As a writer and producer, Dean Devlin
has helped bring audiences spectacle-driven action with big-budget outings like Independence Day
and the 1998 Godzilla
— movies that, if they weren’t always the biggest hits with critics, were often delivery mechanisms for the sort of popcorn fare that tends to render bad reviews at least partially irrelevant. His directorial career is still young, but thus far, he hasn’t had the same luck in his latest role — last year’s disaster thriller Geostorm
debuted to scathing reviews and disappointing box office numbers, and while the financial jury is obviously still out on this weekend’s Bad Samaritan
, the early reviews have been fairly lukewarm. Critics say this relatively low-key entry in the Devlin filmography, starring Robert Sheehan as a thieving valet who discovers a woman (Kerry Condon
) held captive in the house of his latest mark (David Tennant), has its moments, but it’s still rather less than the sum of its parts. Despite a serviceable premise and a talented star in Tennant, reviews describe Samaritan
as a pretty pedestrian outing — neither smart or aggressive enough to be exciting, and not quite bad enough to be so bad it’s good. If you’re a fan of this sort of thing, you could watch a lot worse (and probably have); still, this is one thriller that might be best saved for a rental.