Night Watch Timur Bekmambetov

Night Watch Timur Bekmambetov
A trilogy is a pretty daunting project to try and pull off, especially in Russia, where the best-known action/adventure film to date is... anybody? Learning from past examples, there are obvious themes to follow that will certainly help, but you’d think trying to make the first film as engaging and comprehensible as possible would be the main objective. Night Watch (aka Nochnoy Dozor) must have missed that memo because what unfolds before your eyes is utterly problematic. Telling the (vague) story of a society in which the light and dark have clashed and are under the threat of a prophecy that, if fulfilled, will bring the apocalypse, Night Watch is not compassionate in its attempt at narration. We are told that humanity is under the alert eye of the Night Watch, a gifted group that police the Dark Others (vampires, shape-shifters and witches) and we’re given a brief history lesson at the beginning as to why this is all going down but everything in between and then some only make things even more frustrating and convoluted. Worst of all, however, is how dull the action in Russia’s biggest film ever really is. There is no denying how visually stunning Bekmambetov’s movie is (i.e., the scene where the bus flips over, the neato subtitles). Normally these types of epic fantasies are the product of Hollywood and its exorbitant budgets, and the fact that this is a Russian product, unfortunately, overshadows much of the film’s character. But, despite its pleasing visuals, there’s just not enough going on in the dialogue and its half-ass attempts at constructing gratifying fight sequences to sustain attention. Still, there is the possibility that it could be A New Hope and not The Phantom Menace (the sneak peek of the sequels shows potential), largely in part to its revelation towards the end, but Day Watch, the sequel, is going to have to pick up quite a bit of slack because it’s looking more like it’ll be Attack of the Clones and not The Empire Strikes Back. Plus: extended alternate ending. (Fox)