I've seen one too many French films in the
last 12 months, and with “Brotherhood of the Wolf” looking
promising, I figured what the hell? I'll check this one out, too.
Unfortunately, it sucked. I will grant that
the film is well shot. However, this film being bad may be shocking
to some of you (and myself) who thought that the preview was pretty
cool. The reasons are quite simple.
1. S l o w m o t i o n
Look, I'm fucking sick of slow motion. When
I saw “The Killer” more than ten years ago, I liked slow-motion a
lot. Back then (1990), it was called slow motion. Now, it's
usually called “bullet time” in action films, and it is so overused
it can cause temporary motion sickness. “Brotherhood of the Wolf”'s
first action scene features one of the heroes, Mani (Mark Dacascos),
whooping the ass of five or six peasants on a rainy countryside.
Although it might have taken 30 seconds in real time, director
Christophe Gans decided it would look cooler to show roundhouse
kicks in super-slo-mo, then speed up to real-time speed for the
follow-through. This wasn't a bad idea...for the first kick. But,
because Mani throws more than 20 kicks in this first fight scene, it
takes almost five minutes of movie time.
2. No action...in an action film
Hey, admit it: the trailer made this one
look like it had some action in it, right? Nope. There are four
action scenes in TWO AND A HALF HOURS. The three guys sitting off
to my left kept doing fake yawning sequences every time the film had
more than ten minutes of useless dialogue scenes. This film is more
period drama than action film, since there are so many boring scenes
with the regal-looking hero Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan) smiling at
politicians. The plot? Something about a crazy wolf that keeps
eating women and children. Yeah...if you could go ahead and slit my
wrists, that would be great...yeah...
Like any good, BAD action film, this film
takes time out to provide whores for the “heroes” in the movie.
Now, maybe in the real history of the depicted events of the film
(apparently based on true events from the 1760s), these heroes liked
to pay for sex in their spare time. These scenes alone add 20
minutes to the film. Why??? Oh, and in case you were wondering:
yes, the head whore of the brothel is a fat, white lady. Movie rule
#7549: Make the brothel head a fat, white lady.
4. Utter ridiculousness
Although Fronsac doesn't even throw a punch
for the first two hours of the film, he becomes a white Bruce Lee in
the film's final 30 minutes, literally obliterating about 30
evildoers with his fists of fury. Odd...this is SUPPOSED to be a
guy that is only good at taxidermy and philosophy. Much like a bus
driver that is a former Navy SEAL, “Brotherhood of the Wolf” seems
to revel in making it up as it goes along.
5. The token minority partner
Now, again, it is possible that in real
life, Fronsac's partner was a minority. But, that didn't matter to
me, because Mani has got it coming from the second he walks on
screen. He is an Iroquois Indian, and he has almost no lines in the
film, but he whoops ass real good. Don't worry, I don't ruin it for
you by telling you that he dies; what is better than that, though,
is that Fronsac, upon witnessing his partner's death, gets the
chance to do the “Scream to the Sky” routine that is so common in
the modern action film. You know what I am talking about: Lead
character looks down at dead fallen partner...holds his head in his
hands...looks up at the sky...screams (in varying languages) WHY
GOD...WHY!!!!!!!! Classic. The best of these scenes, by far, is in
the bad Tom Sizemore “horror” film “The Relic.”
If you can watch this for free, then it
might be worth it.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard