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Riddick is a very pleasant surprise in a mostly lackluster summer.

  • Jun 10, 2004
Pros: Diesel and great FX

Cons: Drags a bit in parts.

The Bottom Line: A very pleasant surprise that is better than the original film in the series.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

In a distant region of the galaxy, a massive armada is consuming entire worlds in a religious crusade of death and destruction. The army is that of the Lord Marshal (Colm Feore) and his Necromongers who are staging a religious campaign where those who do not join are destroyed.

The colonized planet of Hellion is the next human settlement in the path of the Necromongers and the desperate inhabitants are preparing for the worst. One of the residence of Hellion named Imam (David Keith), has set a desperate plan into motion in an effort to save his family and home. As one of the survivors in the events of “Pitch Black”, Imam has set forth mercenaries to try to capture the galaxies most wanted criminal Riddick (Vin Diesel), as Iman hopes that the man who helped save him five years earlier can be persuaded to do so once again. It is a move born of utter desperation as Riddick has been in hiding for years and is not the type to join causes unless his safety is threatened.

Riddick is soon caught in the battle between Hellion and the Necromongers and through circumstances is reunited with Kyra (Alexa Davalos), the other survivor from the events of the first film, who has fallen on hard times in the last five years due to the absence of Riddick who she sees as a mentor. Trapped in a dreary prison with a surface temperature of several hundred degrees, Kyra and Riddick are forced not only to deal with a myriad of unsavory characters but their own unresolved issues with each other and the looming Necromonger forces.

“The Chronicles of Riddick” is a surprisingly deep and involved action film that is light years ahead of most films in the genre and is a great surprise in what has largely been a summer of underachieving films. The supporting cast is anchored by Dame Judy Dench and greatly supports the setting and tone of the film. I was amazed at the sheer scope of the story as this is simply not something I am used to seeing in a Sci-Fi film.

The acting of the film was solid though not spectacular. Diesel spends
much of the film as the strong silent type, but when he does speak, he
gets the most out of it as he has some of the line he has are pure classic
that had the audience cheering. He conveys the complex anti-hero Riddick
well as he blends toughness with compassion and humor creating a well
balanced and even character. Dench's role is small but pivotal to the plot
as she is the catalyst to the motivation of the Lord Marhsal and she
provides a distinct nobility and culture to the film. The supporting cast
were solid if a bit bland as due to the scope of the film, natural
avenues for character development were not explored. This being said, the
talented ensemble works well with Diesel who shines.

Diesel is electrifying as Riddick as he is the ultimate anti-hero and is captivating to watch. In what is a very physically demanding role, Diesel throws himself headlong into the part and the passion and energy he has for the role shines through. After some recent missteps it is clear that Diesel is back on track as a rapidly rising mega star.
Writer/Director David Twohy has crafted a sci fi epic that is filled with action and character yet never puts the action over the title character and wisely allows Diesel and his charisma, not the very impressive FX to carry the film. While it does drag slightly at the ¾ mark, the film has a rousing finale that sets the stage for further chapters in the story and left the audience cheering as they were throughout. This is a rare film that is not only better than the original but it is a genre defining feature that stands out in what has otherwise been a summer of disappointments.

4 stars out of 5

Gareth Von Kallenbach


Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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More The Chronicles of Riddick reviews
review by . December 01, 2009
Set five years after the events of the movie Pitch Black (2000), escaped convict Riddick (Vin Diesel) is being hunted by two forces: Necromongers on a quest for universal domination being led by the Lord Marshal (Colm Feore), and bounty hunters after the price on his head.      The Chronicles of Riddick embraces the characters we were introduced to in Pitch Black, and develops them even further in this futuristic action movie.      Directed by David Twohy, …
review by . November 14, 2008
The Chronicles Of Riddick
Even if I have to apologize to my Friends and Favorites, and my family, I have to admit that I really liked this movie. It's a Sci-Fi movie with a "Mad Maxx" appeal that, while changing many things, left Riddick from `Pitch Black' to be just Riddick. They did not change his attitude or soften him up or bring him out of his original character, which was very pleasing to `Pitch Black' fans like myself.     First off, let me say that when playing the DVD, the first selection to …
review by . December 09, 2008
This movie pretty much did a complete 180 degree turn from Pitch Black.  Although the visuals were stunning and Vin Diesel did a great job, I just couldn't bring myself to enjoy this one as much as Pitch Black. 
review by . April 27, 2006
I thought this movie wasn't bad. It did start a little slow, but soon thereafter caught my full attention. I had to change mental gears from expecting a Pitch Black sequel/clone, but not in a bad way at all. And there ARE tie-ins with Pitch Black plainly evident unless you aren't particularly observant or haven't seen Pitch Black. I thought the special effects were some of the best I have seen quite some time, and after I began to become adjusted to the more involved background story, I found it …
review by . May 15, 2005
I'm a girl but I'm still a huge fan of action, fantasy, martial arts and even war movies, but this one almost put me to sleep.    I have seen Pitch Black, even though this is a sequel, the story is so intertwined and a bit boring that I didn't care how it ended. I did not feel any real interest in it, no connection!  I felt like my eyes were gliding over pictures on the screen, and not much was absorbed, my eyes weren't hungry for this movie at all.    The …
review by . September 04, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Vin Diesal has made some pretty good movies (Boiler Room, The Fast and the Furious, XXX). This unfortunately, is not one of his better acting efforts. The story has a lot of action though and some of the fight scenes are good. Diesal's character is has a smug attitude that sometimes makes it difficult to root for him. He does have an intimidating pressence that makes the bad guys miss, or perhaps they are all just bad shots.     The special effects are not high tech but they …
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #112
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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About this movie


Starring Vin Diesel, Thandie Newton, Kieth David, Colm Feore
Directed By David Twohy
Writer:  Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat

Product Description
An escaped convict with the ability to see in the dark finds himself in the middle of a conflict between two galactic powers.
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