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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Warrior's Way

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

The West was never wilder than it is in "The Warrior's Way" (Relativity), Korean writer-director Sngmoo Lee's genre-melding U.S. feature debut.

But, while it starts out as a conversion story, this frequently striking piece of cinema—a larger-than-life blend of martial arts, duels in the sun and operatic emotion—winds up graphically celebrating the very violence its hero has ostensibly rejected.

Said hero—a Samurai named Yang (Jang Dong-gun)—is the world's greatest swordsman, a fighter trained from childhood to kill without remorse. His stony heart is touched, however, when his murderous path leads him to the infant girl who is the lone survivor of a rival clan.

Yang's decision to spare the baby is viewed as an act of treachery by his own allies, a gang known as the Sad Flutes, and by their leader—and his mentor—the Saddest Flute (Ti Lung). So Yang escapes and seeks out an old friend who had emigrated to the American frontier.

Arriving at his destination, a ramshackle crossroads called Lode, Yang learns that his erstwhile pal is dead. But the circus folk who inhabit Lode—including warmhearted little person Eight-Ball (Tony Cox) and amiable town drunk Ron (Geoffrey Rush)—are welcoming enough, while spunky local lass Lynne (Kate Bosworth) proves a further draw.

Yang's newfound resolve to remain peaceable is swiftly put to the test, however, when the demonic Army colonel (Danny Huston) who slaughtered Lynne's family when she was a girl—and nearly raped her—returns in a bid to wreak fresh mayhem.

The confrontations which follow, though highly choreographed, are nonetheless gore-soaked, with veins spurting and heads and limbs hacked off with Ginsu-style precision. The moral waters are further muddied by the script's implicit endorsement of Lynne's quest for revenge against her vile, inhuman persecutor.

The film contains excessive bloody violence, the attempted rape of a minor, a vendetta theme, about a half-dozen uses of profanity and a few crude and crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is O—morally offensive.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.


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James of the Marche: Meet one of the fathers of the modern pawnshop! 
<p>James was born in the Marche of Ancona, in central Italy along the Adriatic Sea. After earning doctorates in canon and civil law at the University of Perugia, he joined the Friars Minor and began a very austere life. He fasted nine months of the year; he slept three hours a night. St. Bernardine of Siena told him to moderate his penances. </p><p>James studied theology with St. John of Capistrano. Ordained in 1420, James began a preaching career that took him all over Italy and through 13 Central and Eastern European countries. This extremely popular preacher converted many people (250,000 at one estimate) and helped spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. His sermons prompted numerous Catholics to reform their lives and many men joined the Franciscans under his influence. </p><p>With John of Capistrano, Albert of Sarteano and Bernardine of Siena, James is considered one of the "four pillars" of the Observant movement among the Franciscans. These friars became known especially for their preaching. </p><p>To combat extremely high interest rates, James established <i>montes pietatis</i> (literally, mountains of charity)--nonprofit credit organizations that lent money at very low rates on pawned objects. </p><p>Not everyone was happy with the work James did. Twice assassins lost their nerve when they came face to face with him. James died in 1476 and was canonized in 1726.</p> American Catholic Blog We all have fears, but we don’t have to be afraid. Jesus is always with us to protect us and give us courage. We only have to remember that the battle is the Lord’s. When Jesus gives us the victory, let’s be sure to thank Him and praise Him for what He has done.

 
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