Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Movie #477: Night Watch

Night Watch is a Russian urban fantasy film starring Konstantin Khabensky, Vladimir Menshov, Maria Poroshina, Dmitry Martynov, and a lot of other people with Vs in their names.

So, a little background: This movie and its sequel, Day Watch, which I thankfully do not own, are World of Darkness-ish, Underworldy sorts of urban fantasy. There are creatures called Others (vampires, shapeshifters, psychics) that roam the world and are divided into Light and Dark, and there's a truce between them. "Night Watch" refers to the Light Others that police the Dark Others, and apparently give...licenses to kill people sometimes?

Anyway, the movie starts - well, there's a long-ass prologue with a battle scene on a bridge, but the story starts - with Anton (Khabensky) visiting a witch (Rimma Markova, I think, but honestly it's hard to keep the names straight) and asking for his wife (Maria Mironova) to come back to him, only she's pregnant, so he asks for her to miscarry, but the Night Watch busts in and prevents that spell from finishing.

The kid grows up into Yegor (Martynov), who's developing Other powers, and there's a whole deal with a vampire and a prophecy and a woman who's cursed (Poroshina), and in the end, Yegor learns that Anton is his father (oh, Anton's now a...psychic? Vampire? it's hard to know, but sometimes he has fangs, anyway he's in the Night Watch) but tried to have him killed as a fetus so he goes hard for the Dark Others and boom, movie ends.

This movie is gibberish. Like, the only reason it's as comprehensible to me as it is, is because I'm familiar enough with the genre and associated properties that I can liken "the Gloom" to "Twilight" or whatever. There are some cool ideas bouncing around, but the rules never get explained, and unlike movies like John Wick that just plop us into the setting and don't waste time explaining themselves, this one has a couple of characters who are set up to be POV characters but the movie doesn't use them that way.

Speaking of characters, there are way too many. It's hard to know who we're supposed to care about - Anton, sure, but the performance is pretty hollow so it's hard to get worked up about him. Yegor and his ascent to be the Great Other, and Svetlana the Cursed Virgin and how she's meant to bring ruin are really the most interesting things, but the movie takes forever to get anywhere (and the sequel seems to bring all of this full circle, but I can't be arsed to care).

Also, they had no budget, so the fights are just quick cuts and blood spurts, apart from where they blew the wad to have a woman turn into a tiger very early in the film. Overall I'm not impressed.

My Grade: F
Rewatch Value: IINSIAIFWT

Next up: The Nightmare Before Christmas