Blu-ray Review: Brotherhood of the Wolf – Collector’s Edition (2001)

August 28, 2021

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Picture it, France, 1764 a giant beast stalks the lands of Gévaudan and gives zero fucks when it comes to eating women and children.
Enter: the knight Grégoire de Fronsac, (Samuel Le Bihan), the royal naturalist of King Louis XV of France, and his Iroquois/Mohawk martial-artist companion Mani (Mark Dacascos, who’s been in a ton of great stuff, but you doubtless know him as the host of Iron Chef America) two dudes hellbent on figuring out the exact nature of the beast… a beast all who have glimpsed it swear is a giant wolf!
While investigatin’, Fronsac gets the hot n’ hornies for comely Marianne de Morangias (Émilie Dequenne), the daughter of a local count… who just so happens to have a one-armed brother named Jean-François (Vincent Cassel); the victim of a lion attack and a big-time hunter/pain-in-the-ass in his own right. Oh, Fronsac also fucks an Italian, fortune telling prostitute named by Sylvia (Monica Bellucci)… Relationship Status: It’s complicated mother fucker!
Anyway, our hero has serious doubts that a massive pupper is to blame, and after finding a metal fang and hearing tale of a human figure controlling the monster, he deduces that a secret society, the eponymous Brotherhood of the Wolf, may be behind the mayhem… but sleuthing out the why and how may prove to be the end of Fronsac and co.!
What can I say about Brotherhood of the Wolf that would do it justice? How about; holy fuckin’ balls, Brotherhood of the Wolf is awesome (use that in  a press release Scream Factory, I beg you!)… and although many have ripped-off it’s style wholesale, it remains one of the most original and beautiful fright flicks out there!
Writer/director Christophe Gans serves up a heady concoction that comes off as one part fighting video game, one part Hammer flick, and one part anime… add in a dash of pseudo-steampunk, a sprinkle of anachronistic costuming and karate, and a nice slice of comic book visuals and you have the award-wining recipe for a one-of-a-kind creature feature flick that seemed tailor-made for the cosplay and fanfic crowd… except this film hit right before that became a real “thing”…
As hinted above, Gans wears his influences on his sleeve here with dynamic fight scenes and characters that would be at home in the coolest of cool anime productions… not to mention the Final Fight like sequence where Mani shows his stuff against multiple near-twin fighters (trappers armed with Wolverine like claws, female Romany women… ), coupled with period accurate locations and costumes (well for some… things get creative when the need arises), insane transitions (Bellucci’s curves becoming a mountainous, snow covered countryside is a real stand out), and creature effects provided by none other than Jim Henson’s Creature Shop (which provides a life and layers to the creature you won’t believe… ). It’s an example of all win, believe you me cats n’ creeps!
Speaking of “win”, Scream Factory have provided some winning bonus material (contained on a second disc) on this Blu-ray including material from past releases including: a collection of deleted scenes with introduction provided by Gans, a series of three, lengthy behind-the-scenes features that truly document every aspect of the film’s production (and run nearly 3 hours total), and a selection of theatrical trailers!
Dynamic, lavish, fiercely imaginative, bold, and one-of-a-kind, Brotherhood of the Wolf is truly genre filmmaking at it’s finest and shouldn’t be missed!
 

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