DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Night Watch, Blu-ray (2004)

“Night Watch” reminds me of a budget version of the “Underworld” films.

Published on December 12, 2008

Night Watch, Blu-ray (2004)
Night Watch, Blu-ray (2004)

Starring: Konstantin Khabensky
Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov
Studio: Fox Home Entertainment
Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 color 1080p HD
Audio: Russian DTS-HD 5.1 Master Lossless Audio; English DTS 5.1 Surround; French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin
Special Features: Audio commentary by Director Timur Bekmambetov; Subtitled commentary by Novelist Sergei Lukyanenko; Seven deleted/extended scenes; “The Making of Night Watch” documentary; Two featurettes (“Characters, Story and Subtitles” and “Night Watch Trilogy”); Still galleries; theatrical trailer; Fox Blu-ray previews; D-BOX enhancement
Feature Length: 114 minutes
Movie Rating: ***   Video Rating: ****
Audio Rating: ****   D-Box Motion Quality Rating: ****

Several centuries ago, two warring factions (The Warriors of Light and The Warriors of Darkness) declared a truce under which each faction formed a police squad to monitor the other’s activities.  The Warriors of Light, who represent good, patrol the Night Watch, while The Warriors of Darkness, who represent evil, patrol the Day Watch.  Each of the two factions also have ‘Others’ within their group, these Others being mortals with supernatural powers such as witches, shapeshifters, and vampires.  Any violation of the truce, either too much good or evil, will bring apocalyptic war.  It was prophesized, however, that a ‘Great One’ would emerge one day and permanently extinguish the threat of this war.  Whatever side the ‘Great One’ chooses will determine the future of mankind.  “Night Watch” reminds me of a budget version of the “Underworld” films.  It has a similar dark undertone and there are plenty of special effects.  While its overall production values aren’t nearly as good, it does a very respectable job for a total budget of only four million dollars.  Certainly a giant leap forward in Russian filmmaking, “Night Watch” is a decent film that is worth a look. [if you're into that sort of thing...Ed.]  

The high definition video quality of “Night Watch” is very good.  Images are clean with nice detail.  Black levels remain consistently dark throughout the movie.  Colors are bright and vivid with fully-saturated hues.  Other than some occasional film grain, picture defect mastering is well done with no major flaws or compression artifacts.  The overall audio quality is also very good with the English DTS 5.1 track.  It effectively incorporates all of the discrete channels into its mix.  Dialogue lacks crispness but is otherwise intelligible and securely anchored in the center channel.  The surround channels are moderately active, utilized for ambient sound effects (especially mosquito buzzing) and the music score, plus include a few split rear effects.  The low frequency effects channel is given ample opportunity to rumble.

“Night Watch” is compatible with the “D-BOX” Motion Code™ System, meaning that if you have the necessary D-BOX equipment, your movie viewing experience will be enhanced by adding both motion and vibration to your chosen seating.  About twenty-five percent of this movie has motion effects and/or vibration present.  Motion effects are present in the form of  punches, kicks, subway train and vehicle movements, airplane turbulence and nuclear power plant explosions.  My favorite D-BOX moment is where the Light Others’ Night Watch truck is racing to Anton’s aid and it slams on the brakes, does a complete flip in the air, lands on its wheels and then continues speeding along.  D-BOX provided me with the sensation of being a passenger in the truck and experiencing the impact as the truck crashed back down on the road after completing its flip.  Overall, I would rate the D-BOX motion/vibration quality for “Night Watch” as very good.

- Calvin Harding Jr.

 




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