Netflix UK film review: Day Watch
Ivan Radford | On 03, Jan 2015
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Cast: Konstantin Khabensky, Mariya Poroshina, Dmitry Martynov
Watch Day Watch online in the UK: Netflix UK / Amazon Instant Video / TalkTalk TV Store / iTunes
Remember Night Watch, Timur Bekmambetov’s mind-blowing Russian blockbuster? It’s been many years since we could start putting “Russian” and “blockbuster” in the same sentence, but even this second run of the reel has lost none of its predecessor’s potency. Where else do subtitles wriggle, writhe and wane to the mood? Does any other city have men that can stop buses and cars that ride skyscrapers? Of course not. This is Moscow, damn it, and Timur Bekmambetov is vamping it up to 12.
Despite all its original flair, however, Day Watch is perhaps a tad too ambitious. Wrapping up the sci-fi/horror trilogy of novels in two films is a daring move, cramming a lot of events into a short timeframe. The story is simple yet apocalyptic: Anton (Khabensky) is still facing the fallout from his son, the Great Other Yegor (Martynov), choosing the Dark side over the Light. Meanwhile, Yegor’s Great Other counterpart, Svetlana (Poroshina), is Anton’s apprentice. When Yegor meets Svetlana, says the prophecy, the world will end. Needless to say, the rendezvous happens just in time for the film’s climax.
Along the way, we get sex changes, action sequences and the Chalk of Destiny (a mythical bit of stationary that can change the fate of the world). It may seem a tad Americanised, especially when Moscow starts to tear itself in two, but somehow Day Watch retains the idiomatic style that set Night Watch apart from Western fodder.
It’s a shame, then, to see that Netflix only has the boringly-subtitled version of the movie, without the animated effects and colours of the original copy – a fact that only adds to the slight disappointment of this second spin. Thankfully, though, the rest of it remains visually breathtaking, while its tongue remains firmly in cheek. A hard-hitting, ambitious shot of vodka blockbusting. Did you see Night Watch? This is worth a look.
Day Watch is available on Netflix UK, as part of a £7.49 monthly subscription.