|Star:||Vin Diesel, Colm Feore, Thandie Newton, Judi Dench, Karl Urban, Alexa Davalos|
|Cert / Year:||15 - PG13 / 2004|
Five years after Richard B. Riddick escaped the deadly nocturnal alien creatures in Pitch Black the Mercs finally tracked him down. Of course that doesn't mean they can take him, and he escapes with the name of the man who tipped them off. On Helion Prime the Preacher Riddick originally rescued and who now betrayed him is waiting for him. He needs Riddick to protect his people against the massed army of the planet destroying Necromongers lead by the half dead Lord Marshal. Will he play ball and help this planet, or has Riddick his own agenda, well what do you think?
Ok so this is a sequel to DVD cult hit Pitch Black, but to be honest this film has little to do with its predecessor. This will of course annoy some fans of the original. What the studios have done here is tried to create a franchise out of a single film, in much the same way as they tried with The Matrix, and while the results are no where near as disastrous as The Matrix sequels this really isn't franchise material. So looking beyond these facts how does the film measure up in its own right?
To be honest there are good points and bad points. The film had a budget of 100 million and it shows. With all of the giant metal heads and strange spaceship designs the Necromonger fleet has the feel of the spaceships of Dune crossed with architecture of Batman, and while it's not that original it makes for some impressive visuals. In fact it can be said that all of the effects are excellent especially those used for Judi Dench's elemental, and for the daybreak on Crematoria. These effects are crafted nicely into the story by David Twohy's direction, and it makes for some atmospheric and beautifully composed scenes.
The direction is even more impressive during the numerous action scenes. Fast edits and dizzying hand held camera shots add pace and impact to some pretty outstandingly choreographed set pieces. Ok so by the end of the movie when we return to Helion Prime maybe a little more variety wouldn't have gone amiss, but for the most part this is highly enjoyable fun. Some criticism has been fired at the films ending but again I think this is misplaced if viewed in the context of Riddick's character it is extremely ironic and one of the films highlights.
Playing Riddick again is Vin Diesel and recently he has come into some flack for his acting talents. Well I think this is pretty unfair. He is cast here as an action hero and one with an already developed character, given this limits he does what is required and does it with some style. If you do this sort of film then it is inevitable some people will have a pop, but lets get off his back here Riddick is a fun character and Vin Diesel does everything needed to make both the character and the film work. If you must have a go at anyone then save it for Thandie Newton or Karl Urban who are both pretty darn poor.
The biggest let down in the film is the script, and whereas David Twohy was definitely a hero with the direction his script on occasion comes up rather short. It's not the Macbeth inspired story that's at fault but the fact that some of the dialogue is pretty cheesy. Vin Diesel's one-liners are for most part fine but some of the more involved speeches contain lines that are rather pretentious and rather lame. Another weakness creeps in with the annoying kid and a pitiful attempt to show that Riddick has a kinder soft side. It's wrong for the character, and the whole concept of the super sweet kid is just painfully bad. Thankfully the high action quotient papers over most of these weaknesses.
The Chronicles of Riddick is not all the studios hoped it would be, and yet it's far from the disaster that many would lead you to believe. Despite the fact that it shares little in common with the original I think much like the previous film in time this will grow to become a cult hit. Overall the movie is very entertaining action packed fun, with stunning visuals, and once of the baddest anti heroes since Snake Plissken. I for one am with you Riddick.
All the power in the universe can't change destiny .
Prison Guard: You're gonna kill me with your soup cup?
Riddick: Tea, actually.
Prison Guard: What?
Riddick: I'll kill you with my teacup.
Lord Marshal: It's been a long time since I've seen my own blood.