Saturday, February 22, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—Day Watch (2006) ***

R, 132 min.
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Writers: Timur Bekmambetov, Aleksandr Talal, Sergey Lukyanenko (novel), Vladimir Vasiliev (novel)
Starring: Konstantin Khabenskiy, Mariya Poroshina, Vladimir Menshov, Galina Tyunina, Viktor Verzhbitskiy, Zhanna Friske, Dima Martynov, Valeriy Zolotukhin, Aleksey Chadov, Nurzhuman Ikhtymbaev, Aleksey Maklakov, Aleksandr Samoylenko, Gosha Kutsenko, Irina Yakovleva, Egor Dronov

I’m glad I got the chance to see this series of movies again. Beginning with “Night Watch”, “Day Watch” is the conclusion of the story about the battle between the Dark Others and the Light Others. In the first film, the hero Anton, an agent of Light, lost his son to the Dark Others. His son is what is known as a Great Other, one who can change the balance of power and the war between the two sides will begin again. In the process of trying to save his son, Anton discovered another Great Other, who is a woman with great power. Should the two Great Others meet the war will begin. Now, Anton seeks an artifact that will allow him to change all this, return his son to the Light and save the world from a war of the Others.

I know, I know. It all sounds rather silly, and with Timur Bekmambetov’s sometimes tongue-in-cheek delivery, it often is. That’s OK. He delivers it with such style, it is a riveting, non-stop slam dance of a film. He plays faster and looser with this sequel, which might seem impossible if you’ve seen the first film. At times this creates some structural chaos, but the story this time around is more solid than the first film. I was much more satisfied with this movie during the second viewing than I was the first time.

There are times when it seems the flash and flare of the style gets the best of Bekmambetov. There are a great many ideas that are started but never finished. For example, there is a character known as The Parrot who is sent after Anton to stop him on his mission to find the artifact. The Parrot’s mission never really takes shape, and it seems his role is tossed aside for other developments. Also there is a character who can identify Anton no matter how he is disguised, but when Anton enters the villain’s headquarters, they seem to know its him already. What’s the point of the guy who can identify him?

Those negative points aside, “Day Watch” is a universe that is presented in an incredibly fresh way. It moves at a quick pace and it doesn’t let its characters off from the situation with which they are presented. If it didn’t get a little too carried away with its particular eccentricities, I would say it was a better movie than it predecessor. As it is, it is a satisfying conclusion to the events set in motion in that one.

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