Konstantin Khabensky

Konstantin Khabensky

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Day Watch Review


OK
We feel the pull of the metaphorical light and dark everyday: Should I lie? Steal? Cheat? Have that second bowl of ice cream? Or should I do the "right" thing? Taking this push-pull of desires and ideals and applying it to the supernatural is the crux of Day Watch, the second film in the Night Watch series. Unfortunately, like its predecessor, Day Watch gets caught up in its flashy, over-the-top visual effects and misses the thematic mark. But that's what you'd expect from any other big budget "blockbuster."

As follow-up to the first major release of a Russian film after the collapse of the Soviet film industry (Night Watch had a budget of $4.2 million), Day Watch does an admirable job of keeping the pace brisk and the action constant, despite the fact that the film is built upon flimsy plot devices. The film follows Night Watch protagonist Anton as he attempts to reconnect with his son Yegor, who defected to the dark side, while pursuing a relationship with a new trainee in the Night Watch -- a group that polices the dark supernatural beings (the dark police keeping tabs on the light side is the Day Watch).

Continue reading: Day Watch Review

Night Watch (2004) Review


Good
Once it receives its long due stateside release, the smash Russian fantasy epic Night Watch will inevitably be compared to The Matrix, most likely because of all the people running about a modern-day city (wearing sunglasses at night, no less) doing battle with forces that normal folks can't even see. Also, the film was a box office hit and the first in a planned trilogy. But truth be told, Night Watch has much more in common with the worlds created by fantasy novelist Neil Gaiman, most especially his classic Neverwhere (filmed for British TV) about a secret world existing just below the surface of everyday London. The two works share an abiding interest in the careful creation and delineation of complex universes of the unreal - not to mention a love of dark, shady places, and large-scale struggles between good and evil.

A sonorously narrated prologue gives us the lay of the land. In the world, there are humans and there are Others - who can pass as humans but are in effect a grab-bag of seers, wizards, shape-shifters, and vampires "as varied as the stars in the sky." The Others are divided up (easily enough) into those that serve the Dark and those serving the Light. A long time ago, they fought each other to a standstill in a massive battle, and so established a truce whereby they could co-exist with each other, only they each had to basically leave the humans alone. To ensure that each side is living up to its end, they each patrol the human sphere, Dark Others on the Day Watch and Light Others on the Night Watch.

Continue reading: Night Watch (2004) Review

Night Watch Review


Good
Once it receives its long due stateside release, the smash Russian fantasy epic Night Watch will inevitably be compared to The Matrix, most likely because of all the people running about a modern-day city (wearing sunglasses at night, no less) doing battle with forces that normal folks can't even see. Also, the film was a box office hit and the first in a planned trilogy. But truth be told, Night Watch has much more in common with the worlds created by fantasy novelist Neil Gaiman, most especially his classic Neverwhere (filmed for British TV) about a secret world existing just below the surface of everyday London. The two works share an abiding interest in the careful creation and delineation of complex universes of the unreal - not to mention a love of dark, shady places, and large-scale struggles between good and evil.

A sonorously narrated prologue gives us the lay of the land. In the world, there are humans and there are Others - who can pass as humans but are in effect a grab-bag of seers, wizards, shape-shifters, and vampires "as varied as the stars in the sky." The Others are divided up (easily enough) into those that serve the Dark and those serving the Light. A long time ago, they fought each other to a standstill in a massive battle, and so established a truce whereby they could co-exist with each other, only they each had to basically leave the humans alone. To ensure that each side is living up to its end, they each patrol the human sphere, Dark Others on the Day Watch and Light Others on the Night Watch.

Continue reading: Night Watch Review

Konstantin Khabensky

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