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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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John of Capistrano: It has been said the Christian saints are the world’s greatest optimists. Not blind to the existence and consequences of evil, they base their confidence on the power of Christ’s redemption. The power of conversion through Christ extends not only to sinful people but also to calamitous events. 
<p>Imagine being born in the 14th century. One-third of the population and nearly 40 percent of the clergy were wiped out by the bubonic plague. The Western Schism split the Church with two or three claimants to the Holy See at one time. England and France were at war. The city-states of Italy were constantly in conflict. No wonder that gloom dominated the spirit of the culture and the times. </p><p>John Capistrano was born in 1386. His education was thorough. His talents and success were great. When he was 26 he was made governor of Perugia. Imprisoned after a battle against the Malatestas, he resolved to change his way of life completely. At the age of 30 he entered the Franciscan novitiate and was ordained a priest four years later. </p><p>His preaching attracted great throngs at a time of religious apathy and confusion. He and 12 Franciscan brethren were received in the countries of central Europe as angels of God. They were instrumental in reviving a dying faith and devotion. </p><p>The Franciscan Order itself was in turmoil over the interpretation and observance of the Rule of St. Francis. Through John’s tireless efforts and his expertise in law, the heretical Fraticelli were suppressed and the "Spirituals" were freed from interference in their stricter observance. </p><p>He helped bring about a reunion with the Greek and Armenian Churches, unfortunately only a brief arrangement. </p><p>When the Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, he was commissioned to preach a crusade for the defense of Europe. Gaining little response in Bavaria and Austria, he decided to concentrate his efforts in Hungary. He led the army to Belgrade. Under the great General John Hunyadi, they gained an overwhelming victory, and the siege of Belgrade was lifted. Worn out by his superhuman efforts, Capistrano was an easy prey to an infection after the battle. He died October 23, 1456.</p> American Catholic Blog When we are linked by the power of prayer, we as it were, hold each other’s hand as we walk side by side along a slippery path; and thus by the bounteous disposition of charity, it comes about that the harder each one leans on the other, the more firmly we are riveted together in brotherly love. —St. Gregory the Great

 
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