Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)

Posted in Reviews by - May 16, 2016
Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)

Epic action movie which makes stunning use of its French locales to create a vivid and enjoyable spectacle. Crying Freeman director Christophe Gans pulls out all the stops with this cracking yarn which has only recently received a just and dedicated cult following. It’s the kind of film you could live in for weeks. It is fundamentally a supernatural film, set in the regal refinery of 18th century France, and following the Chevalier de Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan) and his native American friend Mani (Mark Dacascos). They are sent by the King of Gévaudan province to investigate the suspicious killings of the peasant folk, who appear to have been mauled to death by what looks like a mysterious beast.

Gans does well to build up the tension and atmosphere surrounding the unidentified killer with reference to the sort of genre nods you would expect to find in any equivalent Hollywood blockbuster. There are religious elements in which a sacred Catholic ‘brotherhood’ is unearthed to be a crazy cult governed by the beast itself. Then there is a romantic subplot, involving Fronsac’s dealings with a brothel mistress cum secret agent named Sylvia (Monica Bellucci), before he falls for the royal daughter Marianne (Emilie Dequenne). It’s action-packed, too: stylishly edited and expertly coordinated, there is a computer-generated monster and a shed-load of kung fu fighting. Dacascos is the driving force behind the physical stuff, although later in the film even Bihan reveals himself to be something of a martial arts master, whipping out the switchblades and laying waste with impeccable style. Great fun.

AKA: Le Pacte des loups

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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