AZ Cinema Pit: Night Watch

Night Watch took more money than Lord of the Rings at the Russian box-office, and for a mere $5m, it's an impressive piece of work, easily beating the likes of, say, Van Helsing. I'm a sucker for "epic battle between good and evil through the ages" stories, and this has that in spades - together with a hint of Star Wars in its light/dark side, and the hero's wielding of a fluorescent tube (above).

Back in the middle ages, the forces of good and evil came to a truce, and agreed to set up teams to observe each other's activities, to make sure the truce was observed. Hence the Night Watch, a group of "Others" (as they call the warriors of both sides) who stop evil from going too far. But there's a prophecy about one person, whose choice will determine which side wins: that truce is looking kinda shaky...

It's scheduled as the first part of a trilogy, and might also make sense if you'd read the series of books on which it's based. As is, there are likely too many characters and plot lines for its own good; we'll cut it some slack and assume these will be cleared up in the later installments.

What it does have, is a striking visual style - if you saw the trailer for it, shown before Sin City, you'll know what I mean. The director's background is in adverts and music videos, and it shows, but the effects are worked in to the storyline, rather than the gratuitous add-ones they often seem. You will see things you've not witnessed on the screen before, and this is a very credible effort at Hollywood-style fantasy, with a darker, European edge. If you're a fan of Underworld or the work of Tim Burton - and I'm both - you'll likely enjoy this a lot.

[Night Watch opens in selected cities, July 29]