Watch out!

“Night Watch”Fox Searchlight PicturesDirected by Timur BekmambetovWritten by Bekmambetov and Laeta Kalogridis, based on the novel by Sergei LukyanenkoStarring: Konstantin Khabensky, Galina Tunina, Vladimir Menshov, Maria Poroshina and Victor VerzhbitskyRated R/114 minutesOpened March 3, 2006One out of four stars

Seeing “Night Watch” is like tapping directly into the feverish, incoherent nightmares of a very unhappy, very self-absorbed teenager who spells combat with a “K”-as in “Moral Kombat.”

There’s a scene in this gaudily ghoulish movie in which the head bad guy (Victor Verzhbitsky) plays an apocalyptic video game not too far removed from “Mortal Kombat.” The digital kombatants eerily replicate a battle that will take place on top of a vortex-enveloped building at the climax of the movie. Why are the fighters in the video game and the fighters in reality one and the same?

Why, oh why, oh why?

If we’re left scratching our heads when the lights come up, perhaps it’s because “Night Watch” is the first in a trilogy of Russian fantasy films depicting the war between Good and Evil and the spooked-out humans stuck in the middle.

Yes, there are two more of these movies to suffer through. I cannot imagine that the mythology will become any clearer-or for that matter-any more interesting. It’s a mish-mash of vampires, wizards, Messiahs, crows, pop-stars and oracles, all set against the urban grime of Soviet hopelessness.

A similar feeling of hopelessness came upon me about 20 minutes into the movie when I realized I’d seen this all before?in a feverish, incoherent nightmare of every post-apocalyptic, sci-fi fantasy of the past decade. It’s a blood-soaked assemblage of things that make teenage boys go “Dude!” without the sense and structure of a story that we can give a damn about.

Yes, the story even features a man (Konstantin Khabensky)-a seemingly normal man-who will conquer his insecurities, realize his potential and become?The One.

In the case of “Night Watch,” The One says more about the star rating than it does about anything else.