Day Watch is a direct sequel to Night Watch. The sequel is based on Day Watch (2000), Sergei Lukyanekos novel follow-up to the original Night Watch (1998) novel that the film was based on. Timur Bekmambetov returns with almost all of the cast from Night Watch. The success of Night Watch in the West has also allowed him a much bigger budget and Day Watch is far more polished in terms of the scale of special effects. Bekmambetov even gets to go on location in Jamaica according to the credits (presumably for the scene where a romantic interlude in the shower transforms into a tropical waterfall).
What made Night Watch was Timur Bekmambetovs frequently wild and out there visions of the fantastic. Belmambetov opens Day Watch with one such sequence set in the icy wastelands of Northern Iraq where the warrior Tamerlane leads a horseback army that covers miles of snow. They arrive at a vast fortress where Tamerlane smashes through the brick walls of the fortress on his horse while Bekmambetovs camera cruises up to a fabulous aerial shot looking down as fighting between hundreds of combatants breaks out in the warren of walls, turrets and courtyards of the fortress below, while Tamerlane makes his way through to the inner sanctum to find a man with his skin painted in gold waiting with the chalk balanced in a pattern of stones. This bodes exceedingly promising things for Day Watch. Things continue a couple of scenes later where Konstantin Khabensky and Mariya Poroshina pursue the masked attacker into The Gloam, which has been revised with a better special effects budget to appear as a realm where insects buzz in patterns of light and the blurry phantoms of figures race past in sped-up motion.
Thereafter though, Timur Bekmambetovs imagination begins to slow down somewhat. Maybe it is that Bekmambetov has improved in terms of making a film that is less constricted in terms of ideas but Day Watch also one ends feeling that the wild imagination of Night Watch has been more rationed. The funniest and wildest sequence is where Zhanna Friske drives her sportscar through the streets at high-speed and then up at a 90 degree angle across the great curved frontispiece of a hotel, before smashing through one of the windows and racing off through the corridors, pushing a cleaning trolley in front of the car, to burst into Viktor Verzhbitzkys office to be greeted with a rather deadpan Dont you ever knock? (The sequence is very similar to the motorcycle chase in Ultraviolet (2006), which came out the same year). There are some other imaginative sequences like where Konstantin Khabensky and Galina Tyunina cause a plane to keep lifting off and landing on the runway as they argue about going to Samarkand, and especially the climax where the unleashing of the silver ball causes a series of pellets to blast through the people in a ballroom, topple a neighbouring tower and unmoor a Ferris Wheel in an orgy of mass destruction. Certainly, Timur Bekmambetov has the same afire visuals (and takes them even further than he could the first time thanks to a bigger budget) but the film between them seems somewhat the lesser. Particularly in the scenes where Bekmambetov stops to conduct a romance between Mariya Poroshina and a bodyswapped Galina Tyunina, Day Watch slows down and even becomes corny.
As before in Night Watch, Day Watch has so much going on in it plotwise that it is frequently difficult to follow. Someone coming in to see Day Watch without seeing Night Watch, as a friend of mine did, would be in considerable confusion about what is going on. One must say though that seen in the light of Day Watch, the plot for Night Watch makes a good deal more sense. You have to commend Timur Bekmambetov as both Night Watch and Day Watch give the impression of having been written as one single story from the outset, as opposed to Day Watch simply being conceived as a sequel because the first film was a success as is usually the case in the West. It is only here that some of the plot elements that were laid down in Night Watch the vampire neighbour, Yegors surrender to the Dark Others, the character of Sveta/Svetlana begin to gain their full flowering and make sense in terms of the overall story.
One of the aspects that Day Watch welcomely retains from Night Watch is the wonderfully visually inventive English-language subtitles Valeri Zolotukhin calls Zhanna Friske a bitch as he throws a raw steak against the wall and the word bitch appears in red amid the blood slithering down the wall; when the score for a soccer game is mentioned, we get the numbers ticking over just like the scoreboard on a pitch; the mention of Galinas murder comes with the words dead highlighted in red; words vibrate on the screen as Valeri Zolotukhin plays a drum; and when Konstantin Khabensky asks an air hostess for some mint drops, the words even turn green.
Timur Bekmambetov has announced a third film in the series, tentatively titled Twilight Watch/Dusk Watch. However, Bekmambetov put plans for this on hold to travel to the US to make the action film Wanted (2008), Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (2012) and the remake of Ben Hur (2016), as well as producing a number of other projects including the animated 9 (2009), the NASA Moon landing/alien possession mockumentary Apollo 18 (2011), the alien invasion film The Darkest Hour (2011), The Snow Queen (2012), Unfriended/Cybernatural (2014) and Hardcore Henry (2015).