Night Watch (Russia/Fox)
Sound: B- Extras: C+ Film: C
20th Century Fox was hoping that Timur
Bekmambetov’s Night Watch films would be an import trilogy that would
have a big fan base. Instead, it has
not even received a cult following.
Though genre fans (like Quentin Tarantino, quoted prominently on the
back of the DVD case) are embracing the film, the lightness/darkness battle and
title force “policing” the “Dark Others” grouping together witches, vampires
and shape shifters. Even in Russian
clothing and voice, it eventually is all been there, done that.
Despite the violence and production values, the whole
production is overblown and attempts to artificially pump up excitement never
gel. All this cannot paper over the
oversimplicity of the Fantasy genre elements and though the cast of actors and
stunt people are no slackers, this is an acquired taste at best and will never
find more than a cult following outside of Russia.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image has bad digital
work throughout, sloppy editing and is the same old thing we have seen over and
over again visually. To its credit, it
tries to emulate Russian and Soviet cinema of the past, but this is in vein. You get a different version on each side of
the DVD. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes in
English and Russian are better than the Dolby 2.0 Pro Logic Spanish and French
tracks, but not by much. The sound
design has some character, but it is nothing exceptional either. Sometimes, the surrounds seem to be a substitute
for storytelling. Extras include sequel
previews, subtitled audio commentary and an extended ending.
- Nicholas Sheffo