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Day Watch (2007)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Timur Bekmambetov

Starring:
Konstantin Khabensky/Anton
Mariya Poroshina/Svetlana
Zhanna Friske/Alisa
Viktor Verzhbitsky/Zavulon
PLOT-CRUNCH
Anton’s (Khabensky) life didn’t get much easier after the finale of Night Watch. Not only is he still trying to save his son from the clutches of the Dark Ones but he also finds himself in the middle of a murder conspiracy, one that he’s being framed for. Body hopping, a car that rides on the side of a building and a slew of crazy ass visuals ensue.
THE LOWDOWN

 Taxi Driver: Where to?
Svetlana: Anywhere.

The Russian movie NIGHT WATCH was a big deal in its native land which eventually translated to a moderate deal in America as FOX acquired it for a limited Theatrical release. Having loved the original, I was jones-ing for the sequel and sure enough it got released in Russia early this year, with zero to no fanfare here. I didn't  hear shite! Even the posters and the stills available online aren’t all that! I found that odd, especially after the splash the first one did. Now that I’ve seen the flick, I know why.

In a brave move DAY WATCH didn’t run down the “more mass appeal” racetrack after the international success of the original. Total opposite, it sprinted the other way with big bulldog balls flapping in the wind, said f*ck that shite" and whole heartily embraced its Russian "make". And you know what Tonto? I loved it for it! From this Canuck's point of view, witnessing Russian humor and demeanor played up with no filters made this watch even more fascinating. I haven’t seen too many Russian films  (Unless Ruskie Lesbos counts) or Russian themed stuff (Apart from Rocky 4...he he he) in my lifetime so this particular vibe was new to me and I found it charming. Made me want to visit that damn place!

Now that’s not to say that the film didn’t sport the magic "Blockbuster" ingredients that made the original such a wild ride. Insane stunt set pieces in the house? You bet! Wait till you see that 14th century set opening where horses rammed through brick walls or that gal driving her car on the side of a building bit! Yup you heard me... ON THE SIDE of a building! FREAKING NUTS! Innovation was also on the menu when it came to the unique ways the film handled its endless fantastic elements (the mask of snow…nice). What do Russians drink to come up with this zany stuff? POUR ME A GLASS ALREADY! And the same can be spat about the slew of “out there” vehicle chases, huge demolition bits, wild fight sequences and novel moments of mass murders. They were all curved-ball in my face with a distinctive, uber stylish, razor edited, and highly intoxicating attitude. I gotta hand it to director Timur Bekmambetov, he makes the Warchowskies look like their asleep at the tricycle in terms of kinetic imagery. I for one haven’t seen a flick this visually ambitious, energetic and innovative in a while. WOW!

Story/character wise, the flick kept to the same MO as the original. Multitude of characters, main plotline, mucho subplots, a potent mystery and one heck of a finale. As opposed to Night Watch, I didn’t find it too hard to follow the story of this one. Don’t blink though because major plot details/turns were at times revealed in the blink of a pre-mature ejaculation. The shift in tone from the first one was also appreciated by this dink. Where Night Watch was mostly set in bleakness, this was one took place mostly in the day (I guess that’s why they called it Day Watch) and was a pinch more offbeat. That tagged with the ample circumstantial comedy (body swapping bit owned) and the affecting/cute love story gave the whole a kool “quirky and fun” aura that the first one didn’t have. Darkness did eventually fall again though, starting with the gripping main plot line of Anton’s quest to save his son (who himself was straight out of Damien School…creepy kid…creepier yo-yo) while finishing off with one heck of a schizophrenic last block! Funny, somber, gory, insane, sad yet happy, this one shut the lights with a powerful uppercut that sent me straight to the mat.

On the slim meh side of things, although easier to grasp that its predecessor. I still had to shift my one brain cell into overdrive to connect the dots. You definitely have to pay attention here as the unraveling of the narrative is fairly unorthodox...well for this Westerner anyways. And yes the film sometimes handled its plot turns in a rushed manner, hence preventing me from blinking, scratching my nose or getting up to take a whiz. But all in all, color me f*cking impressed by this tight, eye popping and one of a kind follow up! Now THIS... is filmmaking!
GORE
The flick wasn’t overly gory but when it kicked in the ketchup, it did it hard. We get cut off feet, cut off fingers, head bashing, projectiles through the noggin and more!
ACTING
Konstantin Khabensky (Anton) did it again via mucho brooding, tight comic timing and an appealing presence. Mariya Poroshina (Svetlana) had more meat to play with this time around (no pun intended). She was likeable, cute and played off Khabensky perfectly. Zhanna Friske’s (Alisa) charismatic, confident and damn sexy show had me by Jockeys’ elastic. I’d tap that hard! Viktor Verzhbitsky (Zavulon) once again made for a captivating and amusing villain.
T & A
Mariya Poroshina (Svetlana) nude in the shower with arms and legs strategically placed for us to not see shite was semi arousing. But cleavage heavy, sexually confident and boner inducing Zhanna Friske, wow…what a delight!
DIRECTING
Timur Bekmambetov didn’t wind down since the last film. I’m talking; fast/slow motion abusing, use of still frames, an “all over the place camera” and editing that would dazzle a coke addict. The man was on fire!
SOUNDTRACK
We get a moving piano inclined score, some sweet heavy metal and some groovy Russian ditties.
BOTTOM LINE
Day Watch beat out Night Watch by an inch via being a funnier and more coherent ride while still double downing on the bleak stuff. The film was highly un-predictable, totally freaking off the wall, imaginative beyond belief, brash in its ideas & action scenes while sporting a strong yummy Russian flavor to it all. Props to all for not going “all American” with this follow up and sticking to their roots; it made it all that much captivating for this jerk.

Granted its not for everybody, if you don’t dig on foreign films or are easily confused, this one might leave you in the dust begging for mommy to change your Hershey soiled diaper. But if you’re feeling for something unusual that at the same time gives you depth, outlandish actions scenes, neato concepts and a full plate of visual/audio candy; then you hit the right watch. 

BULL'S EYE
Day Watch is the first post-communist Russian flick to do more than $30 million clams at the box office.

VISIT THE RUSSIAN DAY WATCH SITE HERE

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+0
8:50AM on 10/24/2006

Example of Excellent Filmmaking

A very decent sequel to a very decent film. Like the first, this one got me a little lost about who's on whose side and what's going on between this charcter and that one, but I still enjoyed it to the fullest. I wasn't familiar with Russian films much before Night Watch and those two flicks made me curious, mainly to see more of actor's Konstantin Khabensky work because his work in these flicks is really admirable.
The movie's pace was slower than the first, but the action did kick in the
A very decent sequel to a very decent film. Like the first, this one got me a little lost about who's on whose side and what's going on between this charcter and that one, but I still enjoyed it to the fullest. I wasn't familiar with Russian films much before Night Watch and those two flicks made me curious, mainly to see more of actor's Konstantin Khabensky work because his work in these flicks is really admirable.
The movie's pace was slower than the first, but the action did kick in the final 30 minutes or so. Loved the scenes at the party in the end. I wonder what's going to be made of the third English-language film, but as for itself, Night Watch stands as an excellent example of very-well made Sci-Fi Horror Thriller. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED even if the subtitles are a little bit distracting.
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+0
7:45AM on 08/17/2006

Worthy sequel

Imagine Neo...charging Minas Tirith across Pellenor fields...and ripping the place apart, single-handed. Or imagine how much cooler the Star Wars prequels would have been if 8yr-old Ani had gone full-bore evil at the START of the trilogy! We get all this, and more :-)

I'm with the Arrow all the way here. This flick was funnier than the first, more coherent (after multiple viewings I still don't grok some of the first's subplots), yet continued to push the boundaries of the horror genre
Imagine Neo...charging Minas Tirith across Pellenor fields...and ripping the place apart, single-handed. Or imagine how much cooler the Star Wars prequels would have been if 8yr-old Ani had gone full-bore evil at the START of the trilogy! We get all this, and more :-)

I'm with the Arrow all the way here. This flick was funnier than the first, more coherent (after multiple viewings I still don't grok some of the first's subplots), yet continued to push the boundaries of the horror genre (that sippy-box...yow!)

What really blows my mind, though, is how they plan to springboard the final element of the trilogy (Dusk Watch) from this ending. I mean...where do you go, when Neo has merged with Smith, and Frodo has sailed into the West? Almost makes me want to buy the book and find out :-)
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