Chronicles of Riddick (DVD, 2009, Includes THE FAST AND FURIOUS Drafting - Movie Money)

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The Chronicles of Riddick : Starring Vin Diesel in the Science Fiction movie of 2004

Jun 12, 2004 (Updated Jun 28, 2004)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:acting, score, Vin Diesel, the story, the action sequences

Cons:at 2 hours, it just wasn't long enough for me :)

The Bottom Line: The Chronicles of Riddick is a great science fiction movie that shows off the acting potential of Vin Diesel, and revives a genre that needed a kick-start.


The Chronicles of Riddick premiered last night, June 11th, 2004. The movie is actually a sequel to the 2000 success Pitch Black to give a quick background of the story, lets delve into what happened in Pitch Black. A transport ship carrying 40 passengers is heading to their ?New Mecca.? On board is a prisoner that they are also transporting to a new cell that will be located on the planet. That prisoner is Richard Riddick, played by none other than Vin Diesel. While everyone is in crio-stasis, the ship flies through the tail of a comet, and hurtles towards a planet, being sucked in by the gravity of the planet itself. There is no stopping the decent of the ship, and it crashes on to the surface of what appears to be a barren planet in the middle of nowhere. Only a hand-full of people survive, including Riddick, but on impact the captain is killed.


The realization soon hits that the planet has more to say than meets the eye. Soon, the group stumbles across a settlement that used to be on the planet. Unfortunately for them, they do not figure out what happened to it fast enough to help themselves. For 22 straight years the planet has been covered by the glow of 3 suns, and hasn?t seen night in those 22 years. Too bad the 22 years is up, because the entire planet is thrown into darkness by an eclipse of another planet. It seems as though the planets are moving as one now, and that the sun could be gone for quite a while. The worst part though, as soon as it gets dark, the planet is overrun by creatures who want nothing but to kill every living thing. This puts the survivors of the crash straight in the path of an oncoming doom.


All the while, Riddick has turned out to more than just a prisoner, but rather the only hope that anyone has to get off the planet alive. His huge advantage, is that his eyes have been altered so that now he can see in the dark. And since the animals only come out at night, he is the only one that can see them, and try to lead them out of a potential massacre. To make a long story short, the survivors go through several sequences that cause more and more of them to die, until only 3 remain. Those three are a priest, a 12-year old girl, and Riddick, who at the end of the film are able to escape in a ship that was left behind by the last settlement. Riddick turned out to be an all right guy after all, and is the reason that even these two characters survived. That was where Pitch Black ended, and a 4 year gap between the movies took place.


The Chronicles of Riddick take place 5 years later in movie time. Directed by the same person, David Twohy, Vin Diesel also returns as Riddick, Alexa Davlos plays a grown-up Kyra now, and Keith David returns as the priest Imam. I was very glad to see that all the characters who had survived the first film were brought back, because often what Hollywood will do is bring back some characters, but not care enough to bring back everyone. Sometimes it?s the money, but often times its that they didn?t find the characters important enough to be given a part in the second movie. So, when I saw the characters pop up in this one, I almost cheered out loud.


As the movie gets under way, we are shown a planet being attacked by an unknown force of fierce warriors. They take no prisoners, and it is soon apparent that they have no mercy for anything standing in their way. We find out later what they are after, but for right now all we see is destruction, until the ships take off, and move on. Only something is left behind? what appears to be a nuclear bomb type weapon is set off, in several places on the planet, and the planet is reduced to burning ashes. The title Riddick?. The Chronicles of? flashes across the screen, and we are then taken to another barren planet that appears frozen over. A man is running away from a futuristic ship in what looks to be a race for his life. He has long scraggily hair, and a beard that looks like it has not been trimmed in years. As the ship gets closer it fires net after net trying to capture the fleeing man until he gets to the mouth of a large cave, turns, and beckons for the pursuers to follow him in. Stupidly, of course, the ship follows him in, where he quickly dispatches of mercenaries that have been sent to capture him for a bounty. We of course then find out that this man is Riddick.


Riddick takes the ship back to the planet from which the bounty-hunters came, and instead of finding what he expects, it turns out that the people seeking him want them to come fight for him, rather than have him killed. At the center of this group is Aereon, who is played by Judy Dench (James Bond?s boss), in a role that she was well suited for. She comes from a race that can see the future, and she sees that the race that Riddick is, has a destiny to dethrone the evil force that is on a mission to destroy every race that won?t be ?assimilated.? It sounds a lot to me like the whole premise behind The Borg, and everything that they did in Star Trek, but it ends up working well for this film. The evil force goes by the name ?Necromongers?, and are led by Lord Marshall, who is played by Colm Feore, who was also the bad guy in The Sum of All Fears.


The Necromongers gain strength by putting the race of any planet they come through, into a process that makes them fall into line of the religion, and fight for the cause. So, no matter how many soldiers they lose, as long as they win their battles, they can restock with any prisoners that they acquire. The penalty given to anyone who won?t go through the process is death. Not much of an option, but it seems there should have been more people who would decline losing their souls in this fashion. Instead, it seems like everyone just rolls over and becomes a slave to the Necromongers after they lose a fight. Within the Necromongers though, there is also internal struggle, as one of the captains feels he is being overlooked, and would like any opportunity to take over for the Lord Marshall.


The whole story comes down to what will Riddick choose to do. In the first movie, and in the beginning of this one, even by his own admission, he is in it just for himself. He feels that the world has already wronged him enough, and that he has no reason to care for the plight of anyone else. As he puts it so eloquently, ?It is not his fight.? But, the future of the entire Universe appears to rest in his hands, and he has some important decisions to make in that regards. In a sub-plot that becomes important to the story later, he is also on a quest to track down the girl which he had saved back in Pitch Black. All he knows is that she has been jailed on a fiery planet far away, and that he does not have his own ship to go after her.


The Chronicles of Riddick is a great action movie. The science fiction element of the story is pretty intense though, so it could be something that some fans of movies are unwilling to stomach. There are a lot of scenes that involve story-telling to a point, that an average science fiction fan may roll their eyes at, but I found it to be illuminating, and I was glad that they gave a background for everything that was happening rather than say it happened ?just because.? Vin Diesel is once again at his best, and shows why he is an action star of this generation of movie-goers. He is not only believable in his role, but he is an actor willing to throw his whole self into the role to make it better. He is not given any cheesy dialogue that the likes of Arnold or Stallone would use, but rather he is given poignant lines, and you know it is time to start paying attention when he is talking. On top of that, his expressions are ideal for any actor in the action / science fiction genre, because you can read what is going through his mind even before he does something.


The film was seamless in its presentation, and all of the scenes had a purpose in the scheme of things. The scenes that depicted the battles, and the ships that attack planets struck me in awe at just how much detail went into making them immense, fear-instilling while at the same time being believable. It?s rare now that we can see science fiction movies that use the entire length of a movie to build up to something, rather than throw in some sub-plots that won?t have anything to do with the ending. In the case of The Chronicles of Riddick, the audience is treated to everything that a science fiction movie can offer. There is the intense action, the hero reluctantly taking on a role his character does not like, and a supporting cast that adds to the fast pace of a movie that is a must see in theaters. I highly recommend that anyone who is a science-fiction fan, or even more so, if you liked Pitch Black even a little bit, this one will be high on your list of movies to see this year.



Recommend this product? Yes

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