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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Last Stand

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service


Forest Whitaker and Arnold Schwarzenegger star in a scene from the movie "The Last Stand."
A souped-up Corvette gets more screen time than star Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Last Stand" (Lionsgate), a formulaic shoot-'em-up action flick that marks Schwarzenegger's return to leading-man roles.

Guns go a-blazin' when Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), the leader of a Mexican drug cartel, escapes custody just as he's being sent to death row. He outwits the feds, led by agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker).

Key to the plot, Cortez also is a skilled race-car driver and his Corvette can hit speeds of nearly 200 mph.

He's planning to cross the border at a narrow canyon near Sommerton, Ariz. Out to stop him is the town's sheriff, ex-Los Angeles police officer Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger). Sommerton's a sleepy place and Owens' deputies are clownish until faced with this unprecedented challenge.

Cortez has a hostage in tow, FBI agent Ellen Richards (Genesis Rodriguez), while Owens has his deputies and an ally in local loon Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville).

The big finale includes a car chase through a cornfield and considerable gunfire aimed at an empty school bus. Schwarzenegger doesn't chase the bad guys; they come to him. Convenient that, given his age.

Director Kim Jee-Woon and screenwriter Andrew Knauer stick mostly to the car-chase genre while failing to give Schwarzenegger a single good one-liner, unless you count, "Dese tings are all connected."

Meandering mayhem for the sturdy and mature only.

The film contains considerable violence, including much gunplay, occasional profanity and frequent rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is L—limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions: Lawrence (Lorenzo) was born in Manila of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, both Christians. Thus he learned Chinese and Tagalog from them and Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. He became a professional calligrapher, transcribing documents in beautiful penmanship. He was a full member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary under Dominican auspices. He married and had two sons and a daughter. 
<p>His life took an abrupt turn when he was accused of murder. Nothing further is known except the statement of two Dominicans that "he was sought by the authorities on account of a homicide to which he was present or which was attributed to him." </p><p>At that time three Dominican priests, Antonio Gonzalez, Guillermo Courtet and Miguel de Aozaraza, were about to sail to Japan in spite of a violent persecution there. With them was a Japanese priest, Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named Lazaro, a leper. Lorenzo, having taken asylum with them, was allowed to accompany them. But only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan. </p><p>They landed at Okinawa. Lorenzo could have gone on to Formosa, but, he reported, "I decided to stay with the Fathers, because the Spaniards would hang me there." In Japan they were soon found out, arrested and taken to Nagasaki. The site of wholesale bloodshed when the atomic bomb was dropped had known tragedy before. The 50,000 Catholics who once lived there were dispersed or killed by persecution. </p><p>They were subjected to an unspeakable kind of torture: After huge quantities of water were forced down their throats, they were made to lie down. Long boards were placed on their stomachs and guards then stepped on the ends of the boards, forcing the water to spurt violently from mouth, nose and ears. </p><p>The superior, Antonio, died after some days. Both the Japanese priest and Lazaro broke under torture, which included the insertion of bamboo needles under their fingernails. But both were brought back to courage by their companions. </p><p>In Lorenzo's moment of crisis, he asked the interpreter, "I would like to know if, by apostatizing, they will spare my life." The interpreter was noncommittal, but Lorenzo, in the ensuing hours, felt his faith grow strong. He became bold, even audacious, with his interrogators. </p><p>The five were put to death by being hanged upside down in pits. Boards fitted with semicircular holes were fitted around their waists and stones put on top to increase the pressure. They were tightly bound, to slow circulation and prevent a speedy death. They were allowed to hang for three days. By that time Lorenzo and Lazaro were dead. The three Dominican priests, still alive, were beheaded. </p><p>In 1987, Blessed John Paul II canonized these six and 10 others, Asians and Europeans, men and women, who spread the faith in the Philippines, Formosa and Japan. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first canonized Filipino martyr.</p> American Catholic Blog We don’t have to scrub off our sin so God can love us. Instead, when we allow God’s healing love to touch us, we want to leave sin behind. Growth starts in love, not in guilt.

 
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