Monday, June 26, 2017

"Warlords" (2010): Movie Review

Mr. P.'s Grade: A/A-

Based on the true story of the life of General Pang before he was mysteriously assassinated in 1870, the movie's three main parts provides reflection for military ethics:

1) Even after betrayal by another general, Pang returns to battle his enemies by joining 2 other leaders thus demonstrating virtues of honor and loyalty.  A blood pact is formed among the 3 such that when one harms the other, that one deserves death.

2) After victoriously taking on a force of 4000 with a mere 800, Pang and his blood brothers demonstrate their courage in the face of overwhelming odds.  Yet they are victorious after a few men lead a suicidal front line charge.  The suicide unit provided a glimer of hope for victory.  Later, however, in the next great battle with more troops and fresh supplies, the issue of killing 4000 combat troops that surrender was depicted.  Pang said that they were soliders, and his army only had food for themselves, so he wanted to kill them all.  But if just war doctrine means that surrendered soliders are noncombatants as part of jus in bello criteria, then an alternative to mass killing surrendered soliders should have been examined.  One of the blood brothers protests to keep his word, but 2 of the brothers overrule him, not without resentment on the protesting brother's part.  This forms the backdrop to the final scene.

3) Pang betrays his brother's by pursuing an illicit relationship with one of their mistresses, and she is later killed as a threat to the blood brotherhood.  I was grateful that physical intimacy scenes were not needed to advance the plot.  She bears a Cross around her neck that was found off of a dead solider.  Pang also has one of his blood brothers killed.  The movie's thesis is that political motives led to the eventual death of Pang, aided by the surviving blood pact brother.  By the end of the movie, Pang asks the other blood brother to quickly kill him as he lay dying by gunshot wounds.  This request seems a redemptive value and growth in one of the main characters, Pang.  With this, he seems remorseful displayed honor to his word.

As a side note, Jet Li's acting was superb.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"Homeland (4th Season)": Movie Review

Mr. P's Grade: B-/C+

While I personally love the genre, from a literary philosophical viewpoint, the basic premise of the series is Hobbesian and Machiavellian.  The ends justifies the means of fighting the evils of terrorism.  The brutish, short, nasty and violent world comes emerges in American foreign policy as morally acceptible.  For example, the main character seduces an informant to obtain intel and she also was willing to kill her former boss.  The principle of double effect as an in bello criteria should he explicitly stated in the film.  I did not find maim characters growing in traditional virtues, other than the fine soliders and agents killed in action.  Finally, the film really should remove the sex scenes which amount to a type of soft porn as unnnecessary to advance the plot.  Pagan ethics should not drive America's foreign and military policy, and traditional virtue ethics will help improve the movie.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Ven. Fulton Sheen on "3 Phases of Communism"

Ven. Fulton Sheen on "War & Revolution" (1943)

"Crisis in Christendom: War & Revolution" (Jan. 3, 1943)

Monday, January 23, 2017

"Coriolanus" (2011) Movie Review

Coriolanus (2011)
Grade: A+

SPOILER ALERT!  (Read no further if you do not want to know the ending)

Shakespeare's modified General Martius, military hero of Rome, is betrayed by his own people.  They banish him, but he silences those who condemn him, "!"  He is a type of Christ-like figure who will return in glory to be Judge of the living and the dead.

While in exile, he later allies himself with a former enemy to seek revenge against Rome, only to be swayed from his revenge by his mother and wife.  While not intended by Shakespeare, this image is reminiscent of the Second Coming and Christ's Mother role pleading for mercy for God's weak people.

In the end, his former enemy betrays him once again and slays him.  In sense, the Christ-like figure of General Martius -- Coriolanus -- lays down his life for his weak people showing that a soldier lives and died with honor for the people.

Movie merits a strong A+ life and death scene and depiction of heavy military ethos of honor, courage tempered with mercy, and laying down one's life for others.

(Magnificent acting by Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, and Vanessa Redgrave.)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Fr. Joseph LaFluer, U.S. Army Air Forces (POW Died Enroute from Philppines to Japan)

This Catholic priest-chaplain was assigned to Clark Air Base in the Philippines.
The Philippines was invaded a few hours after Pearl Harbor was bombed.
Lt. LaFluer later died aboard the Japanese POW ship Shinyo Maru in 1942.

(Military Times Hall of Valor:

Official Website:

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The following is used with permission from Deacon Carl Kube.  It will be published in the December newsletter of the Veterans Club in Sun City, Roseville, CA.  The article can be accessed on Page 3 of this link HERE.

Fr. Joseph Verbis LaFleur, Chaplain in WW2

This account is from a homily as heard by Carl Kube as delivered  by Father Frank Lowe, Air Force Chaplain, on Sept. 20, 2016 at  St. Clare Church [Roseville, CA] and also the result of further research.

Fr. LaFleur was a Catholic Chaplain from the United States during WW2 and serving in the Philippines beginning in 1941. He was arrested there and held prisoner by the Japanese for 2 years. During that time he ministered and helped the other prisoners who were sick and emaciated. Fr. Frank Lowe’s father was also a prisoner there. At the time his father was an agnostic (he did not know if there was a God)  but in seeing Fr. LaFleur help the other prisoners he said to himself that if he ever was freed he would become Catholic.

In the prison camp in the Philippines Fr. LaFleur not only ministered to the spiritual needs of the prisoners but also procured cigarettes and extra food for them.  At one point a work detail of prisoners was assigned to fix an air strip - some were greatly emaciated and debilitated. Father LaFleur volunteered to take the place of one of them even though he was not required to do so. Fr. LaFleur told  one of the prisoners who planned to escape that he himself would never escape but that he had a duty to stand by the prisoners until the last one was freed.

In 1944 Fr. LaFleur was sent on a Japanese ship with other prisoners of war from the Philippines destined for Japan. Fr. LaFleur organized the prisoners on the ship who looked to him for leadership. He made sure the meager food and water which was supplied to them was divided equally. They used a tablespoon to do it. At one point he gave up his ration of water to another prisoner who needed it more.  Eventually the ship was accidentally torpedoed by the United States and many prisoners were injured or died. Fr. LaFleur was last seen trying to help the other prisoners to escape the hold of the ship through the hatch.

US Army Major William Sharp said Fr. LaFleur thought of everyone but himself and raised the spirits of the prisoners by caring for them. Major Sharp said he was deserving of the highest commendation and recognition. He has already receive the Distinguished Service Cross, the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. He is under consideration for the Medal of Honor.

Later Frank Lowe’s father escaped and returned home and became a Catholic as he had said he would . His son, Frank, also was Catholic. Frank was so inspired by the story of Fr. Lafleur that he became a priest and eventually a chaplain as well. He has served stateside as well as being deployed to Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq. Father Frank has been a chaplain in the Air Force for 26 years and is now about to retire.

There is a statue of Fr. LaFleur assisting prisoners at St. Landry Parish, Opelousas, LA.Here is the link to a video which tells his story. The account of Fr. LaFleur in prison begins at about 25 minutes.

Here is a link to an article on Chaplain Frank Lowe.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

WW3 "Narrowly" Averted

After I posted my last post about WW3 being averted HERE, I did a search and found this article HERE:

In it, the author talks about WW3 being "narrowly" averted.  I couldn't agree more with this. 

The author of the article is prudently still on guard until Inauguration Day.

Thank you, God, for giving America another chance.