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The Mechanic

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

In "The Mechanic" (CBS), director Simon West's violence-fueled remake of the 1972 thriller starring Charles Bronson, a duo of criminals spend their days planning creative ways to kill people for money -- then executing those plans -- and their nights trolling the brothels of their native New Orleans in search of base physical satisfaction.

An unwholesome daily routine, to say the least, and not one likely to attract an audience of taste.

The heir to Bronson's role as crack assassin-for-hire Arthur Bishop is brooding he-man Jason Statham.

Early on, machinations at the top levels of the shadowy organization for which Bishop works -- presided over by callous company man Dean Sanderson (Tony Goldwyn) -- lead to the murder of Bishop's mentor Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland). That leaves Harry's volatile, ne'er-do-well son Steve (Ben Foster) broke, bitter and spoiling for a fight.

So, somewhat improbably, Bishop takes on the hot-headed lad as an apprentice. But, by contrast to Bishop's methodical approach to his work -- his motto, inherited from Harry, is "amat victoria curam" (loosely, "victory favors the well-prepared") -- Steve proves to be a careless, vengeance-hungry loose cannon.

Though the script by Richard Wenk and Lewis John Carlino -- Carlino also penned the 1972 screenplay -- includes some clever plot turns, these all too often result in blood-spattered scenes of mayhem. Similarly, Bishop and Steve's sleazy encounters with prostitutes in the Crescent City's underworld -- during one of which Steve's taste for brutality in all its forms comes to the fore -- are portrayed with undue explicitness.

The film contains excessive gory violence, some of it sadistic; strong sexual content, including graphic scenes of prostitution, lesbian-themed pornography and nongraphic male homosexual activity; upper female and brief rear nudity; a half-dozen uses of profanity; and much rough 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.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of 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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