Saturday, February 25, 2012
Timur Bekmambetov has been getting a lot of attention in recent years, having crossed over to Hollywood from his native Kazakhstan. After the successful Afghan war movie, Peshavar Waltz, he teamed up with Roger Corman on a remake of The Arena, pitting Playboy models as gladiators. Corman later released a dubbed version of Timur's previous movie, renaming it Escape from Afghanistan. But, Bekmambetov returned to contemporary Moscow in Night Watch (2004), where he pits the forces of light and dark against each other in an apocalyptic thriller played out by two ancient warriors using "others" to keep each other at bay.
He certainly has all the tools to be a great director, but he doesn't seem to be very discerning in his choices. Night Watch is perhaps his best film, as it picks up on Russian obsessions with the occult, dark video games and the gangland world. He plays the film out like a chess match between dark and light lords, who use mediums, or "others," to carry out their actions, prefiguring Jacob and the Man In Black in Lost. Mercifully, he brings his story to an end, with threads that lead to subsequent movies, Day Watch and the yet to be made Dusk.
I think Timur would be more comfortable with a remake of Gogol's Viy or one of Bulgakov's dark tales rather than Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but the trailer looks very entertaining.