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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

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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Augustine of Canterbury: In the year 596, some 40 monks set out from Rome to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons in England. Leading the group was Augustine, the prior of their monastery in Rome. Hardly had he and his men reached Gaul (France) when they heard stories of the ferocity of the Anglo-Saxons and of the treacherous waters of the English Channel. Augustine returned to Rome and to the pope who had sent them—St. Gregory the Great (September 3 )—only to be assured by him that their fears were groundless. 
<p>Augustine again set out. This time the group crossed the English Channel and landed in the territory of Kent, ruled by King Ethelbert, a pagan married to a Christian, Bertha. Ethelbert received them kindly, set up a residence for them in Canterbury and within the year, on Pentecost Sunday, 597, was himself baptized. After being consecrated a bishop in France, Augustine returned to Canterbury, where he founded his see. He constructed a church and monastery near where the present cathedral, begun in 1070, now stands. As the faith spread, additional sees were established at London and Rochester. </p><p>Work was sometimes slow and Augustine did not always meet with success. Attempts to reconcile the Anglo-Saxon Christians with the original Briton Christians (who had been driven into western England by Anglo-Saxon invaders) ended in dismal failure. Augustine failed to convince the Britons to give up certain Celtic customs at variance with Rome and to forget their bitterness, helping him evangelize their Anglo-Saxon conquerors </p><p>Laboring patiently, Augustine wisely heeded the missionary principles—quite enlightened for the times—suggested by Pope Gregory the Great: purify rather than destroy pagan temples and customs; let pagan rites and festivals be transformed into Christian feasts; retain local customs as far as possible. The limited success Augustine achieved in England before his death in 605, a short eight years after he arrived in England, would eventually bear fruit long after in the conversion of England. Augustine of Canterbury can truly be called the “Apostle of England.”</p> American Catholic Blog When we go through pain it is easy to feel abandoned or forgotten, but suffering doesn’t mean God doesn’t love us, He does. Even Jesus suffered, and He was completely without sin.

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