The French film "The Brotherhood of the Wolf" ("Le Pacte des Loups"), directed by Christopher Gans, tells the myth of the Beast of Gevaudan. The film includes the genres of both horror and action, jumping from one to the other, rarely melding the two.
Set in 18th century France under the leadership of Louis XV, Gregoire de Fransac, played by Samuel Le Bihan and Mani, played by Mark Dacascos, are hired by the King to hunt down and kill a beast.
Mani, a Native American Shaman and Gregoire, a naturalist, ride the countryside tracking down the beast, find the remains of those it has killed, and end up doing a lot of fighting.
Some of the fighting is impressive, but most of it has already been done in films such as "The Matrix," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and anything Jackie Chan or Jet Li have starred in.
The film continually moves back and forth between scenes of the beast, Gregoire talking about the beast and Gregoire falling in love with a wealthy aristocrat. It is as if "The Brotherhood of the Wolf" is broken down into 20-minute sections of good, evil, hand-to-hand combat and romance.
First we see the beast tearing the guts out of some unlucky guy. Then, we see Gregoire trying to get into the pants of Marianne de Morangias, played by Emilie Duquenne, whose family is hiding the secret of the beast.
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Some of the violence in the film is exceptionally memorable, producing some of the best gore on the big screen in a while.
The gore is emphasized by the use of slow motion, which is used more in the film than any other film from last year.
Inevitably, after the 10th time it becomes ridiculously predictable. It is only effective during some of the fight scenes, as it adds emphasis to the action of the actors.
One particularly memorable moment involves a woman being attacked by the beast.
At this point in the film, the slow motion is predictable, but the director Christopher Gans takes it one step further.
He freezes the girl's face, giving the feeling of something happening with the film reel. This is an ingenious idea, which brings more emotion and sympathy for the character that is about to get ripped in half.
"The Brotherhood of the Wolf" may be a masterpiece in Europe, but it is really a film that has been hyped up entirely by the trailer. If you have seen the trailer, then you have seen some of the best action in the film.
"The Brotherhood of the Wolf" is a loose film that never seems to stick with a single manageable plot.
The plots that do develop almost never have anything to do with the main conflict of good versus evil.
For the most part, the film revolves around the hunting and killing of a mysterious and elusive beast that is too fast to even be seen.
But, of course, there is a love story that seemingly has nothing to do with the rest of the film and seems to only be there to add time to the film and punish the audience.
There are some hidden gems, but they are hard to find. The film is worth seeing, if not for the fight sequences, then for the great sword at the end. See it when it goes to the dollar theater.