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Night Watch (2004)

  Tags: dark fantasy, Day Watch, Galina Tyunina, Ilya Lagutenko, Konstantin Khabensky, Mariya Poroshina, Night Watch, Russia, Russian, Timur Bekmambetov, Viktor Verzhbitsky, Vladimir Menshov, Yuri Kutsenko, Zhanna Friske

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Timur Bekmambetov
115 minutes
Zhanna Friske, Yuri Kutsenko, Vladimir Menshov, Viktor Verzhbitsky, Mariya Poroshina, Konstantin Khabensky, Ilya Lagutenko, Galina Tyunina

I have to admit that when I first heard about this movie I didn't really think much of it. I wasn't sure what to expect from a film coming from Russia, but once more word on it broke out and the fact that it'd be getting a US theatrical release later in the year, I thought I'd finally get my hands on a copy of it (an import DVD has been out for a number of months). Maybe I was expecting too much from the film at the start, but I didn't really like the movie all that much. Sure it had some pretty sweet scenes, but I was expecting some kind of battle between the Night Watch and the Day Watch. All I got was a lot of running around and maybe a few kicks here and there. The way I described this film to my friends was it's basically like The Matrix: Reloaded. I say that because it can be confusing as hell at times, there are some sweet effects, and there's barely any action with the exception of a small number of key scenes.

Basically what the director is trying to do here is amp up the viewers to some huge battle, but that doesn't happen anywhere in this film. Essentially the movie ends up being the stripper on your lap that you just wanna touch, but you can't, cuz you'll get your ass kicked by the 7ft bouncer eye-ballin' you the whole time. This movie is the first-part of a trilogy, so this is just the tip of the ice burg from things to come. I have high hopes for the trilogy, but for the first part in it, I have to say I wasn't too impressed. I liked the effects and it had interesting characters, but the movie just overloads us with so many different things at once that it just leaves you confused until two Advil’s later you can piece things together. Here's what's going on in the flick:

Basically there was this big battle centuries ago that involved an army of light and an army of dark. The battle led to no winner, as both armies were equal. They then decided that they will not do any further battles and in order to make sure each side kept up to their word they set up a group of elite men and women to watch over the other. The light had the Night Watch, where naturally the dark had the Day Watch. Present day the two are at a race against each other to find a young boy who they believe is the "chosen one" who will be the strength to turn one of the two armies and edge-up from the other. There is also a sub-plot involving a woman who appears to be the key to some kind of gateway or something. Now the movies are actually based on very popular Russian novels by Sergei Lukyanenko. You can sort of think of this trilogy as the Russian Harry Potter of sorts, especially considering it's one of the most expensive Russian films ever made and did a huge number at the box office. That being said you'd have to expect not to get the story off-the-bat unless you've read the novels.

In the end this movie promises a lot, but delivers very little; At least in this film. I'm sure the two movies following this will make up for it, but as for this film alone I couldn't really get into it. There was just too much dialogue and too much stuff going on for me to understand. Towards the end it makes a little more sense, but there may be a scene or two that'll leave you scratching your head. My advice is to skip seeing this when it hits the US until the sequel is close to follow. At least then you can get the lap dance with a little action soon-to-follow.

A decent movie once you understand all the events that are happening. I wouldn't recommend viewing it until the sequel is close to its release in the US though, otherwise you'll be left with a lot of plot and no action.

Posted on December 8, 2010 - 11:41pm | FrighT MasteR