Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Day Watch

Day Watch
Konstantin Khabensky, Maria Poroshina, Dima Matynov and Galina Tyvnina

Rated: R  for violence
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: June 1, 2007 Released by: Fox Searchlight Pictures

The middle entry of this sweeping Russian franchise has a richer sense of decor and humor than the earlier Night Watch which attracted a crowd of mostly young male adults stateside.

Day Watch (in Russian with English subtitles), with its feel the light and dark sides of natural from a supernatural perspective, can be confusing, but will sate those looking for some inventive, striking special effects.

Director-writer Timur Bekmambetur assumes one can handle the dense milieu with nary emphasis on bringing a novice up to speed. Those sinister and more benevolent are in a state of vigilance during a time of an uneasy truce.

Here, the tale is distinguished by the intense need to have a 14th century relic known as the "Chalk of Destiny". Whoever can possess it has the power to rewrite history.

As in Night Watch, the primary characters are Anton (Konstantin Khabensky), a telekinetic cop and his love interest protege Svetlana (Maria Poroshina). His son, Egor (Dima Martynov) has been seduced over to the "Night Watch" side.

The demand on the audience is one to be able to withstand the narrative convolutions of something that recalls The Matrix, Star Wars, and Underworld, among other pictures more familiar to those outside of Russian domain.

Yet, Bekmambetur has a way with sequences that build from the dark, gritty atmosphere established at the outset and earlier from the tomes constructed in part by Sergei Lukyanenenko.

A creative force is happening here, notably on the visual level to keep things from getting too bogged down. Some momentum comes as a result of scenes like when Anton takes "refuge" through an ally, Olga (Galina Tyvnina). Also, there is no denying the sexual tension during a sapphicly-inclined scene with a showering, stunning Svetlana.

Overrall, the staging of the action counteracts the absurdness of a deeper introspection of what is transpiring as detail to character isn't really broadened with something large-scaled as such.

Nevertheless, with unusually animated subtitles and graphic elements that denote much attention in the editing process, Day Watch is a worthy "sequel" which will precede Dusk Watch. And, this violent, intricate picture involving ones with higher powers may be remembered by many for a car chase up the side of a building.

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Day Watch B     B-       B-

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