The Brotherhood of the Wolf
aka Le Pacte des Loups

The Brotherhood of the Wolf

France, 2001. Rated R. 142 minutes.

Cast: Samuel Le Bihan, Mark Dacascos, Vincent Cassel, Emilie Dequenne, Monica Belluci, Jérémie Rénier, Jean Yann, Jean-François Stévenin, Jacques Perris, Johan Leysen, Bernard Farcy, Edith Scob, Eric Prat, Philippe Nahon, Virginie Darmon
Writers: Stéphane Cabel, Christophe Gans
Music: Joseph LoDuca
Cinematographer: Dan Laustsen
Producers: Richard Grandpierre, Samuel Hadida
Director: Christophe Gans


Grade: B Review by Carlo Cavagna

A  naturalist and his mysterious sidekick are dispatched by the King of France to the province of Gevaudan to hunt down a wolf-like beast that has been terrorizing the countryside. An action/horror romp inspired by an actual legend, The Brotherhood of the Wolf… No, scratch that. The Brotherhood of the Wolf is a costume drama… No, wait, it's a comedy… No, hang on, it's a fantasy/adventure… No, a romance…. No, wait, Our Hero just shacked up with a prostitute--it's an erotic thriller! No, it's definitely a martial arts film… No, a historical…religious…mystical… No, a spoof! Wait, no, it's The Musketeer! No, The Last of the Mohicans! No, I've got it now, it's Sleepy Hollow! Or maybe more like From Hell… No, it's The Messenger! Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon! No, wait, it's Eyes Wide Shut! No, no, it's Kickboxer! No, it's Dangerous Beauty! Hang on, we're back to The Last of the Mohicans. No, Greystoke. No, it's Kung Pow: Enter the Fist! No…

The Big Picture
ratings explained

It's French. It's got some guy named Samuel Le Bihan running around. He's got sort of a young, blond, Christopher Lambert thing going on. It's got Emilie Dequenne, who's got a pile of awards for Rosetta, including Best Actress at Cannes. She's chosen a completely ornamental role and looks about eight years younger than she actually is, and she's only twenty. It's got European superstar couple Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel. Bellucci (Malena) tries to be sultry, and succeeds; Cassel (the upcoming Birthday Girl) tries to be intimidating, and fails, coming off only slightly less silly than his wacky Duke of Anjou in Elizabeth. Did you know the French think he's hot and studly? Amazing.

It's got costumes remaindered from Eyes Wide Shut and choreography remaindered from The Matrix. It's got bad guys who belong in a different millennium, like in the opening battle in Gladiator. It's got dreadful creature effects from Jim Henson's Creature Shop. It's got philosophy. It's got the Age of Reason and the Reign of Terror. It has Things to Say about racism. It's got wolves. Lots and lots of wolves. It's got papal intrigues and revolutionary scheming. It's got a Native American. Played by a Hawaiian dude. Named Mark Dacascos. The star of American Ninja and Kickboxer 5. He can't act, but he can sure kick butt.

What a ridiculous film this is. What a brazenly, aggressively, stupendously ridiculous film! In the pantheon of ridiculous films, this is up there with Tremors and They Live. In fact, this goes beyond Tremors and They Live, which, despite their absurdity, were quite content to stick to a limited action/horror mode. The Brotherhood of the Wolf is a little long, perhaps, but worth seeing for its unique, nutty mélange of genres and styles.

Review © January 2002 by AboutFilm.Com and the author.
Images © 2001 Universal Studios and Davis Films. All Rights Reserved.

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