Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)

brotherhood of the wolf poster 2001 movie
4.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 4/10

Potentially interesting story

Bad acting, bad visuals, overly long and dull

Movie Info

Movie Name: Brotherhood of the Wolf

Studio: Canal+

Genre(s): Action/Adventure/Horror/Martial Arts

Release Date(s): January 31, 2001 (France)/January 11, 2002 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

brotherhood of the wolf beast of gevaudan lion master

There is some craziness going down in France

Something is killing people in the woods surrounding the French province of Gévaudan.  With multiple attempts being made to kill or capture the creature, Grégoire de Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan) and his “brother” an Iroquois named Mani (Mark Dacascos) have arrived to determine the nature and origin of the creature.  With the people growing angry and Louis XV growing frustrated, the hunt for the monster is on…and the truth behind the beast will be discovered!

Directed by Christophe Gans, Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacte des loups or The Pact of Wolves) is a French action-adventure historical horror movie.  The events of the film are based on the beast of Gévaudan which was reported to have attacked and killed people from 1764 to 1767.  The film was met with average to positive reviews and became a massive international hit for France.

brotherhood of the wolf mani mark dacascos

I’m cool, but why am I in this movie (and squandered)

I was pumped for Brotherhood of the Wolf when it was released.  It was a period piece about a cryptozoological monster…plus martial arts.  When I saw it, I was very disappointed.  An interesting story was bogged down by bad acting, poor editing, and a bloated runtime…twenty years later, my takeaway isn’t much different.  Due to aspects of the story, a ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the review.

The speculation and questions surrounding the beast of Gévaudan still exist.  What was this creature?  Was it just a wolf or some strange hybrid?  This movie speculates that the beast was part of a cult and a lion in “monster clothing”.  The story plods along to get to this and about an hour of the film could have been cut out to slim down the time.  The writing feels like generic “period piece” writing and the drama aspects and romance of the movie also come off cold.  It has so much potential and squanders it.

The acting is quite poor by the lead actor Samuel Le Bihan who is very uninteresting through most of the film then turns vigilante superhero at the end.  Mark Dacascos as Mani is the most interesting and developed character but the logic behind an Iroquois knowing martial arts doesn’t make much sense.  Monica Bellucci is as beautiful as ever as the mysterious prostitute and Émilie Dequenne is rather bland as Samuel Le Bihan’s love interest.  The worst casting had to be Vincent Cassel who is so obviously the villain of the movie from the start and there is no shock when he is revealed so.

brotherhood of the wolf beast of gevaudan lion

Oh no! I’m being hunted by a computer animated creature!

Next to the storytelling, acting, and pacing problems, the editing and set décor is horrendous.  The area of Gévaudan is described as a village and it has massive homes of noblemen, giant gothic cathedrals, and a whore house that is filled to the brim with prostitutes which seem to outnumber the men of the region.  The poor computer animation of the armored lion looked bad in 2001, but it looks worse now but it is the editing which really kills the movie.  Fights are chopped together and sloppy (it doesn’t help that the film was released after Crounching Tiger, Hidden Dragon which showed how fights could be choreographed) and the director insists on adding bad slow motion to movie as a means to heighten the fighting.  It has the reverse result…plus, nothing is worse hours into a dull movie when a dramatic slow-mo shooting pumpkins sequence occurs.

Brotherhood of the Wolf is just bad, and that is because of the story’s potential.  The uniqueness of the genre blending and a historical story can’t overcome this for me.  It reminds me a lot in this sense of Ghost in the Darkness which had a similar tale…the story stands on its own and doesn’t need the gimmicks and added drama that padded the overly long film.  The movie is a lot of flash with little substance or action.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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