Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5  
Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor) (2005)
15Contains strong violence, horror and language

Sick of Star Wars? Bored of the Rings? Then check out the fresh fantasy of Night Watch, Russia's answer to The Matrix. A huge hit on its native turf, this tale of a centuries-old war between the forces of Light and Dark may not boast a Hollywood budget, but it's certainly rich in ideas. A blinding first hour gives way to a second half more likely to leave you frazzled than dazzled. But this is still a highly promising curtain-raiser to an ambitious trilogy.

The film's epic aspirations sparkle from the get-go: it begins with a Tolkien-esque bridge battle between the wizards, witches and whatnot of the Others, supernatural beings who fight for either Good or Evil. Fast forward several centuries and an uneasy truce between the Night Watch (good) and the Day Watch (evil) is threatened by the long-foretold arrival of The Great Other...

"EVEN THE SUBTITLES ARE COOL"

Sounds a bit dry and dorky? It's anything but, seizing the breath with a frenzied flair. Vampires, shape-shifters, rocket-powered vans... heck, even the subtitles are cool (imagine Man On Fire's typographic tricks taken to the next level). And there's an ingenious moment involving a falling plane rivet. Oddly, it's the climax, rather than the exposition-heavy first half, where things start to get stodgy and confusing. All the same, the story manages to wind its way to a tantalizing cliffhanger. Let's just hope the sequels don't poop the party like The Matrix 2 and 3...

In Russian with English subtitles.

End Credits

Director: Timur Bekmambetov

Writer: Timur Bekmambetov, Laeta Kalogridis

Stars: Konstantin Khabensky, Vladimir Menshov, Valeri Zolotukhin, Mariya Poroshina, Galina Tyunina

Genre: Action, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

Length: 114 minutes

Cinema: 07 October 2005

Country: Russia

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