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Day Watch, watchable.

September 25, 2008

Day Watch
d. Timur Bekmambetov

This movie fares better than it’s predecessor, Night Watch, if not for storytelling but for pure bug-nuts visual flair. The last 15 minutes are a chaotic mess narrative-wise, but there are a ton of “Holy Shit!” moments that carried me through the end credits.

Aah! I still have no idea what's going on, but it's more bearable!

Aah! I still have no idea what’s going on, but it’s more bearable!

The flick starts off promising enough with the tale of Tamerlane and the deus ex machina Chalk of Fate. But once we shoot back to the present and catch up with many characters from the first film, you pretty much have to throw your hands up in the air and stop trying to follow the narrative thread because it is frayed, ya dig?

Hmm, let me see if I can recount them all… In addition to Yegor, Anton’s son who was touted as “The Great One” who’ll tip the balance in the Day Watch/Night Watch war, we discover that Anton’s current rookie/intern is also a “Great One”. Yep. There can be more than one “Great One”. Yeahbuhwha!?

And then for some reason Anton has to retrieve Yegor’s hat from an evidence locker in the basement of the Night Watch HQ. Huh? This will prevent war? What!?

And, just as in the first film, people’s powers are undefined and limitless. So everyone is able to pull out a convenient “save” power in the nick of time. For example, Boris, the leader of the Night Watch, is somehow able to swap the minds of Anton and Olga with the idea that this would somehow protect Anton from being picked up by The Inquisition who want him for a murder he didn’t commit. What!!

Or else aforementioned undefined powers function as a means to show off special effects or unmotivated kewl shots. Like a car driving up the side of a building. Actually, that was kind of cool.

It really isn’t until the final act where the film feels most cohesive and suddenly the action ratchets up to apocalyptic levels. It really is pretty awesome when Yegor unleashes his yo-yo spores which pretty much destroy all of Russia. Though it feels like part of a different genre movie (a disaster porn flick) it is still impressive to witness. And the final twist at the end (thanks deus ex machina Chalk of Fate!) is pretty neat as it revisits the inciting incident from the first film. I am a sucker for time travel, tho this technically wouldn’t be considered as such.

So in summation, not a great narrative film, often confused, loud and without substance or emotional weight, it looks great and throws so many crazy ideas on the wall that the ones that stick are impressive. If this is the second in a trilogy, I wonder where it will go from here (and whether it will be called Dusk Watch or Afternoon Watch). Any one want to make a bet?

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