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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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Fidelis of Sigmaringen: If a poor man needed some clothing, Fidelis would often give the man the clothes right off his back. Complete generosity to others characterized this saint's life. 
<p>Born in 1577, Mark Rey (Fidelis was his religious name) became a lawyer who constantly upheld the causes of the poor and oppressed people. Nicknamed "the poor man's lawyer," Fidelis soon grew disgusted with the corruption and injustice he saw among his colleagues. He left his law career to become a priest, joining his brother George as a member of the Capuchin Order. His wealth was divided between needy seminarians and the poor. </p><p>As a follower of Francis, Fidelis continued his devotion to the weak and needy. During a severe epidemic in a city where he was guardian of a friary, Fidelis cared for and cured many sick soldiers. </p><p>He was appointed head of a group of Capuchins sent to preach against the Calvinists and Zwinglians in Switzerland. Almost certain violence threatened. Those who observed the mission felt that success was more attributable to the prayer of Fidelis during the night than to his sermons and instructions. </p><p>He was accused of opposing the peasants' national aspirations for independence from Austria. While he was preaching at Seewis, to which he had gone against the advice of his friends, a gun was fired at him, but he escaped unharmed. A Protestant offered to shelter Fidelis, but he declined, saying his life was in God's hands. On the road back, he was set upon by a group of armed men and killed. </p><p>He was canonized in 1746. Fifteen years later, the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, which was established in 1622, recognized him as its first martyr.</p> American Catholic Blog Obedience means total surrender and wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor. All the difficulties that come in our work are the result of disobedience.

 
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