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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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Philip Neri: Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. 
<p>At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate. </p><p>As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome. </p><p>At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. </p><p>Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. </p><p>The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.) </p><p>Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.</p> American Catholic Blog We need do no more than we are doing at present; that is, to love divine Providence and abandon ourselves in his arms and heart.<br />—St. Padre Pio

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