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Day Watch Timur Bekmambetov, Konstantin Khabensky, Mariya Poroshina, Vladimir Menshov, Viktor Verzhbitsky, Dmitriy Martynov, Galina Tyunina, Zhanna Friske, Aleksei Chadov, Ostankino Tower, 2 Дневной дозор

Day Watch (Дневной дозор): Anton is torn between the light (a love interest) and dark (his son) when he is framed for a murder that could start the next war between feuding vampire factions. Whereas Night Watch felt like a big-budget action movie Day Watch feels like it’s pulling in about 20 different directions; not simple enough to be mainstream, too vast and ‘out there’ to be an indie, too silly and eclectic to be ‘fantasy’, too grim to be a comedy…  even the music baffles as it skips between a grand Mary Poppins-style theatrical score, cheap and tinny Russian nu-metal, and Euro-pop for the duration. Night Watch was also a little bit mental, but if you’re hoping for Day Watch to explain everything anything think again. Face swapping, body swapping, an apocalyptic yo-yo, magic chalk, two levels of gloom… mix that up with new characters, unexplained and unrelated sub-plots, and general incomprehensible madness – it really tests your patience. The big finale has a lot of distracting slow-motion large-scale havoc and devastation for no reason other than ‘we can afford it’ – which significantly undercut the emotional climax. This isn’t helped by frenetic editing and direction, with lots of hard cuts between contrasting scenes that start and stop with no real warning or reason – a car chase stops for about 10 mins, then cuts straight back to the action. Whereas Night Watch was dazzling and busy enough to distract you from how weird it was, Day Watch really shows the how a visionary director without the budget, runtime, or discipline struggled to fully realise such an ambitious sequel: sure it’s bigger, louder, and more expensive but it’s defining features are that it’s overlong, over-complicated, and yet another round of light vs dark.

Score: 3/10

Day Watch Punch Timur Bekmambetov, Konstantin Khabensky, Mariya Poroshina, Vladimir Menshov, Viktor Verzhbitsky, Dmitriy Martynov, Galina Tyunina, Zhanna Friske, Aleksei Chadov, Ostankino Tower Дневной дозор

Day Watch Timur Bekmambetov, Konstantin Khabensky, Mariya Poroshina, Vladimir Menshov, Viktor Verzhbitsky, Dmitriy Martynov, Galina Tyunina, Zhanna Friske, Aleksei Chadov, Ostankino Tower 1 Дневной дозор

Night Watch, Nochnoy dozor, Timur Bekmambetov, Konstantin Khabenskiy, Vladimir Menshov, Valeriy Zolotukhin, Mariya Poroshina, Galina Tyunina, Yuriy Kutsenko, Aleksey Chadov, Zhanna Friske, Ilya Lagutenko, Viktor Verzhbitskiy

Night Watch (Ночной дозор): after a truce that has lasted for centuries, tensions between Russia’s light and dark sides come to a head when the most powerful ‘Other’ has to choose which side to join. This is an ultra-styalised, almost indie-spirited blockbuster that combines multiple sci-fi/fantasy genres and glues them together with a large dose of Russian folklore. It’s filmed with an impressive style; the colours are bold and bright, the cinematography is striking, the camera work is technically sound, and the editing is fast and exciting… The most impressive aspect of this is that it was made for $4.2M despite being CGI heavy, and looks better than most $100M pictures. Good vs Bad, Light Vs Dark – it’s just a shame that the story is nothing to shout about. Overall, this is a solid pre-twilight vampire film that’s less about the emotional complexities of being a vamp, and more about utilising their superpowers to create exciting action set pieces. Night Watch is totally watchable, entertaining, and big/loud/shiny enough to help you forget that the story is actually a bit pants.

Score: 7/10