Sanctuary

  • 1998
  • 1 HR 40 MIN
  • R
  • Action, Crime, Martial Arts

Like out-of-shape contortionists, action movies sometimes bend over backwards in search of new thrills only to find they can't straighten up afterwards. This movie involves a hit man who becomes a priest, then gets bitten by the assassin bug again. Luke Kovak (Mark Dacsacos) is a hands-on cleric who uses brains, not brawn, to help parishioners at his inner...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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Like out-of-shape contortionists, action movies sometimes bend over backwards in search of new thrills only to find they can't straighten up afterwards. This movie involves a hit man who becomes a priest, then gets bitten by the assassin bug again. Luke Kovak (Mark Dacsacos) is a hands-on cleric who uses brains, not brawn, to help parishioners at his inner city church. His former boss, William Dyson (Alan Scarfe), has two compelling reasons to track down errant foot-soldier Luke. Luke was the brightest light in Dyson's homicidal off-shoot of the CIA, and he has videotaped evidence that Dyson sanctioned the murder of his own female operative in order to blackmail kinky Senator Stephen Macguire (Nigel Bennett). Dyson has Luke's pastor shot, which — oddly enough — fails to convince Luke that the expendable life of a Dyson agent is preferable to the steadiness of the priesthood. So Dyson threatens to have his killer SWAT team terminate most of the parish's homeless community — will that be enough to Luke to come in from the cold? In the face of such sloppy filmmaking, all you can do is remove your thinking cap and enjoy Dacascos's martial arts aplomb: The film is so haphazardly structured around flashbacks that Luke appears to be handing out communion wafers and eliminating government officials simultaneously. The only way to tell past from present is by paying close attention to Dacascos's facial hair, and the ending of this mushy stew of things sacred and profane is nothing short of flabbergasting: Suffice it to say that Father Luke gets summoned to the Vatican, abd not for an act of contrition.

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