Film Review: Day Watch

 Film Review: Day Watch

In 2005, a smash hit vampire/horror/action/melodrama called Night Watch came over from Russia and became a minor cult film. Night Watch made age-old cliches fresh again and it was brimming with cool effects. It’s sequel, Day Watch, is even better. It’s filled with stunning visuals, a faster pace, and lots of end of the world action and nifty CG effects. The story (after a 3 minute explanation of the first film) picks up telling us about the war between the forces of light and the armies of darkness. Thousands of years ago they fought for a piece of chalk that could bend time and change the past. We pick up in modern-day Russia where the flawed hero Anton is trying to save his son Yegor from the sinister vampires and shapeshifters who make up Day Watch. Anton is a member of the Night Watch, a kind of team of sunglasses-wearing enforcers who keep tabs on Day Watch and make sure they have licenses to kill. Yegor is the Great Dark Other of Day Watch while Sveta of Night Watch is the Great Light Other, and if their paths cross all Hell will break loose on earth.

Along the way to the apocalyptic finale, there’s car chases set to head-banging Rusian metal, body-swapping, metro kids sucking blood out of straws, and fighting in an alternative world known as the “Gloam”. With about 4 or 5 competing subplots and a romance, the story is convoluted and extremely hard to follow at times, but it never got too bogged down for any long period of time. If anything, Daywatch is an even better mix of soapy melodrama and balls-out action than the first film.

The director, Timur Bekmambetov, directs with aggression and confidence, and makes every bit of the 6 million dollars show up onscreen. It’s the acting (even stronger than the first) and the characters and how they relate to each other that you will remember even more so than the loud action scenes. The film’s strongest acting comes from doomed hero Anton and his struggle to save his son Yegur. Anton’s decision from the first film comes into play here and at the end of the day decides the fate of the world. Another nice thing about Day Watch is that there’s an actual plausible and conclusive ending to the the film. After 2 hours plus of warring vampires, shapeshifters, and eurotrash vampire models in Russian fur hats, just fading away to black would have been a lame cop-out.

Grade: A-

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