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Overall Rating

Awesome: 32.63%
Worth A Look47.37%
Average: 9.47%
Pretty Bad: 5.26%
Total Crap: 5.26%

6 reviews, 59 user ratings

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Brotherhood of the Wolf
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by Brian McKay

"Dangerous Liaisons, Hidden Dragon"
5 stars

Well I'll be damned if this isn't the oddest mix of genres I've ever seen. In addition to the films named in this review's title, throw in some LAST OF THE MOHICANS and maybe even a little of THE ROAD WARRIOR, and you get a 17th century French costume drama where everybody is Kung-fu fighting - with some highly watchable results!

Brotherhood of the Wolf is based on the partly historical and partly legendary "Beast of Gevaudan", a creature that killed over a hundred people in the French province of Gevaudan from 1765 to 1767, and was most commonly believed to be some kind of gigantic wolf.

Building very loosely on this premise, Brotherhood of the Wolf introduces us to two shadowy figures who have arrived in Gevaudan in the wake of the attacks, only to come upon a gang of ruffians beating up an old man and his daughter in the middle of a downpour. When one of the figures steps down off of his horse, brace yourself for one of the best stick-fighting red-assed beatdowns in movie history - the first of several amazing fight scenes to come.

The two shadowy figures are soon revealed as Grégoire de Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan), the King's royally appointed taxidermist (I know - "A 17th century martial artist taxidermist?" Just work with me here). His companion is Mani (Mark Dacascos), a Mohican warrior who Fronsac became blood brothers with after Mani rescued him from the British during the war in New France.

Fronsac has been sent by the King to investigate the beast and determine what manner of creature it is. However, as a known libertine, he of course finds time to frequent the local whorehouse and enjoy the services of the lovely and enigmatic Sylvia (Monica Bellucci), while also romancing his newfound "true" love and local nobleman's daughter, Marianne (Émilie Dequenne). Ah yes, every man should keep a whore on the side whilst wooing "The One".

Meanwhile, Marianne's brother, Jean-François (Vincent Cassel), is none too happy with Fronsac's investigation, or with the taxidermist's undue attention toward his sister. While Fronsac deals with political machinations and chases skirt, his partner Mani lays down the law in a number of visually stunning and excellently coreographed fight scenes, each more memorable than the last. Only after he is forced to take action does Fronsac exhibit his own fighting skills, which he presumably learned from Mani. While Fronsac's moves are not as slick as Mani's, his skills are no less formidable.

Contrary to my expectations of a somewhat cheesy B-movie with some cool fight scenes, Brotherhood of the Wolf is a well-made and highly polished film with excellent production values. Even when the story occasionally gets draggy in-between the action, as it deviates into the courting of Marianne or conspiratorial intrigues, there is always something on screen to hold the attention. Whether it be an interesting bit of cinematography, the gorgeous scenery, or noteworthy performances, Brotherhood of the Wolf is sometimes slow, but never boring. And when the fist and feet start flying, it rivals some of the greatest kung-fu movies ever made. The film occasionally gets hokey with the slow-mo shots of Mani in "Mystic Native-American" mode, and the explanation of the beast, while serviceable, is a bit far-fetched. While the computer-generated beast looks good enough to be on par with the rest of the film, its motions still reveal the subtle hints of CGI fakery.

The performances are solid, and Le Bihan is both amusing and compelling in the lead role. However, it's hard for him to not have the show stolen from him by Dacascos, who prefers to let the fists and feet do the talking.

Drive-In Triple Feature Must Save the Village from the Beast (while still finding time to get laid) Picks for Brotherhood of the Wolf:

The 13th Warrior: Ah yes, John McTiernan's adaptation of Michael Crichton's retelling of Beowulf was much-maligned by the critics. I have no idea why, since it fucking rocked. Antonio Banderas plays an Arab scholar who accompanies a crew of rowdy Vikings to protect a village from fearsome man-beast creatures. A very noteworthy performance from Dennis Storhøi as "Herger", the wise-cracking and ass-kicking Northman.

Sleepy Hollow: Okay, I normally can't stand Tim Burton's overly-campy bullshit, but this is one of his better films. Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane has got no kung-fu skillz, but still manages to hold his own against the Headless Horseman. Lovely decapitations abound, plus its got the lovely Christina Ricci and many décolletage shots of her lovely cans.

Given all of the concepts, genres, and homages to other films that director Christophe Gans is trying to squeeze into the film's already bursting two and a half hours, BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF could have turned out to be a huge mess. For some reason, though, it all comes together to create one of the most intriguing films I've seen in a while. Seeing a bunch of guys getting drop-kicked to the head certainly doesn't hurt, either.

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originally posted: 11/05/02 11:44:13
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User Comments

12/15/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Looks great, but it really shouldn't take 2-hours to tell this simple stroy 3 stars
12/26/09 Merlin Cool movie based on real facts, who cares about historical inaccuracy? 5 stars
5/15/07 Bryan Based of History with a twist....GREAT!!!! 5 stars
9/14/06 Booksworm Good plot. Great action.BUT THAT WAS NO DAMN LION! 5 stars
2/12/06 chris f great film 5 stars
8/13/05 ES Fight, fight, fight, monster, fight, conspiracy, fight, RC church, fight, the end 3 stars
6/20/05 K. Sear A fun movie but it tried a little too hard in some places. 4 stars
1/11/05 Elizaveta very odd with a little too much native-american stereotyping. still enjoyable however 4 stars
6/02/04 Jim Possibly the best, and certainly the longest, film about a giant hedgehog. 4 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge Fabooo. Looks like my dogs.Indian guy is hot.Good plot. Me like satanists and beasty thing. 5 stars
12/12/03 adam if you prefer plot driven action over action driven plot you'll love it. 5 stars
8/03/03 Shams Huque Great film visually... two nice action sequences. 4 stars
6/20/03 Sammy i thought the french sucked but they are pretty good at making a film 4 stars
5/22/03 Quinn Better than every french film ever made 5 stars
5/03/03 Gray total historical inaccuracy 2 stars
3/28/03 Stevo mad max+ sleepy hollow+ dangerous liaisons+the relic + crouching tiger= mad as fuck 4 stars
1/10/03 Paul Coleman Spectacular sleeper sensation!! Don't miss this one!! 5 stars
1/08/03 Mitsaso Monica Bellucci should have bigger part. 4 stars
12/17/02 aiken drum Could have ended up a bad cgi movie, but ended up so much more 5 stars
12/12/02 Jem Richards Ridiculous, flashy direction, hilarious (although not intentionally). Who wrote this? 1 stars
11/20/02 Sacre Bleu! About 1/2 hour too long; iffy CGI; average at best 3 stars
11/13/02 m.o.v A delightful change to Hollywood mainstream action movies! Different, smart, beautiful. 5 stars
11/12/02 Fonq35 Wack! It stars Mark "Straight to video " Dacascos.. c'est horrible avec beaucoup de fromage 2 stars
11/07/02 Crouching Randy: Hidden Savage Overly Long, but still in enjoyable flick in the tradition of Hong Kongs Best 4 stars
10/17/02 ownerofdajoint checkthispuppyout 4 stars
10/15/02 Morally Sound One kick ass movie! The bone-sword was slick. 5 stars
10/10/02 JesseL One of the best boogey man movies I have ever seen. 5 stars
10/09/02 spyguy2 Oh that is entertainment! A cool mess of a movie that is totally compelling. 5 stars
10/05/02 rue the whirl a beautiful lobotomy 2 stars
10/02/02 Headshot Very good. Worth a Look 4 stars
4/15/02 james Are you guys high? This is the worst piece of shit movie ever! 1 stars
4/07/02 Jessica Moorleghen a 2 hour respite from anything contemporary 5 stars
3/09/02 trigger amazing visuals, very cool cinematography 5 stars
2/25/02 n6ko tasty, with a hint of rosemary. lavish spread 5 stars
2/23/02 Chris Any movie that has an Iriquois Ninja and Furry fish from Canada gets my vote... 5 stars
2/21/02 Sharlah Green This movie is full of fun and it's so entertaining! 5 stars
2/17/02 malcolm would have been 5 stars if i didn't have to read subtitles. gorgeous from top to bottom. 4 stars
2/17/02 AgentDS Does John Woo have a french clone? 4 stars
2/17/02 Britt This was the worst movie I have ever seen. Seriously. 1 stars
2/16/02 Kisuta Entertaining and excellant visuals 4 stars
2/10/02 Gil Carlson B-, visually stunning, but loopy 4 stars
2/10/02 Monster Mashh I thought this was a movie about Wolf Blitzer's gay love affairs. Thank goodness it wasn't 5 stars
2/06/02 INCUBATOR Very stylish plus beautiful storyline 4 stars
2/05/02 M Baker Very cool 4 stars
2/03/02 Rogue DAMN! 5 stars
2/02/02 David I didn't know American Indians could kick so much ass. 5 stars
2/01/02 Gamps Hollywood meets French filming for a monster movie. Tight. 4 stars
1/27/02 Jimmy James excellent movie! 4 stars
1/25/02 Ron Big disappointment. Way too long (And i like long movies!) incomprehensible ending. Bad CG 2 stars
1/23/02 Jamie Madrox The wasn't a wolf. But ok. 4 stars
1/20/02 Artist Freak Interesting hybrid of horror movie, Matrix style camera work &a French 18th C period piece 4 stars
1/20/02 BttMnch A disappointment. This is one long-ass movie--I couldn't wait for it to end. Overrated. 2 stars
1/19/02 Zac Cook Horrible! The monster looked like it was made on a home computer! Don't see this movie! 1 stars
1/19/02 JJ sucked balls 1 stars
1/17/02 Titus Fascinating, stunning, fun. I didn't want it to end 5 stars
1/15/02 Nyartholep I liked it. A little high on the "That came out of nowhere" factor, but still fun. 4 stars
1/14/02 cool dude the movie was cool 5 stars
1/09/02 Harper Sloane Has everything - Big Wolfs,Kung fu,French 18th costumes and bosoms. Top show 5 stars
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  11-Jan-2002 (R)



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