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Posted: 1/22/2002 5:54:35 AM EDT
I saw it last night. Two words of warning: if subtitles and European pacing (2 and 1/2hours +) bother you, or you can't get past the idea that a lot of people in 1760's France know "Hong Kong Action Cinema" kung-fu, avoid this movie like the plague. Everyone else, this movie gets the Spearweasel "two spears up". My first thought upon leaving the theatre was "wow... that'd be a KICK ASS Seventh Sea campaign". The movie has been advertised as though it were about kung-fu werewolves. Thank god, it isn't. It's about the hunt for an actual critter called the Beast of Gevaudan that allegedly killed about 100 people in 1760's France. It wasn't exactly a wolf, and it attacked women and children and had brains enough to flee from men with guns. It was supposedly killed in 1764, but the carcass displayed apparently didn't match what eyewitnesses described. The reality of the story is pretty frikkin' scary... like if Sasquatch ate a lot of people here. This movie adds a healthy dose of Grand Conspiracy and Kung Fu to the mix. The cinematography is uneven. Sometimes it is gorgeous and moody, and then other times there are weird freezeframes and slomo shots, and the sound is a little harsh at times. If you saw "Stigmata" you know what I mean. Most of the time it is fine. Acting is good, dialogue is snappy. The pacing of the story was very European. It never was slow to the point of dull, but parts moved along at a leisurely pace, more concerned with setting the mood than most American movies. I think it is a good thing, as this movie would have sucked as a ninety minute action-er. No explosions to speak of, a few boobs, and one sex scene. The copious fight scenes are pretty standard fare nowadays; high budget, well choreographed, but not entirely needed... they were a wee bit gratuitous, and the story would have worked without the odd Ass-Kick-Foo. As it was, they were still exciting to watch and well done... the florentine swordwork in one of the fight scenes towards the end was just wonderful. Just treat them like exciting little asskick intermissions. The creature is a mix of CGI and models, pretty good FX... you don't see the Beast until later in this long movie, it being shown only in "monster cam" and in the horrified faces of victims, who scream for a long time instead of the usual for monster movies. This thing kills them like a big animal, messy and loud. BRRRRRR. Towards the middle you get to see a little bit of it, a shape moving in the foggy darkness. I won't go further so as not to spoil it, but the thing's shape in the mist oozed menace, and most people in the audience held their breath for a moment. The movie works for what it is, an odd little, moderate budget, well made French monster movie with lots of cinematic martial arts and no stars you'd recognize, except for the guy from the Crow TV show. That being said, go see it and decide for yourself. -Spearweasel
Link Posted: 1/22/2002 6:35:56 AM EDT
I saw the preview for this when I went to see "BlackHawk Down". Looks interesting, and my wife loves gory horror films. Think we've got another date coming up![^]
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