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Day Watch (2007)

Dnevnoy dozor

The second chapter in the epic fantasy trilogy.

Directed by:

Timur Bekmambetov

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 132 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

In the second installment of what will hopefully be a trilogy (rumor has it the third piece is on indefinite hiatus while Timur Bekmambetov decides if he wants to be involved), everyone we met in 2004’s Night Watch is back for another trip around The Gloom, but this time, it’s just not quite as magical. The film still looks amazing, and the performances are still all strong—even the story is interesting. The problems arise because whereas Night Watch had to introduce the world, the people, AND the mythos, with Day Watch, most of that is already in place, and with more room to move around in, it all starts to feel a little crowded.

It’s been two years since the cataclysmic events on the roof, and Anton is still fighting the good fight, only now he’s fighting it with apprentice Svetlana (Mariya Poroshina); remember her? He’s also trying to keep an eye on his son Yegor (Dima Martynov), now 14 and still aligned with the Dark. It’s all pretty run-of-the-mill Night Watch routine, though, until Dark Ones start winding up dead and all suspicions point to Anton, and soon he’s on the run, in search of whoever is attempting to set him up.

Had I not watched Night Watch right before watching Day Watch, I might have enjoyed this sequel more, and maybe it’s unfair to compare the two because of that. But I am. See, the thing that made the first movie so superior to not just this one, but to most pictures in this genre, was that it kept its story tight. Even introducing us to the whole Watch-y universe, with its legends and loyalties and codes, nothing ever seemed murky the first time around. This move still has the look—it’s still slick and sexy, there’s more time to get to know the characters, and they even get in a little romance. The tone is different, though—a little looser, a little more humorous—which isn’t bad on its own, but which leads to an overall feeling of “too much.” There’s a lot going on, from the father-son angle to the romance angle to a little girl-on-girl action to old ladies getting mugged and drained of their life forces to a murder frame-up to … well, you see what I mean. It’s so well executed from a technical standpoint I found myself swept along until, all of a sudden, it occurred to me that I wasn’t really even sure what I was watching anymore. But my advice is, if you enjoyed Night Watch, see Day Watch a day or two later when you’re fully awake—it’s worth it, if for no other reason than to build up your hope for Twilight Watch.

It's Got: A whole lot of story, A great look, Some appreciated romance and humor.

It Needs: Not so many plotlines, To do a little less, A final installment.

DVD Extras Audio commentary (Timur Bekmambetov, director); “The Making-of Day Watch” featurette; U.S. trailer; Russian trailers; Russian TV spots; trailers. DVD Extras Rating: 5/10

Alternatives:

Night Watch, The Matrix: Reloaded, Underworld: Evolution

Summary

Still a stylish thriller like its predecessor, Day Watch is a fabulous looking film that tries to pack in too much until it starts to just feel empty and pretty.

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