If the Russian with subtitles doesn't throw you off just a bit, the cinematic style and storyline may. If you can get through both, you're in for an interesting ride.
"Day Watch" opened in several of the former Eastern Bloc countries on New Years Day 2006, and is finally making its way around to our side of the world. We learn of an age old battle between the Lord of Light and King of Darkness, but where a truce has been struck 1,000 years ago. This delicate balance is now guarded by the Day Watch and Night Watch, respectively.
Yes, it's a hokey beginning, and I had to set aside my views on any film that feels the need to explain itself before launching into a presentation that runs more than two hours in length. In the 1,000 years before, the two forces sought a piece of chalk (yup, the sidewalk-looking Crayola variety) whose very possession can unlock your wants and desires, or some such thing. Again, set aside the quirks of the humble beginnings.
Fast forward to modern day (or close enough), in Moscow. A Day Watch patrol roams the streets, seeking out victims of the Night Watch crew, harming mortals and the like. Trainee Sventa chases one would-be killer into the Level Two Gloom, swatting away at mosquitoes and nearly being absorbed.
It goes on like this. We meet Anton, who really just wants things to be a bit better, and if he could find his son and save him from the clutches of the Darkness, that'd be good for him, too. Bad luck for Anton, he's framed for the murders of several of the Dark's soldiers, and by the terms of the truce a millennium before, the Day Watch is supposed to surrender him to the Dark forces, but the Day Watch isn't keen. This opens the door for a bit of chasing, treachery and action sequences.
The presentation is very impressive, particularly as I don't tend to think of Russia has a mini-Hollywood, as countries go. Fight sequences and battles are reminiscent of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" minus the kimonos. "Day Watch" isn't too heavy-handed with the vampire stuff, so you don't need to be into that scene to enjoy everything the producers managed to pack into this story, and in retrospect, relatively brief two hour film.
A hard one to find, I found -- it came and is now leaving after just a week (likely due to myself and one other guy in the 200+ seat theatre) -- but a gem worth seeking out if it happens to cross a marquee near you.