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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Predators

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

Toward the end of "Predators" (Fox), a character camouflages himself by covering his torso with mud. That's an apt symbol for this dreary sci-fi sequel which, despite a halfhearted last-reel lesson about the need to maintain civilized values, is mostly a bespattered survey of nasty ways to die.

As for Alex Litvak's script, it's chockablock with obscenities throughout, and even the second-to-last word of dialogue is an unprintable one.

Director Nimrod Antal's addition to the thriller franchise that began with 1987's "Predator" pits a random collection of human warriors and criminals against the invisibility-cloaked aliens of the title, who are out to hunt hominids for sport. The extraterrestrials' chosen hunting ground is a steamy jungle into which each of the earthlings has been unwillingly, and mysteriously, parachuted.

Along with their eventual leader, experienced mercenary Royce (Adrien Brody), this unsavory gang includes—but is not limited to—Israeli Defense Forces sniper Isabelle (Alice Braga), serial killer Stans (Walton Goggins), drug-gang enforcer Cuchillo (Danny Trejo) and Russian Special Forces operative Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov). (Given the premise, you can tell Nikolai has been up to no good in Chechnya even before he mentions it.)

A seemingly incongruous addition to their company is respectable and mild-mannered physician Edwin (Topher Grace).

As this motley crew dodges deadly booby traps, alien warthogs and the daggerlike appendages their pursuers are capable of sprouting at all the wrong moments, they cross paths with Noland (Laurence Fishburne), a slightly addled veteran of the aliens' cat-and-mouse ordeal.

But this encounter turns out to be just a detour in their bloody quest for survival, which sees the group gradually whittled down by impalings, eviscerations and other unpleasant spectacles.

The film contains frequent graphic violence, some of it gruesome, a few uses of profanity and pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service 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 Catholic News Service.



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Robert Bellarmine: When Robert Bellarmine was ordained in 1570, the study of Church history and the fathers of the Church was in a sad state of neglect. A promising scholar from his youth in Tuscany, he devoted his energy to these two subjects, as well as to Scripture, in order to systematize Church doctrine against the attacks of the Protestant Reformers. He was the first Jesuit to become a professor at Louvain. 
<p>His most famous work is his three-volume <i>Disputations on the Controversies </i><em>of the Christian Faith</em>. Particularly noteworthy are the sections on the temporal power of the pope and the role of the laity. He incurred the anger of monarchists in England and France by showing the divine-right-of-kings theory untenable. He developed the theory of the indirect power of the pope in temporal affairs; although he was defending the pope against the Scottish philosopher Barclay, he also incurred the ire of Pope Sixtus V. </p><p>Bellarmine was made a cardinal by Pope Clement VIII on the grounds that "he had not his equal for learning." While he occupied apartments in the Vatican, Bellarmine relaxed none of his former austerities. He limited his household expenses to what was barely essential, eating only the food available to the poor. He was known to have ransomed a soldier who had deserted from the army and he used the hangings of his rooms to clothe poor people, remarking, "The walls won't catch cold." </p><p>Among many activities, he became theologian to Pope Clement VIII, preparing two catechisms which have had great influence in the Church. </p><p>The last major controversy of Bellarmine's life came in 1616 when he had to admonish his friend Galileo, whom he admired. Bellarmine delivered the admonition on behalf of the Holy Office, which had decided that the heliocentric theory of Copernicus (the sun as stationary) was contrary to Scripture. The admonition amounted to a caution against putting forward—other than as a hypothesis—theories not yet fully proved. This shows that saints are not infallible. </p><p>Bellarmine died on September 17, 1621. The process for his canonization was begun in 1627 but was delayed until 1930 for political reasons, stemming from his writings. In 1930, Pope Pius XI canonized him and the next year declared him a doctor of the Church.</p> American Catholic Blog The joy of the Lord is our strength. Therefore, each of us will accept a life of poverty in cheerful trust. We will minister to Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor with cheerful devotion. If our work is done with joy, we will have no reason to be unhappy.

 
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