The Chronicles Of Riddick (2004)

DVD Cover (Universal Director's Cut)
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Overall Rating 59%
Overall Rating
Ranked #831
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Richard Bruno Riddick, now a hunted man, finds himself in the middle of two opposing forces in a major crusade. Lord Marshal is a warrior priest who is the leader of a sect that is waging the tenth and perhaps final crusade five hundred years in the future. Aereon is an ambassador from the Elemental race. She is an ethereal being who helps Riddick unearth his origins. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: October 8, 2009
In my review for Pitch Black, I compared it quite favorably to Alien. That comparison carries over to the sequel in a sense, as much like the classic creature franchise, it too switches gears from horror to action. However, even though Aliens was completely different than it's predecessor, it had the same feel and was just as flawless. On the other hand, The Chronicles of Riddick loses all sense of what made Pitch Black so great, and flies completely off the rails. This might have been exacerbated by the fact that I popped in the Director's Cut, which has some added scenes that further push this past the line.

Over five years have passed since Riddick escaped that planet with two survivors in tow; he's spent most of that time on the deserted, frozen wastelands of the planet UV IV, until a merc, Toombs, shows up to capture Riddick and pick up the 1.5 million dollar bounty on the convict's head. Riddick easily takes out Toombs' team, and after learning that the bounty originated from Helion Prime, hijacks his ship and heads off to remove it, and since the only man who knew where Riddick was, Imam, just so happens to live on Helion Prime, he has a good idea who to talk to.

As it turns out, Imam was responsible for the information, but the bounty was placed by an Elemental, a ghostly woman who, along with the holy man, begs Riddick to take up the fight against the Necromongers, a race of warriors that move from world to world, destroying all life. They're led by Lord Marshal, who is seemingly half man, half ghost. Riddick also learns that Jack left to search for him, became a criminal herself, and ended up at Crematoria, a triple max security prison. Initially Riddick rejects their pleas, claiming that the Necromongers aren't his fight, however, he just so happens to be around when they attack Helion Prime, and it becomes his fight very quickly. And not only does he have to deal with the Necromongers, Toombs is also back on his trail; plus there's the question of whatever happened to that girl.

As you can see, the title for this movie is quite telling of the shift in the series; it's not the next part of the story so much as yet another mess Riddick has found himself in. In fact, they've actually gone back and changed the name of Pitch Black to The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black. Now, this doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing, it worked for James Bond. It's the route this story took, and the way it was executed that really shot this one in the foot.

The two biggest mistakes made was in the sequence of events and the dropping of any realistic elements. In the first third of the movie, the story flows very smoothly from UV IV to Helion Prime and to the Necromonger attack. However, at some point, Riddick suddenly ends up on another planet with a completely different plot. The Necromongers are all but forgotten, and the main focus is on Riddick's relationship with Kyra. And then we go back to Helion Prime to wrap up our movie. These three pieces don't flow together very well at all; in fact, the last act feels like it was just tacked on as an afterthought. The constant jumping between planets was a large hit against the realism of this movie as well. Sure, I know it's a futuristic space movie, but there's a way to do it without it being so hard to swallow. I mean, I loved Star Wars as much as the next guy, but the space travel there fit the fantasy theme of the series. It seems somewhat over the top here. Some of the action scenes were even worse. While the first few are excellently done, by the end of the film our antiheros are using techniques straight out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. And that's in the theatrical cut. If you've thrown in the directors cut, you're "treated" to a whole new skillset from Riddick that's nothing short of eye-rolling.

Like the first one, we've got some decent actors running the show. Vin Diesel once again uses his charisma to get the job done, although it's not nearly as effective this time. Towards the second half of the film, they tried to hand him some emotional scenes. While these could have been so much worse, they still left a lot to be desired. Colm Feore, Karl Urban and Thandie Newton are our main Necromongers, and though they all toe the overacting line, no major damage was done. Nich Chinlund has a ball as Toombs, and finally, Alexa Davalos handles Kyra. While there wasn't much too much to like about that final role, it has more to do with the script than anything under Davalos' control. One thing that was done well however, was the relationship between Kyra and Riddick; specifically the way it seemed to waffle back and forth between sibling and romantic. On the other hand though, I'm not entirely sure I liked how this humanized Riddick, but that's just a personal thing.

There's a few bright spots throughout this, but anyone looking for more of Pitch Black is going to be surely disappointed. In its place is an unrealistic, ill planned action movie. Hopefully the upcoming sequels find some kind of happy medium. 4.5/10.
Lucid Dreams #1: Lucid Dreams - added July 11, 2010 at 2:33am
This series was the only thing I enjoyed Vin Diesel in. 6/10
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