Russian director/producer/writer Timur Bekmambetov’s latest offering, “Apollo 18,” is hitting theaters this weekend. With a name a little too strange to be thrown around households, it’s harder for the talented man to get the credit for all the movies he’s helped bring to the screen. Bekmambetov hit the U.S. hard with 2006’s “Night Watch” and never looked back. Let’s take a look at some of the films he has helped give us since his arrival in the States.
2004’s “Night Watch” was directed and written by Bekmambetov. The film centers on two groups of beings called “Others.” The Others choose to be part of the Light or the Dark groups. The two have decided they will live in harmony together until the Great One comes back to Earth and decides which side will dominate. The Light group guards the night and the Dark guard the night, keeping the balance from being upset by renegade forces. The Others can take many different forms, from vampires to animals. “Night Watch” was the first big-budget fantasy film made in Russia. It is the highest grossing Russian film ever, making more money than “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” did when it was released in the country.
This adrenaline-fueled big screen adaptation of Mark Millar’s comic book of the same name ruined action films for me. “Wanted” had everything I ever looked for in an action movie and then multiplied it by two. It was one of the most ridiculously violent over-the-top action flicks I had ever seen when it came out in 2008. The movie had a great cast that included Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, and James McAvoy. It revolves around an accountant named Wesley that finds out his father was part of a league of secret assassins called the Fraternity. He is violently coaxed into joining the group and, after several missions, is sent to kill the assassin who murdered his father. Bekmambetov directed “Wanted” and it was his first theatrical release in the U.S.
In 2009, Bekmambetov joined forces with Tim Burton to produce the computer-animated sci-fi film “9.” The movie was based on director Shane Acker’s short film of the same name. It looked great but was a bit too dark and complex for normal moviegoers. The movie takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where a little stitch punk named 9 fights the machines that destroyed humanity. The voice cast was excellent and included Elijah Wood, Christopher Plummer, Jennifer Connelly, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau, and Tom Kane.
Bekmambetov returned to his homeland in 2009 to help Russian filmmakers Alexandr Voitinsky and
Dmitry Kiseilov bring the action-adventure sci-fi film “Black Lightning” to the big screen. This film is about a college student who is given an old GAZ 21 Volga (English translation: piece of crap) for his birthday. He’s ashamed of the car until he finds out it can fly. There’s also a plotline about some evildoers who want to steal the car because its power source can help them drill for an untapped diamond source intertwined in the movie. This was a fun film with some decent special effects.
Timur Bekmambetov isn’t stopping with the upcoming “Apollo 18.” The Russian filmmaker is busy producing the alien invasion film “The Darkest Hour,” which takes place in Moscow. The movie stars Emile Hirsch and is being released at Christmas. He is also getting back in the director’s chair for the movie adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter,” which is set for release in 2012.
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Eric Shirey is the founder and editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. He also served as a news reporter for the award winning movie website GordonandtheWhale.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo! Movies, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! TV, Associated Content from Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other national entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with iconic movie and TV actors like Harrison Ford, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Brooke Shields, Brendan Fraser, Gene Simmons, and many more. His personal website is www.ersink.com.