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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Kick-Ass

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

The seemingly never-ending search, among some in Hollywood, for those rare screen taboos that have yet to be toppled results in the jaw-dropping spectacle of Mindy Macready, aka Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz).

She's the blithely murderous masked tween with a fondness for spouting such vulgarities as the C-word whose viciously efficient mowing down of her enemies is central to the plot of "Kick-Ass" (Lionsgate), an intentionally outrageous but deeply perverse action comedy.

Home-schooled as an assassin by her father, Damon (Nicolas Cage)—a deranged ex-police officer who also has a costumed alter ego named Big Daddy—Hit Girl serves as an ally in Big Daddy's feud with Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong), the straight-from-central-casting mob boss who frame-up of Damon landed the honest cop in prison. The trauma of Damon's jail time, we learn, resulted in the death of Hit Girl's mother and the birth of an obsessive vendetta.

Stumbling into the midst of this conflict comes the film's hero, ordinary high school student Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson). Fed up with the petty thievery by which he's constantly victimized, nerdy Dave has taken time off from habitually pleasuring himself with the help of Internet porn to create the would-be superhero of the title.

As Dave soon discovers, however, it takes more than the mail-order wetsuit that constitutes Kick-Ass' outfit to bring down the bad guys, and he first encounters Hit Girl when she saves him from the potentially fatal consequences of his well-intentioned but ill-advised overreaching.

Intent on using Kick-Ass to get to his father's enemies, Frank's spoiled son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a fellow student of Dave's, creates a persona of his own called Red Mist whose hip lifestyle includes a fancy sports car and easy access to marijuana.

As the plot approaches its ultra-violent conclusion, director and co-writer (with Jane Golman) Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of Mark Millar and John S. Romita Jr.'s series of comic books fills the screen with bloody mayhem. Characters from either side who fall into the wrong hands find themselves crushed by machinery, riddled by Gatling guns and even exploded inside a giant microwave designed to dry lumber.

The film contains much gory violence including torture and dismemberment, brief graphic nonmarital sexual activity and offscreen masturbation, upper female nudity, drug use, a few instances of profanity and pervasive rough and crude language. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


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Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions: Lawrence (Lorenzo) was born in Manila of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, both Christians. Thus he learned Chinese and Tagalog from them and Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. He became a professional calligrapher, transcribing documents in beautiful penmanship. He was a full member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary under Dominican auspices. He married and had two sons and a daughter. 
<p>His life took an abrupt turn when he was accused of murder. Nothing further is known except the statement of two Dominicans that "he was sought by the authorities on account of a homicide to which he was present or which was attributed to him." </p><p>At that time three Dominican priests, Antonio Gonzalez, Guillermo Courtet and Miguel de Aozaraza, were about to sail to Japan in spite of a violent persecution there. With them was a Japanese priest, Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named Lazaro, a leper. Lorenzo, having taken asylum with them, was allowed to accompany them. But only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan. </p><p>They landed at Okinawa. Lorenzo could have gone on to Formosa, but, he reported, "I decided to stay with the Fathers, because the Spaniards would hang me there." In Japan they were soon found out, arrested and taken to Nagasaki. The site of wholesale bloodshed when the atomic bomb was dropped had known tragedy before. The 50,000 Catholics who once lived there were dispersed or killed by persecution. </p><p>They were subjected to an unspeakable kind of torture: After huge quantities of water were forced down their throats, they were made to lie down. Long boards were placed on their stomachs and guards then stepped on the ends of the boards, forcing the water to spurt violently from mouth, nose and ears. </p><p>The superior, Antonio, died after some days. Both the Japanese priest and Lazaro broke under torture, which included the insertion of bamboo needles under their fingernails. But both were brought back to courage by their companions. </p><p>In Lorenzo's moment of crisis, he asked the interpreter, "I would like to know if, by apostatizing, they will spare my life." The interpreter was noncommittal, but Lorenzo, in the ensuing hours, felt his faith grow strong. He became bold, even audacious, with his interrogators. </p><p>The five were put to death by being hanged upside down in pits. Boards fitted with semicircular holes were fitted around their waists and stones put on top to increase the pressure. They were tightly bound, to slow circulation and prevent a speedy death. They were allowed to hang for three days. By that time Lorenzo and Lazaro were dead. The three Dominican priests, still alive, were beheaded. </p><p>In 1987, Blessed John Paul II canonized these six and 10 others, Asians and Europeans, men and women, who spread the faith in the Philippines, Formosa and Japan. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first canonized Filipino martyr.</p> American Catholic Blog We don’t have to scrub off our sin so God can love us. Instead, when we allow God’s healing love to touch us, we want to leave sin behind. Growth starts in love, not in guilt.

 
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