Night Watch (aka Nochnoy dozo) (English language version) (2004)


Night Watch (2004)  (English language)

8/10

This is a bit of a confusing movie due to fairly different mythology and a goodly number of characters.  Took me 2 viewings to straighten things out, but it was worth it.  And one there are no spoilers contained within (well one, but it is so blatant I don't even count it).

The movie starts out with the final battle of the forces of light and dark (jointly called 'Others').  Good and evil is roughly equivalent, but with a LOT of gray in between the groups.  Anyhoo, as dark and light are equally killing the holy poo out of each other, the top general from each side stop time and declare a truce, with the provision that their will be a Day Watch (to watch the 'Light') and a Night Watch (to watch 'he 'Dark').  These Light and Dark folks are semi-supernatural and have a variety of powers, so rules are made about not killing each other, and only being allowed to kill normal humans with a license (?!).  All is good for 2 kazillion years or so.  Oh, and of course there is a prophecy of "the One Who Will Decide the Balance".

Here is where the confusion sets in- there are 2 main plots that cross paths now and again, but seem mostly incidental until the endgame of the movie.  Plot one is based on Anton, our protagonist of sorts.  He goes to a witch to get his girlfriend/fiancee to come back to him, and oh, as a bonus "I can kill the unborn baby she has for an extra scheckle".  Plus 2 points if you feel the cold hand of foreshadowing around you.  Just before the spell is finished 3 guys materialize out of nowhere and stop the witch.  They are quite surprised to see that Anton can see them, and so they induct him into Night Watch.

The 2nd plot is about a young, attractive woman who, when viewed by an Others has a windstorm around here, flocks of crows follow her, and general bad luck.  At least Anton's has a fairly straightforward plot, comfaratively.

Jump forward about 7 years.  The rest of the movie is about Anton searching down a rogue Dark Other, with other Dark Others trying to get to Anton for killing another Dark Other (self defense, but no license, tsk tsk).  His kid is, yup, "the Chosen One who is Going to be Mad When He Finds Out Dad Tried to Kill Him".  Bad Luck Lady keeps going through bad luck, occasionally running into Anton.  The ending sets up "Day Watch" nicely, though it did kind of annoy me.

Visual and cinematography were very good.  Fights and FX were very good (especially a cartwheeling 5 ton truck).  Acting was good.  Story was confusing due to jumping back and forth between the 2 plots and the seemingly random cross-overs of characters from one story to the other and back.

Overall, a very good film.  I had to take points off for the tortured story line(s), and throwing in a monkey would have been nice.  Definitely recommend for a rental, and most of the site's visitors would probably be happy with a purchase.
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