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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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Louis of France: At his coronation as king of France, Louis IX bound himself by oath to behave as God’s anointed, as the father of his people and feudal lord of the King of Peace. Other kings had done the same, of course. Louis was different in that he actually interpreted his kingly duties in the light of faith. After the violence of two previous reigns, he brought peace and justice. 
<p>He was crowned king at 12, at his father’s death. His mother, Blanche of Castile, ruled during his minority. When he was 19 and his bride 12, he was married to Marguerite of Provence. It was a loving marriage, though not without challenge. They had 11 children. </p><p>Louis “took the cross” for a Crusade when he was 30. His army seized Damietta ini Egypt but not long after, weakened by dysentery and without support, they were surrounded and captured. Louis obtained the release of the army by giving up the city of Damietta in addition to paying a ransom. He stayed in Syria four years. </p><p>He deserves credit for extending justice in civil administration. His regulations for royal officials became the first of a series of reform laws. He replaced trial by battle with a form of examination of witnesses and encouraged the use of written records in court. </p><p>Louis was always respectful of the papacy, but defended royal interests against the popes and refused to acknowledge Innocent IV’s sentence against Emperor Frederick II. </p><p>Louis was devoted to his people, founding hospitals, visiting the sick and, like his patron St. Francis (October 4), caring even for people with leprosy. (He is one of the patrons of the Secular Franciscan Order.) Louis united France—lords and townsfolk, peasants and priests and knights—by the force of his personality and holiness. For many years the nation was at peace. </p><p>Every day Louis had 13 special guests from among the poor to eat with him, and a large number of poor were served meals near his palace. During Advent and Lent, all who presented themselves were given a meal, and Louis often served them in person. He kept lists of needy people, whom he regularly relieved, in every province of his dominion. </p><p>Disturbed by new Muslim advances in Syria, he led another crusade in 1267, at the age of 41. His crusade was diverted to Tunis for his brother’s sake. The army was decimated by disease within a month, and Louis himself died on foreign soil at the age of 44. He was canonized 27 years later.</p> American Catholic Blog God passes through the thicket of the world, and wherever His glance falls He turns all things to beauty. <br />–St. John of the Cross

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