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

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The Chronicles of Riddick, or the Peter Principle of Action Heroes.

Apr 6, 2008 (Updated Apr 6, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:A fairly good action flick with some really wickedly good parts.

Cons:Not the vehicle to turn Riddick into a franchise.

The Bottom Line: I wish they had made this movie without using the Riddick name, just another sociopath played by Vin Diesel. Still, better than a lot of stuff.


The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) Directed by David Twohy

In the movie Pitch Black we met Riddick, the biggest bad@$$ on two legs. A convicted murderer on his way back to the slam, his ship crash-landed, on a barren constantly lit planet. However, its orbit carried it into a rare conjunction with two gas giants, throwing the planet in to a total eclipse every 22 years. And the planet is inhabited, by monsters that hate the light. In the dark, with the handful of survivors, Riddick learned he was not completely divorced from humanity.

In the short animated feature Dark Fury Riddick learns that while he is not a total b@$t@rd the universe is, and being around him is still hazardous to everyone in the vicinity.

In Pitch Black Riddick was just a convicted felon and a murderer who did what had to be done. He was horrifically violent, implausibly competent, but basically, just a man with a Shine Job and a knife.

In Dark Fury Riddick was still the monster slayer, but there were hints, foreshadowing to introduce the movie that was to follow. Riddick was changed from the biggest bad@$$ on two legs into some sort of Dark Mirror Messiah; Jesus Christ from the universe where Spock had a beard.

This was a mistake.

Now, the movie itself has several really good points. It is a well made action/Sci Fi extravaganza, but building on the earlier movies, it fails.

The Plot

Five years after the events of Pitch Black Riddick finds himself on the run from a Bounty Hunter named Toombs (Nick Chinlund) introduced in Dark Fury. From Toombs, Riddick learns the bounty originated from Helios Prime. The only person who had any clue where Riddick might be was the Imam (Keith David) So Riddick, feeling hurt and betrayed goes to kill his old friend.

But the Imam is a good man, and the bounty was just to get Riddick to listen to Aereon (Dame Judy Dench) an elemental, a race dedicated to balance, and figuring the odds. Aereon wants Riddick to oppose the Necromongers. The Necromongers are a religion that believes that when enough souls embrace the faith, the doors to “The Underverse” will open, and all of humanity will be escorted into glory. In order to achieve that goal quicker, they have the ultimate pyramid scheme; convert all your friends. If they don’t convert, kill them. Have them convert all their friends…..you get the idea. Amway could take lessons.

However, the best laid plans of mice and men….Riddick is captured by Toombs in the confusion of the Necromonger invasion of Helios Prime. He is transported to the same prison where they are keeping Jack, the boy turned girl from the first movie. Calling herself Kyra now, (and played by Alexa Davalos) she has become a hardened merc/prison b! ch, and she has a mad on for Riddick for leaving her five years ago.

They escape from the hell planet, then it’s off to teach the Necromongers that they “did not know who they were %^$&^%$ with.”

The production value of this movie is awesome. The Sets are detailed and lush. The Necromongers are like the bastard love children of Art Deco and Goth. One neat scene at the beginning showed Riddick fleeing across a frozen landscape, jumping from ice wall to ice wall in what looks suspiciously like a fingerprint. The metaphor is obvious; he is not only on the run from Toombs, but from a modern criminal investigative technology. Nice touch.

The score is effective, building mood without thrusting itself into the lime light.

And the cast is great: Vin Diesel, Dame Judy Dench, Keith David, Karl Urban as Lord Vaako, Colm Feore as the Lord Marshal of the Necromongers; all excellent actors, well suited to their roles, and putting in solid performances.

However, there were certain extraneous things; Dame Vaako, while a nice piece of eye candy, (Thandie Newton) was totally extraneous. If her part had been left on the cutting room floor, it would not have lessened, and might have helped the movie. The death of the Furyan race, built around a line about Riddick starting out as an infant with his umbilical around his neck in a liquor store dumpster, is a bit heavy handed. And were all Furyans psycho killers? The name Fury-an. Why not call them Hypercrankyans? No less lame.

The problem here is tying the two movies together. If he had called this character Galt the Furyan, this would have been an okay action flick. But they took a very marketable franchise of Riddick the antihero, and turned him into a messiah. And that kind of ruined it. Riddick was a man. You could identify. “I could do that if I had traded in my conscience for really huge muscles,” you might think. But there is only one fulfillment of a prophecy. So they lost some of what made Pitch Black great, and stubbed out the franchise in a dead end vehicle.

I hate when that happens.

I chose this name for this review based on the management priciple that a person will rise through the ranks until they reach a job they can not do, then they will keep that job. Action franchises tend to run until you hit a dud. Second time out, here.


Recommend this product? Yes


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