Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov
Written by: Timur Bekmambetov and Laeta Kalogridis
Starring: Konstantin Khabensky, Dmitri Martynov and Vladimir Menshov
Reviewed by: Josh G.
When Russia wanted to create a box-office hit, they planned on producing a trilogy based on novels by Sergie Lukyaneko. The first in this trilogy would be called Night Watch, and it did what it set itself out to do. It was a fantasy action-horror film about the battle between good and evil; light and dark. It went on to become a Russian box-office hit, hence fulfilling its destiny. It was well received by the Eastern public, and eventually made its way over to North America. The vampire film then travelled to my possession. Night Watch. A movie with so much promise, and a recommendation by Quentin Tarantino! What could possibly go wrong? I had to ask.
There are people known as Ďothersí. Good others, who are light. Evil others, who are dark. After a war between light and darkness, Geser (Vladimir Menshov), Lord of the Light, and Zavulon (Viktor Verzhbitsky), General of the Dark, commit to a truce. Neither side will harm anyone of the opposing side, and the people of the world, humans, who are not Ďothersí, cannot be tempted to join sides. They must figure out for themselves whether they will follow evil or good. There are night watchers, who make sure no dark others get out of line, and day watchers to make sure the same is done for the light. Years later, a young man named Anton Gorodetsky (Konstantin Khabensky) finds out that he is also an Ďotherí, and he joins the light side.
Twelve years after that, Anton, part of the Night Watch society, seeks another Ďotherí in the city using pigís blood. He tracks down a boy, Yegor (Dmitri Martynov), who is running around the city, slowly realising he is being followed. Anton finds Yegor held captive by two vampires, lusting for his blood. He ends up killing one of them, but is left badly wounded, with Yegor escaping. His Night Watch accomplices take him to see Geser, who not only heals him, but looks into his mind. Anton had seen something disturbing on the subway chase for Yegor. A woman with a curse, who brings bad luck with her wherever she goes, has to be found immediately, before thousands, or maybe millions are accidentally killed! Which side will Yegor align with? What will happen to the people in contact with the cursed lady? Is the other vampire still out there, searching for blood? What are her intentions? How far will either side go to ensure that the prophecy is or is not fulfilled? Whatís the prophecy?
Will the questions ever end? Surprisingly, yes. Going into Night Watch, I was frightened that a review would be impossible to produce. Luckily, I understood most, if not all of the things gracing the screen. This high budgeted fantasy is filled with terrific CGI effects, an intriguing complex plot, and characters that will keep your focus for the duration of the film. Nearing two hours, itís evident that the makers wanted to include much more than what ultimately was chosen to be in it. Of course, now we know why there are sequels. Whatís wonderful about Night Watch is the mixture and variety of different character types. Vampires, witches, shape-shifters, and others among others. Itís an odd world that you have to take in. You canít go in anticipating for the story to be spelled out for you. You need to take down every little thing that is presented, or else you could find yourself trying to keep up. There is a high amount of action, and blood is spewed in quick shots, though not in bulk. There wonít be any cringing, at least as far as gore is concerned. Overall, however, is a different story.
Night Watch takes a huge hit towards the end. The story with the boy, Yegor, ends in a messy fashion, and his decision as to which side he chooses, light or dark, is completely opposite of what he appeared to be favouring just moments before. It feels as if there are two or three stories going on at once, except with the same characters. The division between light and dark is easy to see, but the leaders, Geser and Zavulon, confront each other as if they were longtime acquaintances. The mythology of the vampires is not brought up much, but from what we do get, itís an interesting bit with mirrors and flashlights! Twentieth Century Fox released this on DVD, loaded with special features, and an attractive cover art. The problem with Night Watch lies with the incoherency. There are some entertaining fight scenes, amazing creative themes, and a new take on the power of good versus evil. If I were to grade for effort, Night would receive an ĎAí plus! Based on the overuse of violence and the far out concept, it fails to deliver anything worthwhile of your time. If youíre a fan of modern visual flicks, give it a cautious try. For the majority, Iím sad to say, Night Watch is a Night Skip with too much compacted into one. Nice try though. Trash it!
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