January 10th, 2012
Everybody loved The Matrix, right? I did, and I’m pretty sure I speak for the majority of genre fans when I say that it kicked ass with it’s stylistic camera work, gritty futuristic locales, and non-stop kung fu action! Okay, so take The Matrix. Now put it in 18th century France, add werewolves and bloodthirsty villagers, and pretend Neo is a Kung Fu wielding Native American and you have the masterpiece, Brotherhood of the Wolf. Or as an Amazon.com user review said, “A cross between “The Last of the Mohicans” and “Couching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” You’re probably saying this setup sounds strange, huh? Well, it is! However, don’t expect The Matrix when you see this film. Although it shares its magnificent action and a great storyline all its own, BotW doesn’t rely on special effects (at least initially) to reel the audience in.
BotW is based on an actual legend of a creature believed to be a wolf which ravaged the French countryside in the 18th century. In the beginning of the film, we are introduced to french scientist Grégoire de Fronsac (Le Bihan), who travels Europe with his mysterious Native American companion Mani (Dacascos). The movie gets started pretty quickly as we learn that the town they have arrived at has been plagued by several unsolved and very brutal murders. Fronsac agrees to investigate and soon discovers that something just ain’t right with the whole werewolf debacle! The few eye witnesses that survived the attacks all say that something resembling a wolf-man is to blame. The more Fronsac begins to uncover, the more something far worse seems to unveil itself. We have shady politicians and governors who want these attacks to cease quickly, and will take any evidence that the beast is dead to officially close the case, even if it means lying to the public. Which is exactly what happens!
The action sequences are awesome, in which the character of Mani really shines. He is like a cross between the Crow, Jackie Chan, and that bad Huron warrior from The Last of the Mohicans. Le Bihan’s Fronsac is equally impressive in his own right as the 18th century CSI detective, and is even better when he goes ballistic towards the end of the film! The CGI later on is excellent as well! I won’t give it away though. A lot of good solid action, great twists and turns, and great camera work make BotW a hit! Monica Bellucci is very good too as the deadly yet hot as hell “prostitute” with whom Fronsac fools around with on a daily basis! Aren’t French people great?! Bottom line, see this flick! If you liked: Blade, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, the Matrix, the Crow, or Underworld, you owe it to yourself to see Brotherhood of the Wolf! The only downside, if you can call it a downside is that it’s in French with English subtitles. You have the option to put it into English, but the voice acting is sub-par, and is much better viewed in French, as you forget your even reading subtitles after about ten minutes.
5 out of 5