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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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All Saints: The earliest certain observance of a feast in honor of all the saints is an early fourth-century commemoration of "all the martyrs." In the early seventh century, after successive waves of invaders plundered the catacombs, Pope Boniface IV gathered up some 28 wagonloads of bones and reinterred them beneath the Pantheon, a Roman temple dedicated to all the gods. The pope rededicated the shrine as a Christian church. According to Venerable Bede, the pope intended "that the memory of all the saints might in the future be honored in the place which had formerly been dedicated to the worship not of gods but of demons" (<i>On the Calculation of Time</i>). 
<p>But the rededication of the Pantheon, like the earlier commemoration of all the martyrs, occurred in May. Many Eastern Churches still honor all the saints in the spring, either during the Easter season or immediately after Pentecost. </p><p>How the Western Church came to celebrate this feast, now recognized as a solemnity, in November is a puzzle to historians. The Anglo-Saxon theologian Alcuin observed the feast on November 1 in 800, as did his friend Arno, Bishop of Salzburg. Rome finally adopted that date in the ninth century.</p> American Catholic Blog Touch can be an act of kindness when someone is dying. If you visit a sick person and find that you are at a loss for words, reach out and touch her hand.

 
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