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December 15, 2008
Day Watch (Dnevnoy Dozor) Blu-Ray Movie Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
11/10/200512/11/2008FoxTimur Bekmambetov
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4Dolby TrueHD 5.1MA15+Konstantin Khabensky

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Konstantin Khabensky returns as Anton Gorodetsky.

Following the success of Night Watch (which made $US34 million on a $US4.2 million production budget), it was inevitable that there would be a sequel, and the cast and crew have all returned to this second movie. With a similar budget hopes were high that this would also prove to be a success.

Day Watch (Dnevnoi Dozor) is the second installment of a trilogy based on the best-selling sci-fi novels of Sergei Lukyanenko entitled Night Watch, Day Watch and Dusk Watch. The films centre on the modern day conflict between the Light and Dark forces of “Others” - supernatural humans and monsters (including vampires, witches, shape-shifters and sorcerers) who live among us. A thousand years ago the two sides called a truce to their fierce battles; the agreement entailed that the Dark Others would police the day…and the Light Others would police the night.

In Day Watch each side has gained a powerful Great Other; Anton Gorodetsky’s son, Yegor, has joined the ranks of the Dark Others, while Anton’s love, Svetlana, is the hope of the Light. Not only is Anton caught between them, but he’s also accused of murder and on the run. Only the ancient Chalk of Fate can save the day – but it was lost hundreds of years ago...

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From the opening prologue.
Director Timur Bekmambetov returns to the series and it remains consistent with the original although if anything this movie, while a little more comprehensible then the first, is also a little more extreme. A man who changes into a woman, a father and son on opposite sides of light and dark (good and evil) and a conclusion that will leave you spellbound. This is a fairly lengthy movie at 2 hours 25 minutes, but it remains fairly interesting throughout with a solid, and somewhat dramatic, ending.

As with the first movie, and very disappointingly, this movies release on Blu-Ray (as with the DVD release) lacks the uniquely animated subtitles. These have been replaced with standard overlaid text in this version lessening the cinematic appeal and experience.

While this is the superior movie in our opinion we do recommend you check out the original Night Watch first. In fact, that's almost a requirement as newcomers may find themselves quite lost by the themes and plotlines in this sequel without the original.

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Another strange being in Day Watch.

While the original movie was presented in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1 this sequel see the aspect ratio shift to a wider 2.35:1, but it still uses the AVC MPEG-4 codec. The image is fairly good, a notch above the original in many regards, but probably due to improved filming techniques rather then improved compression techniques. There are some scenes which still exhibit some dirt, as well as some grain. Some scenes also appear a little softer then we expect from film these days. One must remember though that the budget on this movie was $US4.2 million, which is less then many made for TV pictures in the West.

Day Watch comes to Blu-Ray with a very similar list of audio tracks to the prequel. There are two primary Russian soundtracks including a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track and DTS track encoded at 768kbps. Again, sound design in these movies are fairly impressive - and certainly superior to what the films budget would suggest. Surround sound channels are used to good effect at time - particularly during the climax - while the sub woofer gets a workout too.

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Is this a woman, or a man?
One upgrade from the previous disc comes via the other three language tracks - English, French and German which have each been upgraded to DTS 5.1 encoded at 768kbps (which is better then the Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks at 448kbps on the Night Watch disc). These tracks, while not quite as good as the Russian Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track, are still more then acceptable.

We've already discussed our disappointments with the subtitles provided on this release in the main part of this review - that being the original burnt in stylish subtitles are missing. Subtitle tracks include English, English for the Hearing Impaired, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish.

While Night Watch was released on Blu-Ray with a decent set of extras this sequel is actually pretty sparse with extras which is a real shame in this day and age - especially with the original being such a surprise hit.

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Day Watch is a worthy sequel to Night Watch.
The Making of Day Watch (28:42): Seven deleted scenes (or more accurately extended scenes - probably from the longer Russian cut of the film) are presented here with optional commentary by director Timur Bekmambetov. Some of these scenes are actually quite good and could have been put back into the movie. Sadly they are only presented on this disc in Standard Definition, with Dolby Digital 2 channel audio at 192kbps.

Russian Trailer F (39:03): A lengthy and fairly impressive look at the making of Night Watch. Much of this documentary is in Russian with subtitles, but there is plenty of behind the scenes footage and plenty of interviews as well.

As a sequel Day Watch actually improves on the original in several ways. More visual effects, an expansion of the storyline and universe, better direction and acting. We do recommend you see the original first, but if you liked that movie you're certain to like this one too.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Fox. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.