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Le pacte des loups
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Reviews & Ratings for
Brotherhood of the Wolf More at IMDbPro »Le pacte des loups (original title)

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Double-Fisted-Kung-Pow-Wow Action!

Author: Malefica Magazine (malefica@reinette.com) from Canada
17 February 2002

When the flyer for Brotherhood of the Wolf first graced my TV screen, I immediately jumped up from the couch and raced to my computer to check out its website. The realization that the film was subtitled did not dampen my excitement. In fact, I was even more intrigued-and frustrated that I would have to wait so long to find out what French film could offer the horror genre. Moreover, I love werewolf movies, and BotW certainly seemed to be one. Would it stand the test of time alongside such greats as The Howling and An American Werewolf in London ?

In a word: no. But not because BotW is a bad film. Actually, it was excellent. Well-acted and suspenseful, this epic kept me guessing right up to the end, even if that end was about a half hour too long in coming. Yet at nearly two and a half hours, it contained enough gore and violence to keep most horror fans tuned in. The opening sequence in which a young woman in ripped apart by an unseen monster was especially gripping. For those viewers also interested in stunning and unusual visuals, this film will certainly satisfy.

Still, it has its problems.

First off, it adds nothing to the horror genre because it isn't really a horror movie at all. Startling and action-packed, yes, but not at all horrific. Call it a...historical forensic film, if you will, with the emphasis on historical. That's where the other problem comes in.

Historical horror is my favorite type. However, 17th century hairstyles and social mores do not accuracy make. Authenticity is paramount. Sadly, BotW blows accuracy out of the water with its Mani character, an Iroquois native transplanted to provincial France.

Don't get me wrong: Mark Dacascos is a great actor, though the casting of an Oriental gent as a North American native will raise some eyebrows. More iffy, however, is the Oriental fighting style this native displays. Imagine Crouching Tiger, Hidden Werewolf , replete with roundhouse kicks and walking up opponents faces very, very quickly. This Kung-Pow-Pow action, as well as a somewhat improbably weapon near the film's finish, sticks out terribly, completely ruining all chance of suspension of disbelief.

That said, Brotherhood of the Wolf is still a good movie. A movie completely misrepresented as a horror and suffering from an overabundance of artistic license, but a good movie nonetheless. As the first film to be reviewed by Malefica, I give it 3 and 1/2 stars out of 5, with a half being docked for length and a full star snipped off for the glaring inaccuracies. But that scene at the beginning...brrrr.

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A mind-blowing, oddball combination in a gorgeous package

Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California
16 February 2002



Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacte des Loups) is a period costume horror martial-arts werewolf movie with political overtones, based on a true story of a beast that terrorized a mountainous region of southwestern France in 1765, killing over 100 people without ever being tracked down and becoming a legend. In the movie it is tracked down, by the heroic and appealing Gregoire de Fronsac, who discovers a subversive cult behind it led by a diabolical priest. Gregoire travels with an American Indian shaman pal named Mani, a cool mystical looking dude who can kick box like you've never seen and can detect your animal spirit by touching your palm. There are not one but two glamorous babes, one a young aristocrat and one a powerful courtesan. There's also a young marquis who's quite charming and who befriends Gregoire and Mani. It's pure cult material, with a preposterous mix of genres. You'd expect something tacky, but it's a gorgeous movie with good actors, good dialogue, and bold and striking cinematography. Is it all a waste of quality on poor material? Not if you give in to it and enjoy it. I guess it's all very twenty-first century. Certainly the sight of kick boxing in lushly reproduced eighteenth-century French crowd scenes is a rare and new thing. So is the high volume high velocity violence. At the moment it seems clear that hardly anybody is going to see the film till it gets to video. The theater was almost empty when I saw it and I had a feeling that the people who came weren't great readers, and may not have been to a movie with subtitles before and weren't at all comfortable with it. It reminded me of when I saw a James Bond movie in a packed Cairo cinema house and had to sit in the front row with fellahin who couldn't read subtitles in French or Arabic or English any other language. How this film got made is a bit of a mystery but obviously the makers looked to The Deerslayer and The Last of the Mohicans for inspiration and not to Eric Rohmer or Jean-Luc Godard, yet brought totally French sensibilities to bear in molding the classy performances and luscious mise-en-scene. I can't say that period horror adventure martial arts movies are my thing, but I wouldn't have wanted to miss such a unique and basically excellent cinematic creation.

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Hey, it's French

Author: Derrick Leach from America
16 February 2002

In 1764 a French town is being ravaged by a beast that kills women in children. Two men try to stop it and become entangled in a battle between God and Nature, "Savage" and "Civilized" and "Good" and Evil. So what is there to say about this film. For one it was a beautifully directed film, so well directed it was almost gaudy. Yet being French much of this 3 hour film was a drawn out and rather pretentious discussion on philosophy and other things. The thing I liked most about this film was its refreshing look at film. It was dramatic, disturbing, and thought provoking all at the same time. While most films are dramatic they lack volume, they lack girth and they lack intelligence. I am beginning to like this winter, where all these great movies are coming out and Brotherhood of the Wolf is one of them. Call me crazy, but I think the French actually did something right! I give this film an A- It had great acting, a great (if sometimes pretentious) script and its action sequences where a feast for the eyes. Go see this movie!!!

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Not bad actually !

Author: Restless Oblivion from Plano, TX
9 February 2002

Very entertaining with some cool action and nice cinematography. If you're a "Thinking Dude" who's looking for a wakeup call or into some deep arty farty type of stuff which makes you think then stay away from this one cos its not for you. But if you're into movies just for the sake of fun and munching some popcorn then go see it . You will love it. Don't mind the subtitles though . 9/10

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P.U.

Author: alc01 from USA
9 February 2002

The camera angles need a barf bag, the plot needed to have been decided before the filming started. In short, it is even worse than "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes". No plot, corny monster, historically in accurate, terrible effects. The French can not make movies. Save your money, stay away.

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A visual feast.

8/10
Author: Rick Peach (samurai_rick@msn.com) from USA
9 February 2002

I knew going into this film that it was going to be something completely different. From the trailers it looked like an action film with some horror undertones. The film turns out to be about a mystery and a very good one at that. First let me say that this film is a visual feast. The atmosphere is amazing. The amount of rain in the opening shots, the mysterious men on horseback, the religious overtones. This film has it all. Some have voiced their opinion about the martial arts fighting in the film. My comment is...why not? Have we reached a point in society where our fiction has to have rules and guidelines. I always thought a good story was a good story. Society has been pre-programmed by films and music, even literature. We see one film we love and then we seem to spend all of our time looking for films with only slight variations. Such as the same story with a different set of actors. Brotherhood of the Wolf is not free from cliches, it merely embraces them in a new visual and fantastical fashion. The director is a new visionary in my opinion. Films should always be original. Brotherhood of the Wolf is proof that even after 100 years of cinema, an original idea is still out there.

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GREAT!

Author: random_ax from chicago
7 February 2002

The movie was VERY Beautiful.....even the violence. I loved the imagery. I do agree it was about 45 minutes too long. It tried a bit too hard to cover too much ground and in doing so might have lost a bit. I liked the way that the protagonists visited a brothel. No namby-pamby nobility. And the eerie countryside!!!! I'm almost sorry about the ending...would've been nice to see the two heroes together again in future adventures.

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Oh no!

6/10
Author: jdawgprod (jdawgprod@hotmail.com) from Milwaukee, WI
7 February 2002

Started off excellent. Camera work and action was great. Then, unfortunately, they showed "The Beast". Big mistake. I felt like I was staring at some stupid Mummy Returns character. The movie itself seemed to be a mix between Last of the Mohicans, Braveheart, Enter the Dragon, with Triple H from the WWF thrown in for good measure. What a disappointment.

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2 Hours and 21 minutes of 90% Extreme Boredom

Author: (guyflick@guyflickgirlflick.com) from Albany, NY
6 February 2002

This is a French film with English subtitles. It is set in 18th-century France which, as we all know, was where everyone fought with kung-fu. They just didn't fight with kung-fu as skillfully as the indians in French Canada. Yaaahhh.

The film is set in a French province where some kind of beast is attacking women and children. It has a bigger jaw than anything France has seen. Hunts are fruitless, and the beast cannot be found and killed, so its killing spree continues. Some think it has supernatural powers, while others don't believe in ghosts. I can't give much more away because there isn't a lot more to give. The film drags on endlessly with more killings, beast hunts, chases and kung-fu fights. It makes me sleepy again just thinking about it. Zzzzzzzzz.

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Squandered potential. . . .

Author: GirlFlick (girlflick@guyflickgirlflick.com)
6 February 2002

In 18th-century France, a mysterious, wolfish beast kills and maims countless people in Gevaudan. Grégoire de Fronsac, his Iroquois friend Mani in tow, is summoned from colonial French Canada to unravel the mystery of this monster, which can seemingly appear and disappear at will. People are in a panic; how can the beast be stopped? And if it can't, what will the king do?

Brotherhood of the Wolf is a sprawling (and I do mean "sprawling") tale of magic, adventure, conspiracy, and intrigue, where things are not as they seem, over and over. The film is stylishly shot; impressive to look at. These 18th-century knights and nobles have apparently had martial-arts training, as just about anyone who fights in a major film post-Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon suddenly does. Some of the ideas in the film are somewhat interesting. For example, a character mentions that a popular book claims the wolflike creature is God's punishment to the king for being overly indulgent toward philosophers. This reminds me of Puritans in Elizabethan and Jacobean England claiming that the bubonic plague was God's retribution against the monarchy for allowing theater to exist and thrive. It's an important element to the film, but the narrative unfolds in such a leisurely, almost episodic way that its potential effect is diluted. When we finished watching this film, I asked, "How old were we when we started watching this film?" So much younger, for sure.

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