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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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Martyrdom of John the Baptist: The drunken oath of a king with a shallow sense of honor, a seductive dance and the hateful heart of a queen combined to bring about the martyrdom of John the Baptist. The greatest of prophets suffered the fate of so many Old Testament prophets before him: rejection and martyrdom. The “voice crying in the desert” did not hesitate to accuse the guilty, did not hesitate to speak the truth. But why? What possesses a man that he would give up his very life? 
<p>This great religious reformer was sent by God to prepare the people for the Messiah. His vocation was one of selfless giving. The only power that he claimed was the Spirit of Yahweh. “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). Scripture tells us that many people followed John looking to him for hope, perhaps in anticipation of some great messianic power. John never allowed himself the false honor of receiving these people for his own glory. He knew his calling was one of preparation. When the time came, he led his disciples to Jesus: “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’ The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus” (John 1:35-37). It is John the Baptist who has pointed the way to Christ. John’s life and death were a giving over of self for God and other people. His simple style of life was one of complete detachment from earthly possessions. His heart was centered on God and the call that he heard from the Spirit of God speaking to his heart. Confident of God’s grace, he had the courage to speak words of condemnation or repentance, of salvation.</p> American Catholic Blog Just as my children become members of my family when I bring them into the world, so too our baptism incorporates us into the family of the Church. This supernatural membership prevents us from being orphans who have to fend for themselves in the spiritual wilderness.

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