MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Konstantin Khabensky as ANTON
Mariya Poroshina as SVETLANA
Vladimir Menshov as GESER
Galina Tyunina as OLGA
Viktor Verzhbitsky as ZAVULON
Zhanna Friske as ALISA
Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov
Studio: Fox Searchlight
BY KEVIN CARR
Last year, I was extremely pleased to catch “Night Watch” in the theaters. It didn’t do very well in North America, mainly because it was a subtitled, off-center horror action film that didn’t fit into mainstream tastes. However, it got me excited about the series.
“Day Watch,” the film’s sequel (which was as successful in its homeland of Russia as its predecessor), dropped in American cinemas this summer. A slightly altered version of the film is now available on DVD.
The film tells the story of Anton, a member of the Night Watch, a secret group that polices vampires. He is trying to find his son, who is a target of the vampires, which turns into a challenge to stave off an apocalypse. He is also falling in love with his fellow Night Watcher. All of these things rely on Anton getting a hold of The Chalk of Fate, a piece of chalk that can change the past to whatever is written with it.
This DVD release is both better and substandard to the U.S. theatrical cut. The biggest strike against it is that it loses its clever inclusion of subtitles we saw in the theaters. Where the English subtitles were animated into the film for the theatrical release, we just get basic subtitles over the Russian voices on DVD. On the other hand, there is the choice to watch the film with English dubbing, which is a nice option.
Another advantage of the DVD release is that you can scan back and review parts of the film that go too fast and get too confusing – and trust me, there are plenty of chances for that. It’s clear that “Day Watch” is made for its Russian audience, and we are just the gravy for the release.
There’s a lot going on in the story, much of which relies on your knowledge of the previous film and possibly even the books the films are based on. Don’t watch this unless you’ve already seen “Night Watch.” While it’s not as good as the first film, “Day Watch” is a nice alternative to the American horror flicks that have been polluting the cinemas this year.
The DVD comes with scant special features, which amount to American and Russian television spots as well as a 30-minute making-of documentary, unfortunately only available in Russian.