Timur Bekmambetov’s Night Watch, a blockbuster of previously unseen proportions in its native Russia, desperately wants to be overwhelming. Instead, with its endless special effects, blinding cutting, and buckets of blood, the film is a visual representation of attention deficit disorder, confusing and distracting but neither interesting nor lasting.
Like the series of novels by Sergei Lukyanenko on which it is based, Night Watch is set in a modern day Moscow in which humanity unknowingly lives alongside the Others, a supernatural group made up of assorted vampires, sorcerers, and shape-shifters. From the beginning of their existence, the Others have been divided into Light and Dark Ones, two opposing groups who, when the film’s prequel ends, are coexisting under an uneasy truce. Under the terms of the truce, the forces of light rule the day, while the forces of dark control the night. To ensure the peace remains unbroken, a representative group from each side patrols and regulates the opposite domain: for the Light, this group is known as the Night Watch.