Written and Directed by David Twohy
Running Time: 1:59
for intense sequences of
violent action and some language.
The Chronicles of Riddick was a standard, sci-fi action film, filled with strange universes and decent special effects.
Taking place 5 years after Pitch Black, we find our anti-hero Riddick being chased by bounty hunters. There is a race of beings known as Necromongers who are bent on taking over the universe, and entering a place called the underverse. No one can stop them, except the one race of people they fear the most, the Furions. As it happens, the only surviving Furion people can find is Riddick. There was a prophecy that the leader of the Necromongers, one Lord Marshal, will some day be defeated by a Furion, so he does his damnedest to get rid of Riddick. But Riddick, fueled by an overprotective nature for his old friend Jack, who is now known as Kyra, keeps coming back. Will he defeat the Necromongers without any help? Will Riddick survive? Will there be another sequel? Stay tuned.
First off, I am a Vin Diesel fan, and I make no apologies for it. No, I wouldn't want to see him in a romantic comedy, but in a film like The Chronicles of Riddick, he's perfect. He's got cool written all over him, and the role of Riddick is built for someone like him. It's first and foremost an action role, and he's built for action. Secondly, you need someone who can pull of the action but also pull off the comedic one-liners and yet still sound cool doing it. Kind of like a Schwarzenegger-esque person. Diesel has got the look and the voice to pull it all off. You can't help but look at him and go, damn, he's just too cool. So from that perspective, I had a feeling I'd at least enjoy the film.
The story was so-so. A group of people wanting to destroy the universe is pretty standard. I never did figure out what the big deal was with getting to this underverse, nor did I understand why they needed to kill (or recruit) everyone to get there. At least their costumes and space ships looked nice. And they did their job well. It didn't matter if they killed their own people, they had a job to do and damn it, they were gonna do it! I think they could have used a large, bodyguard type of person to make them look even scarier. Every good film needs that moment when the unstoppable bodyguard goes up against the immovable star and the star wins. Then the star goes after the leader and wins. This movie missed the bodyguard, but did have the added twist (which isn't some kind of surprise twist so don't yell at me for mentioning it) that the main lieutenant was actually trying to overthrow the leader himself. But in the end, the story was very straightforward and didn't involve a lot of thinking.
The special effects were pretty good I thought. Between the battle sequences and the different looks of all the planets, I thought the CGI effects were fairly smooth. It had a nice, sci-fi look to it, and the planet where the sun would heat the surface to 700 degrees was done fairly well. Again, there was nothing really special about it; no set or creature or character that will remain in your memories for a long time, but there was nothing bad or cheesy about it. They spent a good amount of money on the visuals, although at one point I had the feeling they lost their sound effects budget, because in the middle of a fight scene, they cut out the sound effects, and went with just a music background. I guess it was meant to give the fight a more poetic look, but I found it kind of jarring.
The rest of the characters/actors were decent enough. No one that really stood out, although seeing Judi Dench in a special effects sci-fi film was kind of funny. The bad guys all looked the same in their costumes, and the two female leads, Alexa Davalos and Thandie Newton, looked good. Newton didn't really have much to do other than show off her cleavage, but Davalos got to do some kicking of the asses and looked good doing it. However, the main focus of the movie was clearly Diesel and everyone knew it, so they all took a backseat to the king of cool.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, The Chronicles of Riddick wasn't anything special, but for a sci-fi flick it wasn't bad. There was some down time, and the film could have been shorter, but if you're in the mood for some action, this isn't a bad choice. And if you're a fan of Vin Diesel, you'll really enjoy it.