February 28, 2018

Biblical Epic Recounts Exploits of Hebrew Hero Chosen by God

By Kam Williams

Samson is a popular Biblical figure who was blessed by God with super-human strength as long as he kept his hair long. However, there’s a lot more to know about him than can be found in the Book of Judges in the Old Testament.

For example, his life mirrored that of Jesus Christ in many ways. For instance, both were the product of a miraculous birth that was announced by angels. Jesus’s mother was a virgin and Samson’s was barren. Each was betrayed by a confidante, Judas and Delilah, who were paid in silver coins. Each ultimately fulfilled a prophecy by delivering their people, the Israelites.

Co-directed by Bruce Macdonald and Gabriel Sabloff, Samson is an epic biopic that fleshes out the one-dimensional warrior into a vulnerable person with a full range of emotions. The movie stars Taylor James as Samson and Caitlin Leahy as Delilah.

The film opens in Gaza in 1170 B.C. where the Jews are enslaved by the Philistines. As Samson matures from a boy into a man, it was hard to ignore his threatening combination of ambition and combat skills. So, in order to prevent him from becoming a threat to his kingdom, the sadistic King Balek (Billy Zane) arranges a duel with Bolcom (Dylan Williams), a seemingly invincible behemoth from Egypt.

At first, Samson falters during the fight, prompting a gloating Philistine to ask, “Where’s your Hebrew champion now?” a query ostensibly inspired by Edward G. Robinson’s classic line “Where’s your Moses now?” from the movie The Ten Commandments. However, Samson picks himself up and defeats the invincible opponent.

Rather than recount what occurs next, suffice it to say that the story faithfully follows the parable’s plotline. That ought to resonate with people who see the scriptures as history and thus prefer a literal interpretation of the Bible. So don’t be surprised to see Samson slay a lion with his bare hands, defeat Philistine soldiers with the jawbone of an ass, and suddenly lose all his power when shorn of his locks by the deceitful Delilah.

Very Good (***). Rated PG-13 for violence, including battle sequences. Running time: 109 minutes. Production Studios: Boomtown Films/Pure Flix Productions. Distributor: Pure Flix Entertainment.