Christophe Gans, Le Pacte des loups
/ Brotherhood of the Wolf
What a strange mismatch of stylings — there’s period-piece bodices and French frills with Predator
action and martial arts gymnastics and all the modern editing techniques that go with it. There’s a Name of the Rose
hero with an Indian American sidekick, and sloppails full of Indian mythology and totemology. There’s libertines and sly marchionesses, there’s mock-devil-worshipping African bestiaries, secret anti-royalist societies, corrupt intrigues and brigandry. And lots of damsels sacrificed to a suspiciously animatronic beast. Pack it all together with incohesive and occasionally obtuse narrative directions, stage some really obvious set-piece fights with one guy beating twenty others and that very annoying stop-start-staggered-speed editing John Woo pioneered (methinks), add a few cuts and torn tunics and near-deaths and that’s it. Some blatant 'hey, where’s the good guy gone when the sidekick gets it?' gaffs. I dig genre splicing when it works, but this is going overboard. It could’ve been the lousy dubbing that did it for me, with a Donald Sutherland type mouthing mealy philosophy and mock-wit in very murky translation. It could all have been played for broadly comic cynicism or genre jokes but in the end it ends up looking like an expensive and very un-serious movie that isn’t halfway as cool as the by-lines say. Too big for its own britches. Not enough yucks. Why would someone bother borrowing this wasteful turd? Maybe Monica Bellucci
had something to do with it. Hm yum. I rest my case.