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A Review of The Chronicles of Riddick with Vin Diesel

Published November 19, 2004 in MOVIE REVIEW
By Ryan Parsons | Images property of Universal Pictures
Riddick poster available at All Posters
I never went and saw The Chronicles of Riddick in theatres for one reason, I thought it looked Riddick. When the reviews started coming out some claimed the film was a new sci-fi sensation while others bashed it. Now, after just viewing the film released to DVD, I can understand how each viewer can go either way on this movie.

The Chronicles of Riddick as a Sci-Fi Movie

Riddick does everything a sci-fi film should to prove its genre. You get to witness various spacecraft, various locations, various cultures, and various planets; the coolest planet being the prison planet, Crematoria, where Riddick gets sent [a rescue operation?]. During the night, the planet Crematoria is hospitable and can support life on the surface. However, during sunrise, the planet becomes a scorching hell where only a few seconds left exposed can mean your end. While this planet was a cool [hot] place, the movie spent way too much time here. It seemed that the story kind of went on an extended pause because of Crematoria.

Lets get back to the plot outline before I dive into this 'problem.' The film begins with Riddick [Vin Diesel] being hunted by bounty hunters on some icy planet for an unknown reason. The coolest part to the beginning was seeing Diesel with long, slightly dreaded, hair. Riddick quickly dispatched this group and steals their craft. Riddick receives information on the planet, Helion, he was suppose to be taken to immediately knows that it is Imam [Keith David] who has sent for him.

The next stage of the story involves Riddick re-uniting with Imam and learning of the planets distress. There is a group called the Necromongers, a ruthless, fascist, military race, that goes from one planet to another in an attempt to destroy civilization and kill or convert all of the inhabitants of each planet; obviously, these are the bad guys of the story. Soon after, Helion is under attack from the Necromongers, which results in an easy victory for Lord Marshal [Colm Feore], the head of the Necromongers; a man that legend says is half dead, half alive. Lord Marshal not only controls the Necromongers, but he is also the creator of their faith. A faith that promises an Underverse [heaven... or hell] to the faithful. Riddick shows how kick-ass he is by killing a few Necromongers and then easily gets himself captured by the same bounty hunter, named Toombs [Nick Chinlund], one that he encountered at the beginning of the film. And just like that, he is taken away and off the planet of Helion [where the real story is occurring].

Karl Urban as Vaako, you may remember him as Eomer from LOTR
During this part in Riddick, the viewers are allowed to get to know a few of the Necromongers a little better. The two most important Necromonger characters are Dame Vaako [Thandie Newton] and her general husband Vaako [Karl Urban]. These two, especially Dame Vaako, have been conspiring to kill Lord Marshal but must wait for a time that he is weak or careless. Definitely shows some dissension in the ranks and results in a plan that involves the breeder Lord Marshal fears, Riddick, and his ability to injure or distract Lord Marshal. All sounds good and well, now back to the main character.

Riddick is now on the prison planet of Crematoria where his hunters and captures negotiate a settlement on his head. The time spent on this prison planet is LONG. Too long, I was counting the minutes to get Riddick out of this place. Every scene on this planet was played out to the fullest. The extended time spent on the prison planet is what hurt the film the most for me. Too much of a distraction from the real story presented at the beginning of the film. What could have been a small rescue operation seemed to take half of the running time. The only cool parts to the scenes on the prison planet are when the planet ignites, the fight with the Necromongers, and when Riddick learns more of himself and his abilities.

After the planet Crematoria, Riddick FINALLY returns to Helios to settle some dues with the Necromongers. This is where the Riddick re-claims the trail it initially set out on at the beginning of the film and ends with a pretty solid finale.

To Sum Up Riddick

First, the most important aspect is that I did enjoy The Chronicles of Riddick. The film entertained and had some pretty good special effects to boot. There were also some principles laid down by the Necromongers that were able to come to the forefront by the end of the film; which I appreciated. Again, I can completely understand how some people can rave this film as the ultimate sci-fi thriller while others can shit on it. I am going to change it up and take the middle route.

Final Judgment: The Chronicles of Riddick is a good sci-fi film that would have been even better without an enormous speedhump along the way. What started out as great pace on a great idea takes a sudden detour for a sizable portion of the film only to get back on track right near the end. Oh yeah, Diesel will always be a badass

[out of five cans]
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Compiled By (Sources)
Ryan Parsons
Sources: Images property of Universal Pictures

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