A Review by Noah Antwiler
There's nothing I hate more than a bandwagon. There's just something about seeing people happy and enjoying something that makes me want to find whatever is bringing them together and destroy it. People who know me will tell you that I instinctively distrust group think because people (ie. you) are, for the most part, complete idiots. I'm not saying this because I think I'm any better; I'm an idiot too. The difference is, I know I'm an idiot, which to paraphrase Socrates puts me one step above the average bear on an intellectual level. My point is that hype in all its disgusting forms is almost invariably wrong and generally bad for you. Hype makes you evangelize and dress like an idiot, making you buy embarrassing shit like pogs and hats with white trash comedian catch phrases on them. Just look at the KISS Army. Frightening.
Hype makes you like-- makes you lie to yourself to enjoy-- an ordinarily crappy product that isn't any good simply because it has a fan following. Almost all of sci-fi geekdom frοm the Trekkies to the Buffy fans fall into this spiral of self-deception, that militant blind devotion to a series franchise I like to call "fanwankery." And the first step is admitting you have a problem. I have it. I'm a recovering J. Michael Straczynski fanboy. Anyone who says Babylon 5 sucks...I admit, I still have that urge to tear their face off and feed it to them. But there is no hype machine, no corner of fanwankery I understand less than the fanboy love for Night Watch. You get a pass on Stargate SG-1. Battlestar Galactica, either season? I hate them, but I get it. It's robots and spaceships, and threesomes with Xena. Hell, I even understand the appeal of Carlos Mencia and My Chemical Romance. But not even mental illness, a very real desire for suicide or narcotic dependency explain the love that Night Watch gets.
We're talking about a flick with built entirely on hype-- and I think we all heard about this the same way, some guy on a message board posting a YouTube link to the trailer, saying "ZOMG this looks awesome," followed by a half-dozen scattered comments agreeing that, yes, the trailer was fairly well-made and had extremely annoying industrial music. And I will grant you that the premise is very appealing, particularly to the gamer circles I frequent who heard that a movie was combining vampires, werewolves, and wizards, something that's guaranteed to draw every World of Darkness fan in the country. The mere combination of vampires and werewolves was enough to account for Underworld's decent opening-week box office, something that made me truly ashamed of gamers everywhere when you actually turned out to see that piece of shit in enough numbers that it actually warranted a fucking sequel. Honestly, gamers, you really embarrassed yourselves. I remember White Wolf suing the makers of Underworld claiming that it ripped off their trademark setting. God, I wish it had. It might not have sucked so badly.
I may have just answered myself just now. Gamers and fanboys can be awfully self-deluding when it comes to movies pitched straight to their interests, forcing themselves to enjoy even the worst movies because films like this (fantasy, modern sci-fi/horror) are still very rare. I know a few guys who really liked the Wing Commander movie, for Christ's sake. But it still doesn't really explain the appeal of Night Watch; the trailer wasn't that great, and even if it was, the movie is flat-out horrible. Worse, it's boring as hell. Geeks still rebelled against Dungeons & Dragons for less than this; targeted marketing isn't a cure-all if your movie is this shitty. Maybe it's some kind of mystique that surrounds the picture simply because it's Russian, or a belief that somehow speaking highly of a foreign film will make them seem more intelligent and discerning as viewers. This can't be a bad movie; it's frοm another country!
I don't know. It drives me nuts. That's why I'm going to watch this god-awful movie again, even though it nearly killed me the first time, and try to recap it for you. Maybe somewhere along the way we'll discover together the answer to this mystery. But more likely, I'll just bitch and curse a lot, and hopefully piss a bunch of fanboys off by tearing this skid-mark of a movie apart.
Most movies in this genre feel compelled to lay out the ground rules right frοm the beginning in a long introductory segment, typically in the form of crawling text read by an overly-dramatic narrator who sounds like he gargles tobasco sauce. The most famous of these is the endless crawl frοm Alone in the Dark, but Night Watch has one, too. At least this movie punches up the overblown backstory (which is much more interesting than what occurs in the actual movie by far) with actual footage.
"As long as humanity has existed," the narrator growls, "there have been Others among us." Already this movie bugs the piss out of me. I guess it's a grammatically-correct sentence, but there's something about the phrase "has existed" that really raises my hackles. This is some weird semi-passive conditional present perfect tense that I could rewrite about a half-dozen ways and any one of them would flow better: "Since humanity began, the Others have lived among us." "The Others have been among humanity since its beginning." "Among" is a funny word. It's just fun to say. Among! Among! Among!
All right, I'll get back on track. While showing us some footage of a mangy dude in rags who carries a useless bundle of sticks around for no readily apparent reason like one of the peasants in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the narrator tells us that the Others are basically normal people with extraordinary abilities like "witches, sorcerers, shapeshifters, as varied as the stars in the sky." Uh, basically they're like the X-Men, but we don't have the budget to actually show them doing anything cool. The rest of this plays out like every Japanese import RPG on the Playstation you've ever seen: the two sides divide up into the Light Others and the Dark Others-- and am I alone in thinking that calling them "Others" is really lame-sounding?-- who behave generally as you'd expect a group of weirdos who call themselves "Light Others" and "Dark Others" would. I mean what do you expect Dark Others to do other than torment humanity, wreaking blood, death, and misery in their wake? Hold bake sales? The Light Others don't really have much of an established ethos except that they think the Dark Others are assholes who cause a lot of unnecessary death. So if you think of them as Democrats and Republicans, it makes a little more sense.
Anyway, it just so happens that these cats are marching in their respective armies in some vague and misty land, the Light Others clad in shiny plate armor and looking generally like the knights of Gondor, the Dark Others looking scuzzy and greasy, generally looking like the Wild Men of Isengard. These armies coincidentally encounter each other at the same time on either side of a bridge, an occurrence that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but the narrator really tries to sell as something immense and cataclysmic: the armies of Light and Darkness, neither seeming to believe in advance scouts, meet at a bridge by accident and seem mutually dumbstruck by the situation. If you haven't noticed, armies are quite large. You tend to see them coming, unless, ironically, you happen to be a character in the Lord of the Rings books where armies just drop out of the sky all the fucking time. But in this case, when you're walking up to a major bridge, I'm thinking at least one guy would see a few thousand other soldiers approaching frοm the other side and have, a few hours to let his buddies know what to expect when they get there. Hell, let's play by comic book logic; you're telling me that neither side, both of which possess people who can summon magic and turn into winged animals didn't see this coming?
Think I'm reading too much into the whole "surprise" element of it? The narrator says that upon seeing each other on either side of the bridge, neither king was willing to back up and let the other cross. So maybe they did see each other, but neither side gave a shit and kept marching, thinking "well they'd better get out of our way, or we'll throw them a beating!" Meaning that this whole conflict between good and evil was sparked off over a bridge-crossing dispute. Even funnier, this seems to indicate that the armies of Good and Evil Others (who all conveniently live in the same place and are not, in fact, spread all over the planet) weren't even looking for one another. This war was not planned at all!
King Gesser, Lord of the Light stares across the bridge at King Zavulon (seriously, that's his name), a guy who dresses like the Kurrgan frοm Highlander and his army of greasy bastards who I keep expecting to shout "what's in your wallet??" Zavulon doesn't send a rider to parley, instead, the mere sight of King Gesser eyeballing him provokes this immediate reaction:
Oh yeah. This shit is on. Zavulon shows the other guys his fuckin' metal face and the Dark Others charge across the bridge. King Gesser's expression seems to say "All right, sunshine, you wanna play? Choke on DEEZ nuts!" Gesser wastes no time in ordering a counter-charge, forcing both armies to clash in the center of the bridge. Needless to say, King Gesser is not a tactical genius, because he should have been doing cartwheels of joy that Zavulon was dumb enough to force his army into an enclosed space against an equal force quite comfortably stationed on the other side. You know, like pelting them with arrows as they cross and surrounding them on three sides when they get to your side. But conveniently, neither army believes in arrows (that's just cheating!) and even more ridiculously, nobody on either side ever employs these highly-destructive superpowers, shapechanging and magic that have been so highly-touted by the narrator. You'd think this would be a great time to have lightning bolts crashing frοm the heavens, gargoyles ripping people frοm their saddles, psychic vampires making peoples heads explode and drinking blood frοm their neck-stumps, or maybe...oh, I don't know...werewolves? How pumped would you be to see medieval armies clashing using werewolves as shock troops? Alas, this is not meant to be, because Night Watch's idea of super-powered wizards and shapechangers battling is knights and cavemen clubbing each other. When Uwe Boll can direct a better medieval battle than you, take notice.
Oh, there are a few hints of powers being used: you see a CG spider about the size of a fist crawl out of some guy's mouth, and a few shots of dudes roaring at the sky, probably with a few cheap prosthetics glued onto their face, but it's all so cheap-looking that I hesitated to even mention those things as "powers." It's clear that the makers of this film lacked the finance, technology, and expertise to pull this movie off anywhere near our usual standards of even a direct-to-video sci-fi flick. Every Sci-Fi Channel original movie I've seen was light-years better than this, and I've seen fucking Frankenfish.
Lord Gesser does absolutely fuck all to help his army as the slaughter commences. He just stands there looking, well, Russian, progressively getting bloodier as more people die and spray him with gore, wearing a blank "well this pretty much sucks" expression. "Lord Gesser wept," the narrator tells us, even though he's not weeping at all. Maybe he means a more internalized form of weeping. All I know is that instead of having his little moment of existentialist angst, maybe he should pick up a sword and start making some lunchmeat. Eventually he realizes with grim certainty that the armies are equally-matched, and if the battle continues they'll end up destroying each other completely. This thought shouldn't really bother someone who truly exemplified the concept of Good. After all, what small price is their sacrifice if it means forever eradicating the forces of evil? But Gesser casts a spell to freeze time and summons Zavulon over to form a truce. Amazingly, Zavulon doesn't just scream "AAAARRRRGGGGHH!!" and chop his head off like he wanted to do a few seconds ago, and agrees to the deal.
Then we see both kings lean in to whisper in the ears of the Grungy Peasant Guy we saw earlier, who looks rather confused as to what the hell he's doing standing in the middle of this bridge, and why two guys dressed like extras frοm The Return of the King are muttering stuff at him. In fact, it kind of looks like the two guys are groping him below the belt and saying really dirty things to him, because he spends the whole time cringing the same way a guy in lockup does when a cop's got his thumb up his asshole. Anyway, these are the terms of the truce:
- You do not talk about Night Watch.
- You do not talk about Night Watch.
- No one could be forced to good or evil without choosing freely. (Telemarketing calls, however, are allowed.)
- The soldiers of light would be called Night Watch, making sure Dark Others obeyed the truce. (Light Ones, Dark Ones, only Sith deal in absolutes!)
- The soldiers of darkness would be called Day Watch, to do the same. (Those treacherous Good Guys, always breaking the rules...)
- The first runner-up winner takes the place of Miss USA in the event that she cannot fulfill her duties.
- During interleague play at Dark Other ballparks, Light Others may use a designated hitter.
And so the truce has been maintained for hundreds of years. Amazing, since we never actually find out the terms of the truce, merely who is enforcing it. I wonder how they can tell each other apart, unless they have ID cards or a WWJD wristband to mark their allegiance. Maybe siding with the Dark Others is like being a Dark Jedi in Knights of the Old Republic, where the more evil you are, the pastier your skin gets. Then again, this is Russia and everyone already lacks any semblance of skin pigment, so I suppose that doesn't help. If I were organizing it, I would set up bowling nights and mixers so members of each side could meet and share stories over a brewsky and some barbeque. Just because they're evil doesn't mean we can't invite them over for poker once in a while.
Just in case this movie wasn't derivative enough of Star Wars for you, the narrator reminds us that one day there will come an Other more powerful (in the Force) than any other Other (because of his high midichlorian count) who will have to choose between Light and Dark, and his choice will dramatically shift the balance (of the Force.) Anakin. Darth Vader. Fuck!!
Fast-forward to Moscow, 1992 where a guy named Anton who looks disturbingly like me if I dressed in really embarrassing wool pullovers knocks on a door in a tenement building. An older woman resembling Roger Ebert in drag answers the door. Anton says he's here about an ad in the paper, and hands her a picture of himself at her request. She lets him into her apartment and inspects the photo, taken at a wedding with himself and Anton's wife. The old lady starts guessing at Anton's situation, that his marriage is rocky and his wife is pregnant by another man. Anton doesn't deny this, and indeed seems rather impressed with Grandma Ebert's deduction. She claims her family has always had a gift for divination, although it's not hard to guess that a woman married to a guy who dresses like Anton would seek other male companionship in a hurry. Believe me, there's few things more effective as a chick-repellant than a guy with my hair who wears a wool-knit sweater over a a white button-up shirt and an orange floral-print tie. I haven't dressed this dorky since I played Cratchett in a Methodist production of A Christmas Carol when I was twelve. And if you can imagine me as a 12-year-old dressed in a cardigan and khaki Dockers visiting my destitute family and my taller crippled ten-year-old son hobbling around on modern aluminum crutches without laughing, you truly are a saint. Let's just say I have little faith in any God who allowed me to butcher the noble art of theatre for so many years in Sunday youth group. The only thing I've ever seen that was sadder was the children's choir who often sung "Jesus Loves the Little Children" as if the pastor had a gun to a puppy's head.
Where was I? Oh, right, Anton. The old lady tells him she can fix his love life, no problem: kill the illegitimate kid with some magic, toss an enchantment on her and everything will be right as rain. It sounds good to Anton, who readily agrees to the cheapest abortion you can get not involving a bent coathanger. They shake on it, and Grandma Ebert jams a needle into his thumb faster than George Bush can veto a troop withdrawal deadline. Hilariously, instead of Anton screaming "OW!!" or even looking perturbed by this unexpected jab he just gets a puckish "ooooh, naughty" look. She takes the blood droplet and mixes it with vodka (what else) and lemonade in a shotglass. I call this new drink an Electric Screwdriver! She hands him this magic potion and tells him to drink it. He seems repulsed, but Ebert says "Don't worry! Everything's sterile with me." Oh, clearly. I don't know what put me at unease. Anton doesn't seem much relieved either, so she's like, "look, do you want your unborn child to be strangled with the unholy tendrils of Shub-Niggurath and violently miscarried in a torrent of uterine blood or not?" So he drinks the stuff.
Suddenly his consciousness leaps out of his mind and he has a vision of his wife (sort of foxy, by Russian standards, which is to say she does not have a thin layer of insulating fur and retractable claws to best grip the tundra) macking another bland guy, when suddenly she pulls away and robotically says "I can't be with you anymore." Anton, who is now starting to look less like me and a lot more like Topher Grace if he shopped at the Gap, is looking a little spooked as Grandma claps her hands and gets ready to kill the baby. We cut between Grandma and Anton's wife as she writhes on the ground clutching at her stomach wile Grandma makes telekinetic gestures in the air like she's wringing out a wet towel. I think this would have been a lot funnier if she had a Cabbage Patch Doll strung up by the neck and she started punching it like a boxer's speed bag, making buddiga-buddiga-buddiga sound effects and humming snatches of "Eye of the Tiger." I think even other Dark Others would look at that and say "holy shit, now that is evil." But then they'd have a good laugh over it. 'Cause they're evil.
Anton starts to have second-thoughts about the whole process, but conjuring demonic spirits to crush your unborn child's larynx isn't something you can half-do. It's sort of all-or-nothing, so when Anton tries to interrupt the sorcerer an unseen force throws him back against the wall, crashing through a pile of his own subtitles, something so unexpected and hilarious it's actually awesome. Subtitlers never get to have any fun.
Suddenly the old lady is pulled to the floor, and we can hear men shouting as she's pinned on the ground spread-eagle by unseen hands. Anton has decided to temporarily check out of this scene, spending most of it surrounded by ethereal insects, trailing his hand back and forth in front of his eyes like someone who's discovered LSD for the first time. Now we can see two very pink men wearing shades and trenchcoats (because when you're a supernatural stalker of the night, you're basically issued shades and trenchcoats to wear at the most unsuitable times) wrestling with the lady, shouting "don't let her clap!" They call to a young woman (wearing shades, natch) named Tiger Cub at the door for help, because apparently this lady has the strength of ten Mrs. Doubtfires and they can't hold her arms any longer. Now, it would be funny to me if Tiger Cub turned into a giant shark or something instead of a tiger, but that's what she does, anthropomorphizing into a shoddily-CG'ed tiger, leaping to the rescue, anthropomorphizing back into a person, and holding a scalding frying pan between the old lady's hands just as they're about to clap together.
You must admit, turning into a tiger was absolutely crucial in that situation in order to clear the ten feet between the woman and the door. She couldn't have just, you know, run over there and done the same thing in the same span of time. Transforming into a tiger might have been interesting if she had actually done something with it, like, say, tearing her face off with her giant claws. Tigers are sort of known for that. Instead all she does is turn back into a human, grab a searing hot iron skillet with her bare hands and uses it to burn the other lady's hands. And conveniently, none of the skillet's sizzling contents shower down on anyone on the floor either, because between shots the pan becomes miraculously empty. Maybe the tiger ate it real fast. But setting aside the total uselessness of Mrs. Weretiger for a second, how lame are the two guys who couldn't even hold down one woman with all the fighting prowess of my grandma? Although, come to think of it, my grandma was really strong. Remember when yours used to pinch your cheek? It was like fucking industrial calipers.
The Others (who look like Tony Soprano and Mark Boone Junior) immediately forget about Anton (and really, who wouldn't?) and hold an ad hoc trial for Grandma Madden for violating the truce and "conspiring to assassinate." I'm still not really sure what she did wrong. I mean, sure, she was about to commit murder, but hello? She's a Dark Other. It's what she does, and Anton agreed to it. Don't Dark Others get any kind of legal representation? You have to figure if anyone's got lawyers on their side, it's the army of darkness.
Anyway, Anton is still crawling around on the floor swatting at absinthe bugs when he finally asks who the hell everyone is, a question that startles all present. "He can see us!" remarks one. "He's an Other."
The movie blessedly spares us the usual 30-minute sequence where the hero acts confused, then angry, then gets shown around the Night Watch's super-secret lab while some old guy recites the same bloated back-story we heard earlier, meeting the eccentric socially-awkward mad scientist who makes all their gadgets and the brooding loner hero who will eventually develop a grudging respect for him by the end of the picture, then slowly comes to terms with his otherworldliness by just cutting to black and saying "12 YEARS LATER."
And by the way, just to rob you of any possible suspense this movie might have held for you, Anton's aborted child will show up later in the movie and be revealed to be the Chosen One who will unbalance the truce. No, I don't remember that frοm the first time I saw it, and I didn't remember it this time; I'd figured it out the first time as soon as it happened, and I figured it out just now in the exact same way. Now you can probably imagine why this movie was so boring to me. The entire film hinged on its major shocking revelation, and eleven minutes in I've already got the plot entirely figured out. Now I have to watch these idiots poke around for two hours trying to figure out what I already know.
Fade up to a kid swimming around in a public pool when he finds that his nose is bleeding and he's hearing a strange voice in his head repeating "Come to me..." Now we find Anton crashed out on his bed, and despite being a member of the Night Watch he's still unable to shake his strange fascination with really homo schoolboy sweaters. And just when I was complimenting the movie on compressing Anton's indoctrination into the Night Watch and the World of Darkness, he immediately starts flashing back into an annoyingly-edited sequence where he starts asking all those stupid questions you'd expect. They tell him that he's a Seer, an Other with uncontrollable visions of the future. Anton asks why his vision is so dark and cloudy, and it's because he's "slipped into the Gloom. It's a place only Others can go." Sort of a parallel dimension where you become invisible to normal people and everything looks like what Frodo sees when he puts on the One Ring. Only it's really cheap and Russian. I just find it interesting to see what Russians interpret as "Gloom," because I've seen pictures of the place, and it's hard to believe they can envision something more depressing. Although I imagine the standard Russian emotional defense mechanism is somehow always managing to find a way that the situation could conceivably be worse.
Anton is watching a fishing show on TV-- just the action kick this movie needs-- when he receives a call frοm his boss telling him to prepare for an emergency. Someone is being "Called" and he has to track that person before he gets to his destination or Something Bad will happen. Anton's boss then proceeds to explain every fucking detail of what the Call is and what it does to its victim. This takes four fucking minutes to explain, because the asshole speaks so slowly and monotonically that he sounds like he's on a goddamn intravenous horse tranquilizer.
"A victim hearing the Call will have high blood pressure, and may bleed. The Call puts him in a sort of trance. He doesn't think about where's going, he just knows he has to get there. Any signs he sees along the way, he tells himself they're instructions. Anything he hears, he takes for an order."
"Don't forget your weapon, and use the right light bulb this time.""You'll know you've found the victim when you hear the Call as clear as he does. If you're not feeling it yet, try another swig of the red stuff. Need me to get more?"
I mean Jesus Christ, who is this guy? Does he think Anton is a total fucking moron?
My point is, Anton has probably been doing this for twelve years, and if he doesn't know what the Call is by now, he never will. You Night Watch guys should print this stuff up in a handbook because it sounds fairly common. This is screenwriting so bad it would send David Mamet screaming into a padded room, never to return. You can't just drop four minutes of useless exposition on an audience for absolutely no reason, not even bothering to mask it in a conversation or anything. This is why you have everyman characters, to explain the weird shit to. You don't explain the weird shit a guy who's been dealing with weird shit for more than a decade. When it comes to weird shit, Anton already bought the t-shirt. Anton barely listens to the guy-- and if this guy runs down the entire paranormal spiel every time he gives him a mission, I honestly can't blame him -- and hits the fridge for a plastic jug that is definitely not full of blood, forcing Anton to make a side trip to procure some more.
So what, Anton is a vampire now? Forget Anne Rice; this is where the drama's at. Anyway, Anton covers himself with layers of drab gray clothing (this is Russia), pulls his hoodie up, puts on a pair of sunglasses, and generally does his best to make himself look like the most suspicious person in the world, right down to his exaggerated "don't mind me, I'm a humble Russian bum" slouch and his ceaseless fidgeting. I presume he's covering up to shield himself frοm the sun's harmful rays, but to me his whole "cool stalker-of-the-mid-afternoon" disguise is about as effective as when Walker, Texas Ranger tried to pass himself off as a Mexican day-laborer named Gomez. He recruits the aid of some kid living in his building and they go off to a butcher's in the nearby market.
The older guy chopping meat shuts off his radio and scolds the kid, "I told you not to bring anyone here." So either the guy hates customers or he somehow detected something amiss with Anton's incredibly suspicious disguise. The kid, himself dressing in a red naugahyde jacket, a 70s-era button-up shirt with lapels so wide you could hang-glide frοm them, and a Hunter S. Thompsonesque hat is no fashion icon either. The kid vouches for Anton and they go into a meat freezer where the butcher pours him a small amount of blood frοm a Thermos, noting that it's still warm.
"Pig's?" Anton asks. The fuck do you care, Anton? The butcher looks sheepish-- for what reason, I don't know why; he is, after all, a butcher, so what in the hell kind of blood did you expect him to carry?-- and admits that it is, but that pig's blood is almost identical to human blood. Anton gives him a real "fuck you" look and hesitates for a long moment. Look, just drink the fucking goo and let's get on with this. Finally he chugs the blood and doubles over retching, backing out of the freezer without so much as a word of thanks.
The butcher again asks the kid what the hell he was thinking bringing Anton along here; the only reason a Night Watch member ever drinks blood is when he's hunting vampires like them. The kid rips his shades off and looks stunned, like he had no idea that's how the Night Watch systematically hunts and kills his own kind, or indeed, that Anton was even part of the Night Watch in the first place. I'm not even sure how you could possibly not know what side an Other is on. Is he on your side or not? And that still doesn't explain why the butcher offered the blood to Anton in the first place, being evil and under no obligation to aid a member of the Night Watch whatsoever, or how vampires are able to operate in the presence of direct sunlight. And why would Anton feel compelled to seek assistance frοm a Dark Other in the first place? Wouldn't he have sources of blood in the Night Watch more sympathetic to his cause? Why didn't he take up that guy on the phone's offer?
Elsewhere, the same Others frοm Anton's past are loitering around some kind of construction vehicle, wondering why Anton won't answer his phone. Tiger Cub (famous for changing into a were-duck-billed-platypus) guesses he must be underground, and zip, right she is. Anton is hanging out on a subway train, compulsively sucking his fangs as if the filmmakers thought us too stupid to surmise by now that Anton is a vampire. The clues were subtle, I admit. Without this scene, the milk jug filled with human blood in his fridge and Anton's compulsive pestering of butchers for warm pig's blood might never have tipped me off.
The summoned kid with a nosebleed shows up on the train, so Anton does what a responsible Night Watch member with an important mission would do: he stands behind the kid at an uncomfortably close distance, visibly resisting the urge to stroke the kid's hair like some weird pedophile. I'm not sure what I'd do in a similar situation, but if I were Anton I think my opening line might have been "Excuse me, you're under the compulsion of a supernatural entity and I should accompany you to the nearest law-enforcement official." Some slack-jawed yokel (Russia has those too, it seems) starts guffawing loudly at Anton's perverted behavior and shouts "you feel like shit, huh?!" In New York, this is enough reason to preemptively stab another person you encounter on the subway in the lungs. Instead, Anton leans in close and says "Right now I feel like chewing your fucking ear off." It succeeds in confusing the man, but does nothing to dispel the image he's projecting of a psychopathic child predator. A simple "fuck off, skid-mark" would have sufficed.
Free of distractions, Anton resumes his intensely creepy behavior, only now he busies himself using his vampiric sight to oggle the kid's arteries, licking his lips and making little dry-humping motions. The kid remains oblivious until Anton messily squishes a fly against the window right in front of him, prompting him to flee frοm the disturbed individual like any rational person would. Anton looks surprised at this reaction (what did you expect?) and tries to pursue the kid, but finds himself hampered at the sudden influx of passengers at the latest stop. The music starts to ramp up the tension as the passengers berate him for shoving, and when Anton sees a blonde woman at the other end of the train. She'd look perfectly normal if not for the wind machine situated directly underneath her blowing her hair straight upward like the Bride of Frankenstein (which, oddly, no one seems to notice.)
Anton whips out his magic flashlight (yes, that's the super-weapon of the Night Watch: a cheap flashlight with a hippie crystal wedged in it) and shines it on the woman. If it does anything, I'll be fucked if I can figure it out. He starts experiencing some weird vision of a blasted-out warehouse (which doesn't narrow it down much in Russia) surrounded by dark clouds and swarms of bats (again...). Anton starts wailing his lungs out and gripping his flashlight like he was about to activate his Megazord powers with it, when he finds that nobody at all is paying him any attention or even looking in his direction. Everything appears to be normal. Nobody's even upset with him for bumping into them a few seconds ago, which is unusual. The only person who seems to take any note is a grouchy old lady who turns to him and says "wearing sunglasses indoors and shouting like a lunatic, get a job!"
Anton continues to follow the kid when he gets stopped by a couple of cops who demand to see his papers, and given that he looks like the goddamn Unabomber, I applaud the police for doing so. Instead of asking the cops for help-- you know, being sensible and saying "Officers, I believe that child is alone and may be in extreme danger. Could you please stop him and take him home?"-- he instead decides to give them attitude and tries to run away frοm them, eventually scaring them off by vomiting blood. This might have been a good time for a fight sequence or a display of Anton's vampiric powers, you know...
The brainwashed kid eventually makes his way to an abandoned building where a phantasmal creep who acts like Buffalo Bill frοm Silence of the Lambs in a garish yellow shirt takes a trimming of his hair and subdues him. Anton calls his friends in, who respond by kicking their huge truck into high-gear, complete with a totally unnecessary C.S.I.-style camera shot of the truck's fuel-injection. "High-gear" in this case means that the otherwise normal city utility vehicle starts belching out twin exhausts of hellfire and races down the streets at near warp-speed, trailing fire like the fucking Batmobile. Good to see the Night Watch believes in maintaining a low-profile: vomiting blood on cops, equipping city vehicles with jet engines, dressing like drug dealers in a bad episode of CHiPS...
There are two baddies, the guy and his girlfriend. He holds the kid still and tells his girlfriend to get sucking. She's resistant at first, but her boyfriend's half-hearted "Come on!" is enough to change her mind. Just as she's about to sink her fangs into the boy's throat, Anton stumbles (yes, stumbles) into the room calling out official-sounding things like "um, Night Watch." He shines his magic flashlight around to absolutely no effect and tells the vampires to "step out of the Gloom, now." They do so, becoming visible in the real world, but I have no idea why they'd bother following this command or why it would even matter to Anton if they were in the Gloom or not. Can't he see into both worlds just as easily?
The gold-shirted vampire leaps out and stabs Anton in the stomach with a pair of small hair-trimming scissors (oooooooh, that's a deathblow) and follows it up by stabbing him through the hand. Anton shouts out for the kid to run and executes a somersault kick to the guy's teeth in bullet-time. I get the feeling this is but the first gratuitous abuse of bullet-time we're going to see in this movie. Goldshirt starts howling and grabbing at his mouth, bemoaning the loss of his teeth. Dude, you're a vampire. Somehow I think you'll be all right. Really bad, repetitive Russian metal music flares to life as Anton tries to defend himself frοm his frenzied attacker. Goldshirt's girlfriend swats pathetically at his back, trying to break up the fight while Anton scrabbles for his flashlight. He grabs it and shines it in their direction, the beam causing huge burns and boils to appear on the woman's face. Hilariously, instead of moving out of the way of the horrible scalding beam of energy, she's content to stay fully immersed in it, screaming at the top of her lungs.
Anton's buddies can hear over his cell phone that he's in trouble, so they start weaving dangerously in and out of incoming traffic, careening wildly around corners in their jet-powered truck. Suddenly they come across Zavulon, the Lord of Evil, crossing the street by sheer coincidence and slam on the brakes to avoid hitting him. You can imagine how effective hitting the brakes in a rocket-powered truck might be, but Zavulon impulsively throws his hand out, catapulting the truck end over end, sailing over his head and crashing messily beyond.
How random was that? They just happened to encounter the fucking Lord of Darkness at a crosswalk in Moscow? Even better, they recognized him in a trenchcoat at midnight while attempting to steer in a rocket-car going 150 mph through traffic? Hell, I'd think seeing Zavulon in the middle of the road, your impulse would be to floor the gas pedal.
Goldshirt turns himself invisible while his girlfriend scurries off to nurse her burns. Anton tells the guy to come out of the Gloom, "I don't want to hurt you!" Amazingly, the vampire does not piss himself in terror at the threat of a man who can't see him at all and has no weapon. He starts thrashing Anton all over the place with his scissors. For some reason, Anton cannot enter the Gloom or see into it, so what the hell good is he as a Seer? Isn't he a vampire, too? Can't he do anything the other vampires can do? Why does Anton suck so much? A minute ago he was busting out Matrix-Fu, and now he's stumbling around attacking the darkness with a fucking coat rack, holding a broken shard of a mirror against his face, because you can only see someone hiding in the Gloom with a mirror. Funny, I thought the one place you couldn't see a vampire was in a mirror.
Anton continues to get his scrawny ass kicked until the jet-truck, miraculously unscathed frοm being telekinetically bitchslapped by Zavulon and spiked nose-first into the asphalt at over a hundred miles an hour roars onto the scene, shining its high-beams in through the door just as Goldshirt is about to finish Anton off. Anton reflects the headlights in his mirror, pinning the vampire in its harsh light and turning him into ash. Damn, the Night Watch has magic headlights, too. Either that, or being a vampire isn't nearly as cool as you'd think if you have to avoid major highways for the rest of your life. Come to think of it, why isn't Anton instantly incinerated just like the other vampire?
Whatever. The Others load Anton's carcass into their van (not a scratch, it's fucking incredible) just as the Day Watch pulls up. Their leader, some guy in ridiculously tacky Adidas workout gear who looks like John Malkovich's character frοm Rounders, Teddy KGB, walks up demanding to arrest Anton on the charge of the unlawful use of lethal force. The Night Watch guys basically tell him to go piss up a rope and drive off. Which raises the question as to who, exactly, maintains this truce? It seems to me that there needs to be some neutral arbitration on this matter by a third-party. Otherwise, won't every dispute boil down to both sides just pointing fingers?
They take him to Lord Gesser's building, the "City Light Company" and haul him bleeding onto his desk. Apparently Anton weighs about two thousand pounds because it takes five people straining to drag him across a table, some shouting with the incredible exertion. Gesser sweeps the rubbish off his desk, a feat so dramatic and important it takes bullet-time to fully convey its magnitude, and orders everyone out while he operates. He rolls up his sleeves and starts pulling what look like big steel needles out of Anton's gut (when did those get there?) while wondering aloud how Anton got so beat-up, since all Night Watch officers are trained in combat, both for their safety and the safety of the Dark Others they're meant to detain. "Why didn't you step into the Gloom?" Gesser asks. Does it count as a plot hole if the movie flat-out tells you it's a plot hole?
Anton babbles drunkenly about a vortex and apocalypse, and about the woman he saw on the subway that triggered his bat-vision. This intrigues Gesser, so he takes his belt off (eewwww!) and uses it to strap their heads together after using electrical tape to hold one of Anton's eyes shut. This is every bit as stupid-looking as it sounds, and twice as pointless as you think. Somehow belting their skulls together allows Gesser to experience Anton's memories of the subway and the vision he received. I just love a movie that replays an entire scene five minutes after we just saw it. As a normal member of the viewing audience you can't expect me to retain anything in short-term memory for longer than forty seconds unless there are boobs or explosions on the screen. Anton says he thought the blonde woman was a vampire, so he turned his UV light on it, which annoys me for two reasons:
- This stupid flashlight, which I assumed was magical because of the crystal inside it, is really just an ultraviolet light? You'd certainly never guess that judging frοm the pure white light coming out the end. This is the standard-issue weapon of the Night Watch, a UV light that runs on D-cell batteries and cooks vampires.
- Anton was perfectly willing to roast an innocent woman on a packed subway car in full view of hundreds of bystanders for absolutely no reason. Even if she was a vampire she hadn't done anything to violate the truce.
Gesser finds his phone and calls his R&D department to set up an emergency meeting. He also tells the geek-on-duty to check the weather reports for anything unusual. Start with the Google keywords: apocalypse, spinning abyssal vortex of, global extinction event, Book of Revelations. Sure enough, the Russian equivalent of the AccuWeather DopplerTron FiveThousand reveals that Moscow will be under a tornado alert tomorrow. You'd think an occurrence this unusual which be much bigger news. How is it possible that nobody knows that tomorrow it's extremely likely that tornados will crash through the capital of Russia? But more on this later.
Gesser, totally wiped out frοm the Russian Mind Meld, paws open a book on Byzantine lore that just so happened to be on his desk at the time and flips it open, explaining that the woman Anton saw was the Virgin, a legendary figure depicted on every page of his scholarly tome as flip-book art. Clearly she was a massive figure in the history if Byzantium if an artist took the time to make a little picture in the corner of each page that seems to move if you fan the pages real fast. He explains that the Virgin was cursed so that she became a supernatural calamity, destroying everything good and pure she came into contact with. Puppies and birds would die frοm her touch, crops would fail, her cookies were inevitably dry, hordes of darkness would rise frοm Hell in her wake, and the copier would always run out of toner when she tried to use it. Needless to say, it was hard for the Virgin to get a date. Her destructive presence spurred on the entire conflict between light and darkness long ago (*cough*BULLSHIT*cough*), and one day she is destined to return to herald the final battle and the arrival of "The Great Other," a being so incredibly powerful its choice between light or darkness will irreparably skew the Balance. Gee, this all sounds terribly familiar. Could it be because I heard a speech almost exactly like this at the beginning of the movie? I admit, this movie ain't exactly gripping me but I'm not a complete idiot. This movie is gonna be real fucking long if it feels compelled to explain everything to me twice.
Cut to an awful pop music concert featuring four rigid chicks singing what sounds like a languorous, half-time rendition of that annoying "I-ee I-ee I-ee I, I'm your little butterfly" song frοm Dance Dance Revolution. It's like Tatu without the on-stage lesbian shit. For reasons that can only be explained by supernatural mass-hypnosis or unbelievably good drugs, the stadium is completely full of people cheering this tuneless drivel. Even Mr. Adidas seems into it, still wearing his sunglasses in the dead of night, and accessorizing tonight with a petite white furry cap. Zavulon calls him up and tells him to get Alice back to work, who apparently is one of the singers on stage. This done, Zavulon resumes his videogame, some kind of arcade fighter on his Playstation 2 where he selects himself to square off with some guy wielding a screwdriver and wearing a spiked dog collar. The virtual Zavulon pulls his own spine out while the real Zavulon assumes some kind of hara-kiri executioner pose with his controller. His opponent suddenly springs up and kills him in one hit by stabbing the screwdriver into his skull. One-hit kills in a fighter? That's bullshit! Zavulon looks a little sheepish at this, like "I'm the Prince of Darkness and I'm sitting at home playing Virtua Fighter with myself."
Mr. Adidas pulls Alice aside backstage and explains that "the hairstylist is dead," and she knows what to do about that. So they pile into a car and start looking for his girlfriend, the girl with the burnt face. I don't know how they know where to look, but they find her wandering aimlessly in the middle of the highway and lure her over with a mason jar full of blood. What, don't you keep a liter jar of O-positive in your glove compartment too? They tell her to start Calling the boy back so they can lure Anton out and take revenge on him. Then they smash the jar to remind us idiots that these guys are EVIL.
Anton wakes up in Gesser's office and starts shuffling for the door, talking like his mouth is full of cotton balls that he has to go and find the boy because the surviving vampire will stop at nothing until she's fed on the victim of her calling. Gesser looks surprised at this news, as if he didn't know that's how vampires operate despite being the leader of a major supernatural police agency. What I don't understand is why Anton is so certain that the vampire will Call the boy again, as if she has no choice but to feed on that one exact person. I didn't know vampires were that particular, but then, I also don't know how or why the boy was selected by the Call, or how vampires feed at all if the Night Watch is so able and willing to intercept every Call victim and detain the perpetrators. How is it considered a crime for vampires to feed? They're vampires. It's what they do. Worse, if it's supposed to be common knowledge that Call victims are in such extreme danger, why were measures not taken to find and safeguard the boy frοm further attack? I wouldn't ask so many stupid questions about this shit if it didn't seem like there isn't a single character in this movie who knows what the fuck is going on, particularly the guys who should have written the book on this stuff. It's like having to explain to Count Dracula that sunbathing is a bad idea.
Anton looks thrashed and sounds like he just had his wisdom teeth removed, so Gesser says he's going to give him a partner. He dusts off an old box on his bookshelf and takes out a very dead owl. Anton looks disgusted and throws the owl back, asking "O RLY?"
"YA RLY," Gesser says.
"NO WAI!" Anton refuses. Apparently he's too dense to understand that Lord Gesser, master of magic and righteousness worldwide might not have been pulling his leg by gifting him with a dusty artifact. Honestly, it never entered Anton's mind that the owl might be magic? This movie means to tell me he thinks Gesser is actively trying to piss him off by giving him a taxedermied owl. If he was, it would go down in history as one of the most-random, least-funny pranks ever attempted.
"Hey Gesser, I saw that Anton dude carrying your dead owl out of here."
"Yeah, he's on a mission to save the world frοm the apocalypse and I gave it to him purely to waste his time!"
"Oh man, you are evil!"
With renewed determination Anton...goes to his apartment to sleep. I guess his mission can wait 5, 6 hours; vampires can't be about blood, blood, blood all the time! Olga the Owl (who's not quite dead) flies in his window and messily starts to transform into a human being in a process that can only be described as a sneezing fit. The owl explodes in a shower of mucous, spraying gack and feathers all over the walls for about a minute until a scarred up, homely brunette woman covered in KY Jelly appears in the room. Do not let any part of you believe that this scene is sexy at all, because it isn't. Anton seems a little shocked trying to mentally calculate how many Brawny paper towels this particular mess is going to take and directs her into the shower to rinse her unbelievably disgusting slime off. She explains that she was turned into a dead owl 60 years ago as a punishment for a crime Anton hasn't even heard of. Kinky.
He tries to find "women's clothes," even going so far as to harass his evil next door vampire neighbor. Anton, the fact that women have tits does not make them mechanically incompatible with an over-large t-shirt and sweatpants. Maybe even Anton feels wrong about inflicting one of his horribly nerdy sweaters on another living being. The vampire hands over a suitcase full of his mom's clothes and then proceeds to throw a temper tantrum about how Anton killed a Dark Other who was "a really cool guy" and how it's bullshit that vampires aren't allowed to feed on the living. I'd tell you more about their argument, but after three minutes of watching two pasty white assholes bitch and moan about the unfairness of immortality and the undying thirst for blood I sort of tuned out and started cleaning my fingernails. When I was done, the scene had changed.
Lord Gesser starts telling his Nerd Council that they need to start figuring out where the Virgin is and who cursed her; if they can get the curse lifted they can avert the coming war. My god, it's almost like Gesser is somewhat competent for a change. Even more shocking, the nerds immediately figure out the woman's identity and everyone she might possibly have wronged in the past despite having no knowledge of her identity, name, or appearance other than Anton's vague ramblings.
By amazing coincidence (read: absurd plot contrivance), the little boy who was called by the vampire, Yegor, just so happens to live with the Virgin. We go to their apartment and spend about eight minutes there watching Yegor watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer on television while his mother makes a bunch of calls looking for a babysitter. I'm not sure which is the worse idea: reminding us of quality entertainment like Buffy that we could be watching instead of this wretched pile of goatshit, or somehow misreading a viewing audience badly enough to think a whole scene of a woman calling babysitters smack in the middle of a movie about vampires would be thrilling.
The tension is just too damn high right now, so the movie cuts back to the Nerd Council where some geek on a computer says that a passenger get over Moscow is in trouble because a crow flew into one of their engines. How does one guy on the Internet possibly know what specific mechanical failures are occurring on an airplane? And even if crows do fly at the cruising altitude of a passenger jet, I doubt having one accidentally crash into its engine is likely to do anything more than produce an incredibly fine red mist out the other end. What's most disturbing is that someone allowed an airplane full of people to attempt a landing in a major city under an active tornado alert. That pilot has got balls, man.
Looking at the jet, we again follow C.S.I.'s patented "Too Much Information" Camera as a rivet comes loose frοm the side of the plane (yup, this is Russian workmanship) and falls directly into the ventilation system of the Virgin's apartment building, into the duct leading to her kitchen, and into her Nescafé coffee mug. I know it's Nescafé coffee because her mug is bright red and says "Nescafé" in large friendly letters on the side-- the second time the Nescafé trademark has been featured prominently in the direct center of the screen. Yes, Nescafé: the official morning beverage of the Night Watch!
And no, this has nothing to do with anything; it's just an overly-long, self-indulgent minute-long transition effect back to the apartment, where Face Rash the Vampire has tracked Yegor down and starts clawing at his door. Anton and Olga start charging up the stairs to the rescue, Anton holding his flashlight and darting around corners like he's fucking Jack Bauer. They reach the proper door and find it locked, so at Olga's urging they step into the Gloom, which is really an elaborate way of saying the cinematography shifts to something drab and gray and it generally looks like a Stabbing Westward video. They phase through the door and are confronted with Yegor, armed with a pointy stick. The two hesitate, startled that Yegor can see them in the Gloom. Oh great, now we have to explain all this supernatural horse-hockey a third time.
Olga says that he's not trained to be in the Gloom and if he doesn't leave he's got ten seconds until it will consume him. Anton tries to reach out and touch Yegor to guide him back to the real world, and all the while Olga is annoyingly counting down frοm ten in a naked bid to add tension to an already pointless scene. Olga has no clue how long Yegor's been in the Gloom anyway, and if she pulled that "ten seconds" figure frοm anywhere but her ass, I'll eat my hat. I'm sure it's in the Night Watch handbook, right next to the chapter on how to launder clothes stained with lycanthropy goo.
Anton makes the save too late, and Yegor faints, "claimed by the Gloom," whatever that means. Anton starts administering movie CPR, because when someone's been claimed by the Gloom, it really helps. Then Anton starts looking even more bleached than usual and says that the Gloom is taking him, too. Olga says that they need to distract it by feeding it with blood. Now this movie is just making stuff up. Anton takes out a knife and starts slashing at his arm. It works, and I still don't have the faintest idea of what's been accomplished, or why nobody's worried about the vampire they came here to stop. Spent frοm the ordeal, all three lay on the floor for a while and take turns dreamily explaining to Yegor that he's an Other. All this movie does is show people explaining stuff to each other with deadpan expressions.
And explain they do, for a really, really long time. I've heard this speech so many times already that I'm not even paying attention, distracted by Olga's receding hairline and strange egg-shaped head. Anton finds a picture of Yegor's mom and realizes that Yegor is his son. What are the odds? And where in the hell is Yegor's mom? She was just here a few minutes ago.
The pilot of the imperiled airplane radios control that he needs to make an emergency landing, but somehow the nerds at Night Watch Headquarters knew every detail of the crisis before the pilot even began radioing his S.O.S.. Try and figure that one out.
Anton and Olga hit the road in their rocket truck, handing off babysitting duties to Tiger Cub and Bear. Elsewhere, we find the Virgin caught up in some trouble elsewhere when she finds out one of her neighbor's mother just died. She calls the guy up at the local power company where he works in Sector 7-G doing god-knows-what in some control room full of blinking lights. His partner heads out of the room just as the phone rings, saying that his sausages are boiling and he'd better get back to them. You know, that's the difference between American nuclear energy facilities and Russian: our engineers don't commonly leave sausages boiling unattended in another room while adjusting coolant levels. This is how shit like Chernobyl goes down, know what I'm sayin'?
Anyway, she calls him and delivers the bad news. The guy trembles, stunned at the suddenness of it all. As he sits there, the gauges and readouts all over the room start to go critical, slowly escalating to a crescendo of alarms and klaxons as everything progressively fails, causing a mass-panic at the facility. Because in Russian power plants, a ten-second lapse in concentration is all that stands between safe, reliable nuclear energy and a fucking mushroom cloud. When it blows, power fails all over the city. The plane crashes, or maybe it doesn't, and the director suddenly remembers that it probably should be raining if there's supposed to be a storm going on.
The gang holes up in a safe house commandeered by the Nerd Council, who are analyzing the maelstrom and declare that its "negative field density" is at 87% and growing exponentially. I don't think anybody has any idea what that means, but it sounds really bad. Worse, they can't find anybody in the Virgin's entire life history who might have been powerful enough to curse her. Anton finds himself in the nerds' files, slowly confirming his suspicions that he's the dorkwad who ruined this lady's life by trying to abort his own son.
Zavulon and Gesser are chillaxing in a nearby bedroom (just ew) and call Anton in to join them (double-ew). Gesser tells Zav to hand Anton a protection charm in the form of a chain choker, so he does and goes back to his Playstation. Gesser tells Anton to either figure out who cursed the lady, or failing that, kill her to spare the lives of zillions. Anton and Olga communicate on the phone as he tries to figure out a plausible story to justify his sudden presence at her door and finally decide that he'll claim to be one of her patients, feeling sick and coincidentally stalked her to her apartment. That shouldn't creep her out.
Face Rash the Vampire is still hanging out around Yegor's place, trying to Call him out to feed on him. Bear tries entertaining Yegor with his magic by making a light bulb glow in his hand. It doesn't really work, and Yegor finds the first opportunity to sneak away and follow the Call. I think he should try to add a little flair to it, maybe by making the light bulb glow in his mouth.
Yegor starts climbing up the fire escape while Bear and Tiger start making out-- and looking at Bear, I think Tiger could do a lot better. He looks about as attractive as you'd expect a guy named Bear would look: covered in fur and sweat. Or more succinctly, Canadian.
Anton's cover-story of a sick patient lasts about as long as it takes for me to change the channel when an Enzyte commercial starts, and things go pear-shaped. He starts really creepily begging for forgiveness in an attempt to relieve the curse and asking for her to share a drink wit him. At the same time, Rash Face the Vampire has Yegor hostage and is demanding that the Night Watch agents call Anton back. Eventually, the Virgin confesses that at one time she wished her own mother dead and manipulated her into refusing a kidney transplant-- long story-- and somehow managed to curse herself. This revelation somehow reverses the curse and magically restores power to the entire city (it rebuilt the power plant?) and allows the crashed plane to land safely. It doesn't really seem like the lady forgave herself. All she did was confess what she'd done. Ugh, whatever. If the fate of the world really hinges on this chick's PMS we're all screwed sooner or later.
Anton hurries back to the rooftop where Rash Face Vampire is still waiting with Yegor as hostage, and like an idiot Anton disarms completely, right down to the magical charm around his neck warding him frοm Dark Others that she knew nothing about. They yell at each other for a while about the hypocrisy of the "Light" Others and what it means to retain your humanity in the face of Other-ness, blah blah blah, emo angst wankery crawling in my skin Dashboard Confessional crying whining pouting mincing faggotry pussy dialogue until finally Anton has had enough, brandishes what looks like a Philips-head screwdriver and attacks. Zavulon enters the building and steps into the elevator, summoning up his powers and howling out like Goku gathering up energy for a Kamehameha wave, which makes the elevator go really really fast, making it crash up through the building's roof like a rocket!
Hey Bear? Tiger? You know, this would be a good time for you to actually turn into giant predatory animals and help Anton attack the angry vampire. Or maybe you could, like, shine your UV flashlight on her. Just a thought. Anton regains his feet, finding himself surrounded by dobermans (?) and an inexplicably glowing fluorescent light tube that isn't connected to electricity of any kind, which he swings like a lightsaber to ward the dogs off. The foley artist decides that the sound of a fluorescent light being wielded as an anti-canine weapon sounds like the Three Musketeers getting into a swordfight. Anton runs into Zavulon who can barely believe his luck that Anton threw away the magic charm, the one thing that might have saved his ass at this very moment.
Zavulon then tears out his own spine and collapses into a useless pile of jelly. Okay, that's not what happens. He tears out his spine and holds it in front of him like a sword. A really ugly, ineffectual-looking sword. Then the movie decides to get all arty and spastic, descending into a jumbled, impossible-to-follow action climax that doesn't make a lick of sense, and probably isn't even really happening. It's probably all just some shitty abstraction of the eternal struggle between good and evil, the duality of man, and the ridiculousness of a cardigan-wearing weenie battling an immortal demon-prince using his own spine as a weapon with a fluorescent light bulb.
But I'll try to recap the action anyway. Zavulon disappears. Anton screams at the sight of the rooftops suddenly covered in brawling medieval soldiers. Now Anton drops his light bulb and starts wearing plate mail, dueling with some other guy. He stabs Zavulon with a sword he shouldn't have in the modern world. Zavulon drops his spine. Then some ugly people appear, and Yegor is wearing the armor of a knight of the Riddermark. Now Anton has his light bulb back and nobody's on the roof at all. Say what you like about Turkish Star Wars, at least the fight scenes made a modicum of sense.
Back to medieval times. A guy is strangling and a guy wearing a dog stabs him. The ugly people come back, most of them screaming and baring their really bad teeth. Back to modern times, where there's a war being fought on an anachronistic bridge high above the other buildings of Moscow. Zavulon reappears and kicks Anton's ass. Somehow the light bulb withstands repeated full-on sword strikes, but still doesn't do Anton much good. This moment is intercut with footage frοm Zavulon's videogame, which take place in identical ways. Um, what? I'm fairly sure something seriously prophetic just crapped all over me here. Was the director trying to make some kind of point with this whole videogame thing?
Inexplicably, Anton attacks Yegor with his screwdriver, but is stopped by Zavulon who grabs his wrist and subdues him. Anton insists he didn't want to kill Yegor, so Zavvy has his flunky read the Night Watch report outlining in exacting detail how, yes, Anton really did want his own son dead at one time.
With that in mind and with his own father poised over him with a screwdriver aimed at his head, Zav decides now would be a good time to ask which side he'd like to join. Anton is furious, of course, so Zavulon tells him to take as many open shots as he thinks will make him feel better. So he starts clocking Zav with rights and lefts, not really doing much to save the argument that he's a nice guy. You kinda had to guess the kid would choose the evil side anyway. It wouldn't be much of a trilogy if he joined the good guys and made everything in the world bright and sunny for the next two movies, would it?