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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Faster

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service

When a vintage Chevrolet Chevelle steals scene after scene from the star of the picture, it doesn't take a cinematic connoisseur to sense there's trouble. In fact, in about the time required for that classic vehicle to go from 0 to 60, audiences are likely to realize that what's on the screen in "Faster" (CBS)—a revenge flick tailored for Dwayne Johnson—just isn't entertaining.

As for viewers of faith, they'll probably feel their hackles rising at this vendetta-fueled, mayhem-laden rampage even...well, faster.

Director George Tillman Jr. and screenwriters Tony and Joe Gayton assemble a series of foul cliches and then just let the actors rip. Johnson is the monosyllabic Driver because, you see, that's what he was, the driver for his brother's gang of armed robbers. Driver is just out of prison after serving 10 brutal years, and he's out to avenge his brother's murder by rival criminals.

Wouldn't you know it, he has a list of their names and addresses, and an impeccably polished black-and-white Chevelle (ah, children, now there was a muscle car!) that never seems to need gassing up before it's expertly performing stunts on barren roads and transporting him hither and yon as he shoots a succession of people in the head.

In a particularly gory sequence, Driver stabs one of his victims, and then shoots him later as he's recovering in the hospital.

Preacher (Buzz Belmondo), another of Driver's targets, has made a career change and is now a sincere tent evangelist. But this subplot quickly degenerates into racism-tinged buffoonery.

Trailing Driver are scrofulous drug-addicted detective Billy Bob Thornton (named Cop) and suave British assassin Oliver Jackson-Cohen (called—can you guess?—Killer). Just to make the story more...um ...interesting, Driver, we learn, has a steel plate in the back of his head as the result of an earlier shooting.

Raising the "ick" factor ever higher, the film places young children nearby for many of its violent doings.

The film contains multiple scenes of murderous revenge, slow-motion gun and knife violence, drug use and some profane 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.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.


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Josephine Bakhita: For many years, Josephine Bakhita was a slave but her spirit was always free and eventually that spirit prevailed. 
<p>Born in Olgossa in the Darfur region of southern Sudan, Josephine was kidnapped at the age of seven, sold into slavery and given the name Bakhita, which means <i>fortunate</i>. She was re-sold several times, finally in 1883 to Callisto Legnani, Italian consul in Khartoum, Sudan. </p><p>Two years later he took Josephine to Italy and gave her to his friend Augusto Michieli. Bakhita became babysitter to Mimmina Michieli, whom she accompanied to Venice's Institute of the Catechumens, run by the Canossian Sisters. While Mimmina was being instructed, Josephine felt drawn to the Catholic Church. She was baptized and confirmed in 1890, taking the name Josephine. </p><p>When the Michielis returned from Africa and wanted to take Mimmina and Josephine back with them, the future saint refused to go. During the ensuing court case, the Canossian sisters and the patriarch of Venice intervened on Josephine's behalf. The judge concluded that since slavery was illegal in Italy, she had actually been free since 1885. </p><p>Josephine entered the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa in 1893 and made her profession three years later. In 1902, she was transferred to the city of Schio (northeast of Verona), where she assisted her religious community through cooking, sewing, embroidery and welcoming visitors at the door. She soon became well loved by the children attending the sisters' school and the local citizens. She once said, "Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!" </p><p>The first steps toward her beatification began in 1959. She was beatified in 1992 and canonized eight years later.</p> American Catholic Blog St. Paul talks about the Christian life as a race, and encourages us to run so as to win. So it’s not just OK, it’s commanded to be competitive, to strive to excel. But true greatness consists in sharing in the sacrificial love of Christ, who comes to serve rather than to be served. That means that this race St. Paul is talking about is a race to the bottom.

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St. Josephine Bakhita
Today we honor the first saint from the Sudan, who was a model of piety and humility.

National Marriage Week
During this week especially tell each other how much your marriage means to you.

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Schedule one or more e-cards today to be sent next Sunday.

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Create a festive atmosphere and invite friends over for one last party before the Lenten fast.

Catholic Schools Week
In the Catholic schools, parents know that their children are being formed as well as informed.




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