DAY WATCH (Timur Bekmambetov). 128 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (June 8). Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Day Watch kicks ass with the same gaudy action, effects and go-for-broke attitude as its predecessor, 2004's Night Watch. As a bonus, it's loaded with sharp humour, notably a man-woman body switch sequence and the highly creative use of subtitles.
The story develops nicely from the original. Anton, agent for the mystic Forces of Light in contemporary Moscow, is trying to reunite with his dark-side son while being framed for murder by Forces of Darkness overlord Zavulon, who's scheming to break the centuries-old truce and bring on the apocalypse.
The great character faces and focused performances of the original Night Watch cast add a lot to the fun. Konstantin Khabensky , as Anton, smoothly blends buffoon with tortured loser and hero. Viktor Verzhbitsky , as Zavulon, breathes a laid-back menace while showing off his truly crappy fashion sense.
Director Timur Bekmambetov gives his big action set pieces both spectacle and impact and, when they involve vehicles, a sly eroticism. Check out the runaway Ferris wheel in the apocalyptic climax: a surreal delight.
A third sequel, Dusk Watch, is in the works, but this film provides a satisfying conclusion while leaving enough loose ends to suggest that the story still has somewhere interesting to go.