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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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Sharbel Makhluf: Although this saint never traveled far from the Lebanese village of Beka-Kafra, where he was born, his influence has spread widely. 
<p>Joseph Zaroun Makluf was raised by an uncle because his father, a mule driver, died when Joseph was only three. At the age of 23, Joseph joined the Monastery of St. Maron at Annaya, Lebanon, and took the name Sharbel in honor of a second-century martyr. He professed his final vows in 1853 and was ordained six years later. </p><p>Following the example of the fifth-century St. Maron, Sharbel lived as a hermit from 1875 until his death. His reputation for holiness prompted people to seek him to receive a blessing and to be remembered in his prayers. He followed a strict fast and was very devoted to the Blessed Sacrament. When his superiors occasionally asked him to administer the sacraments to nearby villages, Sharbel did so gladly. </p><p>He died in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve. Christians and non-Christians soon made his tomb a place of pilgrimage and of cures. Pope Paul VI beatified him in 1965 and canonized him 12 years later.</p> American Catholic Blog Bluntly put, children are amateur and immature observers. In the short term, they aren’t always attracted to even the best of examples. Only as they move beyond childhood do they come to fully appreciate and emulate their parents’ ways. Much of good parenting doesn’t make its mark until years later.

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