[Screen It]


(2018) (Robert Sheehan, David Tennant) (R)

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Suspense/Thriller: After breaking into a rich man's house and discovering a kidnapping victim, a young burglar must decide what to do.
Sean Falco (ROBERT SHEEHAN) is a young Irish immigrant who lives in Portland. Unbeknownst to his girlfriend, Riley Seabrook (JACQUELINE BYERS), Sean is a thief who works with his buddy, Derek Sandoval (CARLITO OLIVERO), stealing and robbing. Their latest endeavor is working as valets at an Italian restaurant and taking turns using the map programs in diners' cars to lead them back to their houses to rob them while they're away.

They think they might have hit paydirt when trust fund kid turned forty-something billionaire Cale Erendreich (DAVID TENNANT) pulls up in his Maserati. While in that man's house, Sean finds more than he bargained for when he comes across Katie (KERRY CONDON), a young woman who's gagged and chained to a chair in Cale's office. With no time to do anything since he has to get the car back to the restaurant before the billionaire becomes suspicious, Sean leaves her there.

But he feels awful about doing so and thus anonymously contacts the police to enlist their help. When that doesn't work, he confesses his attempted robbery crime to Det. Wayne Bannyon (TONY DOUPE) to prove he was inside the house and saw the woman.

When the detective doesn't believe him -- having found nothing at the house -- Sean turns to FBI Agent Olivia Fuller (TRACEY HEGGINS) who also doubts his claim, but starts to investigate. Believing that time is running out and that the woman's life is in immediate danger, Sean sets out to find out where Cale has taken her so that he can rescue her.

OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
Just about every day I seem to lose yet another piece of believing humanity will survive. After all, witnessing how people drive, talk to strangers, behave around family members and friends and especially how they act online, it seems civilization is breaking down.

But just when things seem particularly bleak, along comes a news story or online video showing a person or group of people working to help an animal or another human in need, sometimes putting their own lives at risk in doing so. All of which makes their acts of kindness, respect, and heroism even that much more remarkable.

Such do-gooders are often referred to as "good samaritans," although I'm not exactly sure why since samaritan is already defined as "a charitable or helpful person." Maybe the "good" is just another level of reinforcement to persuade others to behave in similar fashions.

Of course, sometimes people don't step in to help in moments of need or crisis. For some, it might be due to fear of getting in the way when other more able-bodied people could do the job more effectively.

For others, that's due to fear of being hurt themselves, possibly facing future retribution (if they're stopping a crime in progress) or coming out from flying under the radar and into the limelight and thus possibly getting swept up by the long arm of the law should they be already be involved in less than exemplary (i.e. criminal) lifestyles.

Such is the jumping off point and seriously under-examined thematic element of "Bad Samaritan." As the title would suggest, the hero of our tale, Sean (Robert Sheehan), isn't exactly the best role model and stand up guy out there. After all, he generates most of his cash from stealing and then reselling property, usually of the kind that the victims might not even realize is missing.

His partner in crime, Derek (Carlito Olivero), isn't that impressed with the "don't get noticed" plan, asking at one point who steals postage stamps. But the two have a new con in play, and that's working as valets for an Italian restaurant in downtown Portland. With most cars having navigation systems including the home address, they simply take the car while the customer is dining, head to their home, steal some stuff, and get back before anyone's the wiser.

And when Cale Erendreich (David Tennant) shows up in a Maserati, they think they've hit paydirt as filtered through some karma and comeuppance, especially since he acts like a condescending jerk toward them. With him in the restaurant, Sean heads to his place, scores big when he finds a high-end credit card in the mail that's yet to be activated, and then thinks maybe something even better is behind door number two due to its serious lock hardware. Inside, he finds a checkbook that will give them access to the man's banking, but a flash from his cellphone to copy those numbers lights up something -- or somebody to be more accurate -- he wasn't expecting.

That would be Katie (Kerry Condon), who's gagged and seriously bound to a chair that's bolted to the floor. He tries to free her, but that's easier said than done, and now having spotted the security camera in the corner and knowing his time away from the restaurant is limited, Sean has no choice but to leave her there.

Which doesn't sit well with him, what with the serious butchery equipment and body-disposing chemicals he found in another room. But an anonymous call to the cops goes nowhere, although it does serve to alert our seriously deranged, if uber-rich and highly resourceful perp that someone's on to him.

As directed by Dean Devlin from a script by Brandon Boyce, this is one of those films that's filled with so many logic holes that you'd think the story passed through a cheese grater before being shot on film. And it ends up being so dumb, preposterous and often over-the-top in its ludicrousness (especially pertaining to anything and everything related to Tennant's performance as the villain) that it almost ends up being an entertaining, guilty pleasure sort of misfire.

How you react to the offering will depend mightily on what sort of mood you're in before the lights go down, and how forgiving, accepting and tolerant you are toward such offerings that seem to operate in their own universe with their own sets of wacky rules and logic.

If you can turn off any sort of critical brain functioning and just go along for the dumb ride through crazy town, you might enjoy what's presented to some degree or another. If not, you might want to choose something else as this clearly isn't the sort of first-rate thriller one might expect given the potential-filled premise. "Bad Samaritan" rates as a 4 out of 10.

Reviewed May 1, 2018 / Posted May 4, 2018

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