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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Escape Plan

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger star in a scene from the movie "Escape Plan."
While it may be more intelligent than many of its genre peers, the actioner "Escape Plan" (Summit), which pairs Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, is also too harsh for all but the hardiest viewers.

Stallone plays Ray Breslin, an expert on prison security who poses as an inmate to test each institution he investigates. Ray gets more than he bargained for, however, when—at the apparent behest of the CIA—he goes undercover in a privately run maximum-security jail that does not officially exist.

That's because the lockup's cruel warden, Willard Hobbes (Jim Caviezel), who used Ray's own textbook to design the place, knows his real identity but refuses to treat him as anything other than an ordinary convict. Poor old Ray, it seems, has been double-crossed this time and left to rot.

Enter Schwarzenegger as Emil Rottmayer, the slammer's top dog. He joins forces with Ray and together they search for flaws in the system that could help them both fly the coop.

Working from a script by Miles Chapman and Arnell Jesko, director Mikael Hafstrom uses Ray's Sherlock Holmes-like observational skills to good effect, adding a bit of substance to the mayhem. His picture also implicitly raises real-life issues about the treatment of captured terrorists and other criminals.

But brutality abounds in the movie's main setting. Inmates brawl among themselves, masked guards beat their charges with gusto, and Hobbes has the sadistic COs under his command work Ray over nightly to break his spirit by depriving him of sleep.

Ray and Emil also stage fights to foster their escape plan; ironically, isolation cells, Ray has found, are usually the weakest point in any penitentiary. So the basic question remains how much pleasure or edification moviegoers will derive from watching the former governor of California head-butt Rocky.

The film contains constant violence, much of it gory, an implied nonmarital situation, a revenge theme, much rough and crude language, a coarse joke and a couple of obscene gestures. 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.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Robert Bellarmine: When Robert Bellarmine was ordained in 1570, the study of Church history and the fathers of the Church was in a sad state of neglect. A promising scholar from his youth in Tuscany, he devoted his energy to these two subjects, as well as to Scripture, in order to systematize Church doctrine against the attacks of the Protestant Reformers. He was the first Jesuit to become a professor at Louvain. 
<p>His most famous work is his three-volume <i>Disputations on the Controversies </i><em>of the Christian Faith</em>. Particularly noteworthy are the sections on the temporal power of the pope and the role of the laity. He incurred the anger of monarchists in England and France by showing the divine-right-of-kings theory untenable. He developed the theory of the indirect power of the pope in temporal affairs; although he was defending the pope against the Scottish philosopher Barclay, he also incurred the ire of Pope Sixtus V. </p><p>Bellarmine was made a cardinal by Pope Clement VIII on the grounds that "he had not his equal for learning." While he occupied apartments in the Vatican, Bellarmine relaxed none of his former austerities. He limited his household expenses to what was barely essential, eating only the food available to the poor. He was known to have ransomed a soldier who had deserted from the army and he used the hangings of his rooms to clothe poor people, remarking, "The walls won't catch cold." </p><p>Among many activities, he became theologian to Pope Clement VIII, preparing two catechisms which have had great influence in the Church. </p><p>The last major controversy of Bellarmine's life came in 1616 when he had to admonish his friend Galileo, whom he admired. Bellarmine delivered the admonition on behalf of the Holy Office, which had decided that the heliocentric theory of Copernicus (the sun as stationary) was contrary to Scripture. The admonition amounted to a caution against putting forward—other than as a hypothesis—theories not yet fully proved. This shows that saints are not infallible. </p><p>Bellarmine died on September 17, 1621. The process for his canonization was begun in 1627 but was delayed until 1930 for political reasons, stemming from his writings. In 1930, Pope Pius XI canonized him and the next year declared him a doctor of the Church.</p> American Catholic Blog The joy of the Lord is our strength. Therefore, each of us will accept a life of poverty in cheerful trust. We will minister to Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor with cheerful devotion. If our work is done with joy, we will have no reason to be unhappy.

 
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