I was asked to review a 26-minute extended trailer for the upcoming movie Samson, and I am torn. On the one hand, I want to encourage everyone to see this film because in the clips I saw it does seem to honour God and stay faithful to the Bible. But one can never give a good review of a movie based only on twenty-six minutes of selected clips. So I am torn about that and because it is so violent.
If you don't know the story of Samson, you can read all about it starting in Judges 13. But to make a long story short, Samson was a judge of Israel for twenty years. He was incredibly strong because of the power of the Lord. A razor never touched his head, he never touched the dead, and he never drank any wine. He was committed to God from before his birth to be a Nazarite.
When you read the story in the Bible, you get the sense, almost immediately, of how selfish and arrogant Samson was in real life. In the extended trailer I saw, you only get a slight impression that this was the case. Instead, you get the feeling he was frustrated that God chose him to deliver his people from the oppression of the Philistines. But in the Bible, he is portrayed as selfish. He often went his way, ignoring the plight of his people and in fact, seemed to take great delight in tormenting people on why he was so powerful. While the Bible declares that God moved Samson to choose a wife from among their enemies, he ultimately ends up giving his wife to his best friend then later demands to sleep with her again. When his father says no, he immediately goes out, commits a horrible act of animal abuse involving foxes where he lights their tails on fire and sets them loose in the Philistines vineyards. And of course the Philistines retaliate. In fact, many of the problems between the Hebrew people and the Philistines happened because of Samson's own arrogance. How he judged Israel for 20 years baffles me.
Getting back to the movie - from what I saw, it could be right up there with The Ten Commandments as far as epic movies go. The sets were impressive, the acting equally so, but the violence threw me. If you enjoy war movies or action movies with lots of killing (which I do not), you will probably love this film. If you like biblical epics (which I do), you will probably enjoy this movie. You see why I am torn? I hate violence in movies, and yet it is necessary for this film. Plus, I couldn't seem to tear my eyes from the screen. Did Samson just turn me into an action fan? Time will tell. It's rated PG-13 so don't take young children to it, but do go and see it. And take a friend with you who has never heard the story, as I have a sense it will leave them with the feeling to pick up a Bible and start reading. And that's a good thing.
Film montage has been provided courtesy of Pure Flix and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.