Theatrical Review: Day Watch

Just a little preface before get into the review proper, Day Watch is the second in a trilogy of Russian movies that started with the film Night Watch. Night Watch, which is steeped in Russian legend, tells us the story of the eternal battle between Light and Dark forces and the pact struck between the two when it appeared that the only way the battle was ever going to end was going to be the destruction of both. Vampires, shape shifters and more supernatural beings are real in the world, but ruled over by the light and dark forces, each of which has their own sort’ve police force to keep the other in check, the Light’s force is called The Night Watch and the Dark’s is called Day Watch. Night Watch told the story of Anton, a young man who forever alters his life by employing Dark forces to do a deed for him, and thus awakening his own supernatural powers. Anton becomes a member of the Night Watch and becomes involved in a series of events that awakens two beings, one called the Great Light Other and the other, the Great Dark Other and legend foretells that if the two should ever meet, it will be the end of everything that we know.

Day Watch continues the story, with the Great Light Other, Sveta, now in the employ of the Night Watch, and the Great Dark Other, Yegor now training with the Day Watch. This story throws into the mix another legend about an object called The Chalk of Fate, which when used, can literally reverse whole events. Both forces want the Chalk, with the leader of the Dark forces, Zavulon wanting to break the pact…

… and as always, there’s way more to tell, but I’d just as soon you discover the rest for yourself. Night Watch is an incredibly cool movie, yes it’s story and history is complex, but as long as you stick with it, it’s all pretty easy to follow and very easy to get involved in. Day Watch is just a little more complicated and quite a bit more all over the map, seeming at times to try to also go into some high comedy before winding up with a very intense ending. Because of the nature of The Chalk of Fate, this ending could almost be seen as a cheat, but yet it’s not as much as say something like a movie like the Nicolas Cage film, Next is.

It’s an amazing looking movie, as is Night Watch with special effects that rival anything made here, and to me anyway, Night Watch was always more the type of movie that I wanted something like Underworld to be like, but instead that fell into a series of cliches that you’d seen many times before.

Day Watch re-unites the entire cast of the first film under the same director, and please forgive me, these Russian names are hard for me to remember, so I’m just going to forego even trying to name names. But the cast is quite good, and I’m quite impressed with a number of the characters, in particular, Anton, Sveta (truly a stunning woman), Zavulon and Olga (who is a shape shifter and Anton’s partner in the Night Watch).

It’s an interesting film, but like I said above, it’s ending might be seen as something as a cheat, especially when you think that this is supposed to be part of a trilogy, yet things are wrapped up pretty nicely by the end of this film.

Really though, the only way that I can recommend Day Watch though is only if you’ve seen Night Watch. Day Watch does open with a prologue that explains everything from the first film, but still seeing the first film itself carries a lot more gravity with it and arms you much better for the second movie than just the prologue itself. Well worth seeing though, if you’ve seen Night Watch, but still the ending might leave something to be desired… we’ll just have to wait and see if this continues further beyond this.

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

19. June 2007 by Darren Goodhart
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