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Night Watch, Russia’s First Blockbuster Action Movie

3. September 2009 by Gregg 0 Comments

2004 was a notable year for the Russian film industry as Timur Bekmambetov released Night Watch, which became Russia’s first blockbuster action movie and the biggest movie to emerge from the country since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Taking its cues from Fantasy films like the Lord of the Rings, but fusing them with the urban noir landscapes that typify science fiction movies like the matrix and Blade Runner, Night Watch became a hit not only in its country of origin but around the world.

The story focuses on a centuries-long struggle between the forces of Light and Darkness. During medieval times, a truce was struck between them as each side prepared for the coming of “The Great One” a mythical figure who would choose one side or the other and allow them to become dominant. To maintain the truth, each side created a group to monitor the other. The forces of Light created a Nightwatch to ensure the forces of Darkness did not violate their half of the truce, the forces of Darkness created the Daywatch to do the same.

At the beginning of the film, we watch the main character – Anton (played by popular Russian actor Konstantin Khabensky) – and his initiation into the bizarre and dangerous world of the Watches. He is thrust into the middle of a conspiracy that concerns a group of vampires and warlocks, a giant vortex and his own family.

Made for $4 million dollars, a tiny amount compared to most Hollywood movies, Night Watch has now made over $72 million including grosses from all other countries and DVD sales. It launched the career of director Timur Bekmambetov who has now become famous stateside for directing the immensely popular movie Wanted. Night Watch has spawned a sequel, Day Watch, with another to be filmed in the US in the works.