The Chronicles of Riddick

June 13, 2004 | Movie Review | By: Mark VandeWettering

Ah, this time, a Saturday evening saw my wife and I attending a late showing of The Chronicles of Riddick, a sequel to Pitch Black, starring Vin Diesel as Riddick, an escaped convict with an uncanny ability to see in the dark and to kill.

I must admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of Pitch Black. It had some good points, and had a look which I found compelling, but ultimately I found it to be a bit predictable. You knew that the action would center around the escape, and that ultimately just about everyone would die. That’s what happens in this genre.

The Chronicles of Riddick suffers a bit from this basic flaw, but it is all-in-all a more well rounded story. It is a story with villains and heros, with battles and treachery, and lots and lots of really nice special effects. Riddick is being hunted by mercenaries, and traces the money back to Helios Prime, a planet which is about to be overrun by the Necromongers, a fierce race of conquerers who go from planet to planet, assimilating all those who will join them and then destroying the planet and all that remain. Aereon, a mysterious Elemental has summoned Riddick to battle against the Lord Marshal of the Necromongers, as prophecies have fortold.

So the story begins.

Overall, I found it beautfully rendered, exciting and well paced. It’s a classic summer action movie, perhaps a bit darker than some, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The look has some of what you might have expected from Dune, but delivers it with greater impact and panache. I don’t really think of Vin Diesel as a good actor, but he does have a certain rugged style and his delivery is dead on. Dame Judy Dench turns in a good appearance, but it’s over quickly and actually has very little to do with the plot. Alexa Davalos plays the grown up Jack from Pitch Black, people who watch the same programs as I do will recognize her as the electrical temptress Gwen Raiden on TV’s Angel. I immediately wondered if she was actually the same actress in Pitch Black (I might not have recognized her with a shaved head) but she was played by Rhiana Griffith.

I rate the movie as a good solid 8 out of 10. If you like action packed science fiction movies, or just good special effects and costuming, you’ll probably enjoy it too.

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