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Let's evaluate heroes of two cities: Vatican and Sin

| Monday, April 11, 2005

It's time to evaluate heroes of two cities: Vatican and Sin.

Role: In the movie "Sin City," Bruce Willis plays Hartigan, the only honest cop in nightmarish Basin City. For 27 years, John Paul II was the only pope in the Catholic Church. Toss-up.

Ambiance: "Sin City" is a bleak story of grotesque killings and torture, along with rape, pedophilia, cannibalism and other horrors. Hope is only a fleeting glimmer amid the murk; courage turns out to be a booby trap. Fittingly, Hartigan's Basin City is ugly and gloomy.

John Paul's Vatican City is in sunny Rome, and it's full of magnificent art.

Edge: John Paul

Costumes: "Sin City" is full of actresses in scanty black outfits. Vatican City is full of elderly cardinals in red robes. Edge: Hartigan

Enemies: Hartigan must cope with crooked cops, an evil senator and the senator's psychopathic son. John Paul faces down real Nazis and Communists, and evil and misery around the globe. Edge: John Paul.

Bullets: Hartigan is shot numerous times, with comic-book bullets. John Paul is shot twice, with real bullets. Edge: John Paul.

Pay: The Hartigan role earned Willis millions. John Paul gave away money

he earned. Edge: Hartigan

Suffering: Hartigan is also hanged, beaten and falsely imprisoned as a child molester. John Paul breaks his hip, has Parkinson's disease, and even into his 80s must cope with one of the most demanding jobs in the world. Edge: John Paul

The end: In despair, realizing that his heroism is futile, Hartigan blows his brains out. John Paul never gives in to suffering or despair. Edge: John Paul.

Audiences: "Sin City" was the number one movie its first weekend. The millions who saw it were assaulted with death, ugliness and hopelessness, not to mention cliches and corny dialogue.

The pope's funeral was attended by millions in Vatican City and Rome, and seen by hundreds of millions on television across the world. The pope's example plainly filled many people with hope and courage. Edge: John Paul

Finally tally: Hartigan 2, John Paul 6.

It's no wonder that they're already casting the lead for the sequel to "Vatican City."

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