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Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor) Reviews

Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
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The punchy, nonstop visual effects crowd out coherent storytelling.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

October 20, 2009
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
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For a good hour and change, the film is a big toy box that teases you out of the Gloom.

Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture

July 7, 2007
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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It has a refreshing Old World take on a never-ending fantasy war between vampires and the forces of 'light.'

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 3/5

March 3, 2006
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
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What a rabid beast is Night Watch. What a pungent Russian fantasy-horror cheeseathon.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Original Score: 1.5/4

March 3, 2006
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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This mostly incoherent, enormously eccentric helping of mayhem breaks into so many fragments that watching the movie can be a bit like trying to assemble the pieces from several jigsaw puzzles.

| Original Score: C

March 3, 2006
Michael Booth
Denver Post
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Night Watch was one of the most popular movies ever released in Russia. That just proves there's no accounting for taste, in film or in human sacrifice.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 1.5/4

March 3, 2006
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Goth thrill-junkies will probably get a giddy charge out of this overheated fantasy. The rest of us can have an equivalent experience by putting our brains in a blender and hitting puree.

| Original Score: 2.5/4

March 2, 2006
Bob Longino
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Clarity may be lost, but rare is the movie that grabs viewers by their throats and never lets go. Bekmambetov's Night Watch is one of the grabbers.

Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Original Score: B

March 2, 2006
Kerry Lengel
Arizona Republic
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The faux mythology may be cheesy, the grandiose plot stretched thin and full of holes, but underneath the recycled story and style is a hint of something troubling and real.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 3/5

March 2, 2006
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
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Even though you couldn't call it a great science fiction movie, on the level of Tarkovsky's Solaris and Stalker it's often a great, heart-pumping, blow-you- to-the walls movie experience.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

February 25, 2006
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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While the movie's inspirations might be glam-Hollywood action fantasies, Night Watch fairly wallows in damp, post-Soviet decay.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 2.5/4

February 24, 2006
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
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Though Night Watch is impressive at creating atmosphere, the movie is an impenetrable narrative tangle with plot strands running in every direction.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2.5/4

February 24, 2006
Jeff Shannon
Seattle Times
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If [Director] Bekmambetov had any skill in actually telling a story, his kitchen-sink trilogy would be something to celebrate. It presently qualifies as a dubious achievement.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 2/4

February 24, 2006
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Although it doesn't have Kate Beckinsale, her guns ablazin', vamped out in the latest vampire-slaying couture, Night Watch is vastly more fun than the similar-themed Underworld pics.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 3/4

February 24, 2006
Peter Debruge
Miami Herald
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Night Watch works better as a demo reel for the state of Russian effects work than as a first installment in an epic trilogy.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 2.5/4

February 24, 2006
Tom Long
Detroit News
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Unfortunately, by Hollywood standards, Night Watch is about three Wookies and two Neos short of convincing. All the gobbledygook is in place, but the special effects are minimal and somewhat frustrating.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: C

February 24, 2006
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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The original plan was to remake Night Watch in English, and then thought was given to dubbing it. Thankfully both ideas were scuttled, as the film's Russian-ness and its allusions to post-communist fears and frustrations add greatly to its appeal.

Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Original Score: 3/4

February 24, 2006
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
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Night Watch is shabby chic, with hints of Russia's great silent-cinema past.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 3/4

February 24, 2006
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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Ultimately, it's a formulaic, predictable take on a Hollywood staple: the vampire horror film. That's a pretty tired genre, no matter what language it's told in.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 2/4

February 23, 2006
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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As opposed to the dreary domestic dramas that are [Russian] cinema's stock in trade, this one is a full-stops-out fantasia that is often disgustingly gloppy and looks as if it was birthed by the Wachowski brothers and Quentin Tarantino.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: B

February 23, 2006
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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The film lives up to its hype with a style, swagger and substance that will appeal not just to the fanboys (and girls) but to their uninitiated friends as well.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

February 23, 2006
James Berardinelli
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The film has the twin virtues of being bold and dizzying, but it features a cramped and chaotic narrative that concludes with a climax that doesn't justify the build-up.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 2.5/4

February 23, 2006
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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I confess to a flagging interest in the struggle between the forces of Light and Darkness. It's like Super Sunday in a sport I do not follow, like tetherball.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 2/4

February 23, 2006
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
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The battle between good and evil, in its messy desperation, feels not like a comic-strip confection, as in X-Men, but like the foul-tasting hangover of something true.

February 21, 2006
Stephen Metcalf
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If Night Watch is energetic, it is also frenetic; if neatly plotted, it is also too open-ended, a set-up for the remaining two installments of a trilogy.

Full Review Source: Slate

February 17, 2006
Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
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A wildly entertaining fantasy thriller that propels Russian cinema into the 21st century.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

February 17, 2006
Lisa Rose
Newark Star-Ledger
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Night Watch is narratively confused if visually robust. The picture doesn't work as a standalone story but it sets the stage for a potentially interesting second chapter.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 2/4

February 17, 2006
Kyle Smith
New York Post
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Entire horror flicks could be built around the ideas Night Watch throws away: monsters who are visible only in mirrors, evil toys sprouting spider legs. May the two planned sequels be equally cool.

| Original Score: 3/4

February 17, 2006
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
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To learn the actual outcome of the epic battle, we'll have to wait for Leg 2, Day Watch, which has already been shot, and Leg 3, Dusk Watch, which will be produced in English by Fox. Wake me when they're here.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 1.5/4

February 17, 2006
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
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The filmmakers don't seem to realize that if a movie with a mythology this groan-inducingly convoluted doesn't have a sense of humor about itself, the laughs are going to come anyway. They just won't be of the intentional variety.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: C

February 16, 2006
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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To appreciate Night Watch, you have to accept it as one of those chaotic cartoon movies that refuse to completely add up.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 3/5

February 16, 2006
Stephen Holden
New York Times
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A box-office phenomenon in Russia, the convoluted horror fantasy Night Watch might be described as Star Wars Meets the Vampires in Moscow.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 3.5/5

February 16, 2006
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
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In the final act, the movie dons a more human face and commits to an absorbing tale of crime and punishment.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

February 16, 2006
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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A fractious fiasco: whiplash camera movement set to raging blasts of death metal, a story so incoherent it made me wish I was watching, instead, the collected outtakes from Van Helsing.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: F

February 15, 2006
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
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No hyper-designed ersatz futurism for Bekmambetov. Night Watch is knowingly frugal and proudly cruddy.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

February 14, 2006

Time Out
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An ambitious, flawed and ultimately frustrating fantasy/horror movie from Russia.

Full Review Source: Time Out

February 9, 2006
Leslie Felperin
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The Russians are coming -- hungry for blood!

Full Review Source: Variety

September 13, 2005
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