Home Page > Movies Index (w/mixed oldies) > > Movie Review

This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Gaza Gorilla

Samson (2018) on IMDb

Plot Overview

“400 Years ago God delivered us to this Promised Land.”

1170 b.c. A statue of Dagon is being worshipped by the Philistines in Gaza, Gaza on the northern fringe of the Promised Land where were encountered what historian Werner Keller calls, “The Warriors from Caphor” (Amos 9:7). “These alien people … appeared on the edge of the civilized world, on the coast of Greece. … armed men carried round shields and bronze swords. … Nobody knew where they came from” (163f). He describes them as being, “tall, slim figures … about a head higher than the Egyptians” (168). Under Philistine domination “The Hebrews forsake their God and serve Dagon.”

super maizeThe camera focuses next on a crafty Jew Caleb (Greg Kriek) inside a subter­ranean storage facility liberating "maize" from the unsuspecting Philistines above, sending it up to his brother Samson (Taylor James) with a rope. (“That's Samson the Hebrew strong­man from the pit.”)

As an historical aside, the word corn in the Bible is used here in its generic sense to refer to the predominant grain of a region, in this case wheat, i.e. (Judges 15:5) “the standing corn of the Philistines” is a wheat field. The only place these ancient “Sea Peoples” (Keller 167) could have obtained the "maize" seen in the “Samson” opening—and later in a kitchen scene—is from the Americas, and even then it would not have been the large, robust, golden ears Americans buy in their super­markets but the stunted “Indian corn” growing there at the time. Unless, of course, some time-traveller had let drop from his pocket seeds of our more developed variety, which would have produced Caleb & Samson's swag and Delilah (Caitlin Leahy)'s chow. By the “butterfly effect” it could well have changed the time-line slightly as we do see in this picture variations from the biblical account. That could in turn explain the fulfilled prophesies concerning Samson, i.e. (Judges 13:5) “For, … he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines,” if some­one knew their future in advance.

The movie continues with the two brothers' running escape from the Philistine soldiers, their mad dash through the market­place (Samson: “Good morning, Ladies”), and their absorption back into The Tribe of Dan. Philistine Prince Rallah (Jack­son Rath­bone) is especially cruel to the Hebrew laborers (“Back to work!”) We learn that Samson is “chosen by the living God to be his hand of vengeance.” Part of his (parents') Nazarite vow was that he would live a pious life, free from alcohol consumption (Num. 6:2-4), haircuts (Num. 6:5), or contact with the dead (Num. 6:6-8).

The Prince sets up a lure for the rumored Hebrew strongman to have an open fight with muscled Vulcan from Egypt. “Our God is not beat, neither are his people,” declares Samson as he takes up the challenge (“God, give me your strength”) thus revealing himself (“The Hebrew God is in him.”) The prize purse is two bags of gold coins, which Samson is to turn over to the council rather than keep them for him­self. His real prize, though, is a beautiful Philistine servant girl Taren (Frances Sholto-Douglas) whose eye he catches. He asks her to “Marry me.” She replies, “Your parents will not approve of this.” He never­the­less tells them about her: “I met a girl.” (Judges 14:3) “And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.” To their chagrin at what kind a girl she must be, he pleads that, “She is different.” (Judges 14:4) “But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.”

The nuptials do not end well for Samson, which leads to the first in a series of donny­brooks that will begin the deliverance of Israel from the dread Philistines, according to a well-known story, but at great cost to Samson personally.


This latest Bible story film from Pureflix, a faith-based producer & distributor, can be expected to have an evangelistic message in it some­where. Here the introduction of a spurious prince seems to mimic Simon the sorcerer in the book of Acts, both of them great men (Acts 8:9-11). Both Simon (Acts 8:12-13) and Prince Rallah believed in the Hebrew personage. Peter and John were sent for a rendez­vous with the Samaritan Christians (Acts 8:14-17), and Samson was set up to rendezvous with Delilah. Simon asked Peter and John, “Give me this power” (Acts 8:18-19) and the Prince asked the same of Samson (“I'm here to free you and your brother; all you must do is tell me how I can receive your power.”) Caleb's reply was, “Fear the living God. Humble your­self or he will humble you.” Peter's reply was, “Repent and pray God” (Acts 8:20-23). The Prince and the sorcerer (Acts 8:24) made their choices.

Production Values

This Bible story film, “” (2018) was directed by Bruce Macdonald and Gabriel Sabloff. Its screen­play was written by Jason Baum­gardner, Galen Gilbert, Timothy Ratajczak, and Zach Smith. It stars Jackson Rathbone, Billy Zane, and Taylor James. The acting as well as many of the technical aspects was mediocre, as we've come to expect from faith-based films. I will say, how­ever, that the writing was clever weaving an additional story line into the biblical narrative, and the casting of Taylor James as Samson was good; he looked the part. MPAA rated it PG–13 for violence and battle sequences.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

The tribe of Dan has become lost to history; it does not appear in Revelation's last days list (Rev. 7:4) “of all the tribes of Israel” (Rev. 7:5-8). There has been some speculation that they went some­where by sea, based on (Judges 5:17), “Dan did remain in ships.” Perhaps this movie has solved the enigma for us. Why, the council had Samson's gold coins beat into golden plates (2Chr. 2:13-14) and they sailed away to America and became Mormons.

Too many cooks spoil the soup. This movie comes across as having been made by a committee. It's got two directors and four writers. That's not to mention the biblical material that it some­times follows. Even there all the versions we've got nowadays is a mess.

To respect our sensibilities, translators have been substituting the word donkey for ass. Fine. But when I remember Samson having slain 1,000 Philistines “with the jawbone of an ass” (Judges 15:15-16), doing it “with the jawbone of a donkey” in this movie just doesn't cut it with me. In the hills of Israel at that time lived a wild ass a stranger to domestication, of which God spoke in Job 11:12 & Job 39:5-8. That's whose jaw­bone the real Samson picked up, not one of some domestic donkey. It was a talisman of liberation.

This Samson movie has cultivated veggies, domesticated beasties, and a namby-pamby he-man. If you want to see a so-so movie with all that in it and expose your­self to a piddling amount of proselytizing as well, well, have at it.

Works Cited

Scripture is quoted from the Authorized Version. Pub. 1611. Rev. 1769. Software.

Keller, Werner. The Bible as History. New York: William Morrow & Co., 1956. Print.