and a firm believer that not only is Samaritan still alive, his neighbor Sylvester Stallone is the retired superhero slumming it. It says something about the movie’s uncertainty about whether audiences can follow the oddly complex yet simple superhero backstory that a snide journalist played by Martin Starr has to recap the voiceover just thirty minutes later.

sylvester stallone

It is very like Sylvester Stallone to star in a movie adapted from a very obscure comic book character when theaters are utterly dominated by the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe. Samaritan is based on a Mythos comic series by Bragi F. Schut, Marc Olivent, and Renzo Podesta; Schut adapted the screenplay himself, and the film is directed by Julius Avery, best known for the World War II horror film Overlord. It can be assumed that any Sylvester Stallone production is de facto run by the actor himself behind the scenes, regardless of who is officially credited. However, Samaritan is an odd example of a comic book movie, in that it is surprisingly quiet and introspective. 

Don’t get us wrong: Samaritan has all the requisite action scenes, dystopian burnt-out cities, vaguely feral punk villains, and Sylvester Stallone armed with a big-ass hammer that anyone could possibly want. But a great deal of the plot is also focused on Sylvester Stallone quietly sitting and tinkering in his lonely apartment. The film star seems to be taking a page from fellow action star turned director Clint Eastwood and leaning into films that highlight his age. Recent entries in Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky and Rambo franchises (plus Creed) have focused on the 76-year-old’s world-weariness, and Samaritan is no different.

Which is really the best part of Samaritan. There are interesting themes built into the film, no doubt ported over from the original comic book. It is strongly implied (and occasionally outright said, because this isn’t that subtle of a movie) that Granite City is a mess of a city in large part due to the metaphorical trauma of having warring superbeings occupy the city. A Dickensian petty crime boss (played by Game of Thrones’ Pilou Asbæk) adopts the identity of Nemesis after discovering Sylvester Stallone’s abandoned super-hammer. In some respects, it seems like the new Nemesis is trying to form the poor and downtrodden into some kind of revolution, but given that we do not really see an upper class oppressing them, it just seems like he’s shouting at mobs from atop cars. However, you can see for yourself if there is more to this movie than another Sylvester Stallone meditation on his own age since everybody else in the world is.