It’s a stunt Top Gear could only dream of staging: a car being driven vertically up the side of a skyscraper, screeching and swerving across vast expanses of glass, before smashing through a window and coming to a halt in a corridor. The fact that this sequence – without a doubt the most memorable scene in Day Watch – has bugger-all to do with the actual story, taking place just for the hell of it, says all you need to know about this bonkers, ballistic sci-fier.
Timur Bekmambetov’s sequel to rouble-raking Russian vampire movie Night Watch is a curious stew of all the things that made the first film so compelling: mental plotting, eye-bulging stunts, devil-may-care attitude… even the subtitles bounce when somebody knocks on a door. Sadly, what Part Two in this planned trilogy doesn’t manage to do is whip them together into a satisfying, coherent whole. The epic struggle between the forces of Light and Dark, this time taking in a quest for the “Chalk of Destiny” (look in the cine-dictionary under “MacGuffin”), builds to a contrived, copout conclusion that tarnishes the franchise’s paint-fresh lustre.
Proceedings once again focus on the Night Watch (the “good” guys, tasked with keeping an eye on the monsters of the night), the Day Watch (vice versa), and our hero Anton Gorodetsky (Konstantin Khabnesky), hapless father of the boy who may hold the key to the apocalypse. This time round there’s a love story between Anton and mousy virgin Svetlana (Mariya Poroshina) – complicated when Anton ends up stuck in the body of a woman – prompting a worrying slide towards sentiment over spectacle.
And yet… though Day Watch is flawed, it still succeeds in flaunting more balls and bravado than a good proportion of multiplex Hollyfodder – which might come in useful in Wanted, Bekmambetov’s upcoming Angelina Jolie-starrer. And even if the story isn’t very cohesive, there’s always that skyscraper-climbing car to drool over…