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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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Maria Goretti: One of the largest crowds ever assembled for a canonization—250,000—symbolized the reaction of millions touched by the simple story of Maria Goretti. 
<p>She was the daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write. When she made her First Communion not long before her death at age 12, she was one of the larger and somewhat backward members of the class. </p><p>On a hot afternoon in July, Maria was sitting at the top of the stairs of her house, mending a shirt. She was not quite 12 years old, but physically mature. A cart stopped outside, and a neighbor, Alessandro, 18 years old, ran up the stairs. He seized her and pulled her into a bedroom. She struggled and tried to call for help. “No, God does not wish it," she cried out. "It is a sin. You would go to hell for it.” Alessandro began striking at her blindly with a long dagger. </p><p>She was taken to a hospital. Her last hours were marked by the usual simple compassion of the good—concern about where her mother would sleep, forgiveness of her murderer (she had been in fear of him, but did not say anything lest she cause trouble to his family) and her devout welcoming of Viaticum, her last Holy Communion. She died about 24 hours after the attack. </p><p>Her murderer was sentenced to 30 years in prison. For a long time he was unrepentant and surly. One night he had a dream or vision of Maria, gathering flowers and offering them to him. His life changed. When he was released after 27 years, his first act was to go to beg the forgiveness of Maria’s mother. </p><p>Devotion to the young martyr grew, miracles were worked, and in less than half a century she was canonized. At her beatification in 1947, her mother (then 82), two sisters and a brother appeared with Pope Pius XII on the balcony of St. Peter’s. Three years later, at her canonization, a 66-year-old Alessandro Serenelli knelt among the quarter-million people and cried tears of joy.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, may the medals we wear be constant reminders of the lives they depict. While wearing them, may we be blessed through the saints’ intercession and protected from harm. Help us to continue to spread the messages of Jesus and Mary and the saints and angels.

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