132 minutes approx
Written by -
Aleksandr Talal & Timur Bekmambetov
Directed by -
There has been a truce between the forces of Light and Dark for a thousand years. The Nightwatch are beings with supernatural powers who monitor the activities of the beings who belong to the forces of Darkness, whilst the Daywatch do exactly the same to them. It's a delicate balance that has been brought into danger by the appearance of two new Great Others - beings whose powers are strong enough that were they ever to face each other down they would destroy all of Moscow.
Between these two powerful beings lies Anton, and agent of the Nightwatch tasked with training up the beautiful Sveta (with whom he is falling in love) who also happens to be the father of Yegor, the great hope of the forces of Darkness. Zavulon, the leader of the forces of darkness has grown tired of the truce and wishes to start up the war again, but is afraid of the Inquisitors and so is determined to make it seem as though it was the forces of Light that started hostilities. Anton is his weapon of choice and, as the apocalypse starts to descend, it is Anton who tracks down the Chalk of Fate, an object of power that could possibly save the day.
If Anton lives long enough to use it.
In 2004, Timur Bekmambetov's supernatural action film NIGHT WATCH (Nochnoy Dozor) exploded out of Russia onto screens all around the world. With a mythology as deep and complex as that of, say, UNDERWORLD, it threw everything, including the kitchen sink, into full blooded action and special effects sequences based around a plot that was probably bonkers before the directing and editing style managed to make it even less coherent. The combined effect, however, was stunning and a challenge shouted at the world of action films.
NIGHT WATCH was the first of a trilogy of books and so this is the inevitable sequel and, being a sequel, it has to be bigger. Bigger doesn't always mean better, but in this case it most certainly is. Firstly, the plot is more coherent, or I should say plots because there are several going on all at the same time and it is only in the suitably apocalyptic finale that they all come together.
The Chalk of Fate, which is the all-important supernatural artefact, is possibly the most bizarre McGuffin ever put on screen, allowing the user to literally rewrite their fates, but it somehow manages to work here. It also supplies the justification for the stunning opening sequence in which ancient warrior Tamerlane storms a city to gain it.
That, along with Anton's struggle to regain his son and the burgeoning romance with his trainee and the manouevring of the forces of Darkness certainly means that there's enough plot to cram into the film's just over two hour running time.
But this is a supernatural action film, so what about the action and the special effects? Both are flawless, stunning and as exciting as hell. There are barbarian hordes riding headlong through city walls, cars screeching across hotel walls, refuse trucks smashing through juggernauts, Moscow reduced to rubble by a child's toy and an inconveniently placed ferris wheel. The apocalypse it might not be, but apocalyptic it certainly is.
This was originally billed as a trilogy, but the wrap up of the story suggests that it could either stop here or continue again, probably dependant on the success of Bekmambetov's first english language directed film. If this is the end of the saga then it's one hell of a way to go.Top
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