Empire of the Wiolves aka L’Empire des loups
Jean Reno, Arly Jover, Laura Morante
Directed by Chris Nahon
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
128 minutes

I have all those ideas about the action thriller Empire Of The Wolves, yet I do not know where to begin. First, it’s a French movie by the director of such movies as The Fifth Element (with Bruce Willis) and The Professional, also with Jean Reno. Empire Of The Wolves features impressive performances by a lot of actors and actresses (Jocelyn Quivrin , Arly Jover, Laura Morante) that are unknown to the North-American market, and a plot that will keep anyone guessing until the end. My question right now is: why didn’t I hear about this movie before?

I really wonder why I had never heard about Empire Of The Wolves. When I looked at the DVD box cover, I had no clue as to what I should expect from this political thriller. The title doesn’t give out much of the story and it’s only when you read the back of the DVD box that you figure out why the word Wolf is in the title. The Gray Wolves in this movie are a politically motivated terrorist group from Turkey and they will stop at nothing to reach their goals.

On a continent where French fries have become freedom fries for political reasons, the producers of this movie show us the French can fight terrorism in our post 9/11 world, but in a different way. Sadly, it’s no surprise Empire Of The Wolves with Jean Reno didn’t get the success it deserves here, due to the French bashing going on in the U.S. since France voiced its opinion against the war in Iraq. It’s sad because this action thriller just might teach Americans that intelligent French people can also have a strong sense of justice and that they also want to save the Western World as we know it. Whoever wrote the script for this action thriller surely winks an eye in that direction!

The fact that Empire Of The Wolves is French should have hinted that it won’t be predictable and that the storyline will not be your typical Hollywood scenario where the good guys beat the bad guys. Europeans have a completely different approach to movie making if you compare them to Hollywood. Whereas Hollywood wants to make you feel good, European movies want to bring you into a story where you’ll probably go through all kinds of emotions and you never know if the outcome of the story will be good or not. I don’t mean to give anyone a class in European film, but the plot of this action movie kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. It was like following 4 separate stories and trying to figure out where they connect. The action movie somewhat reminded me of Pulp Fiction, but again, due to its European nature, it was done differently, and in chronological order.

In this particular case, the story of Empire Of The Wolves is based on a novel by Jean-Christophe Grange, and to me this explains why the story is presented like a series of chapters from a good book presenting different characters who only meet in the end, or who don’t have any clear links to one another until you reach the climax of the story.

If you’re looking for a thriller that you can watch with a member of the opposite sex, it’s a great title for a few simple reasons, whether if its for a date or a night with the wife/husband. There’s no sexual hint or “Bond-girl” type of bimbo. The women in Empire Of The Wolves know their way around and help each other. Yet the men still show their strengths and intelligence, and no sex seems to have an advantage. The true winner here is the plot, and this is a story which will bring something to just about any movie buff out there.

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