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Overall Rating
3.14

Awesome: 17.61%
Worth A Look: 22.54%
Average28.87%
Pretty Bad: 18.31%
Total Crap: 12.68%

7 reviews, 100 user ratings



Chronicles of Riddick, The
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by EricDSnider

"Probably the closest Vin Diesel will ever get to doing Shakespeare."
3 stars

"The Chronicles of Riddick" is a silly movie, but aren't all fantasy films, really? Most of what happens here is no less believable than, say, a pointy-eared man taking down a gigantic warrior elephant single-handedly in the midst of a massive battle fought alongside ghost soldiers who are working off a debt they owe a long-dead king. I'm just sayin'.

It's technique that separates something brilliant like "Return of the King" from something absurd like "The Chronicles of Riddick." David Twohy has the ideas, I think, and he obviously cares enough about them to make this sequel to a film nobody saw ("Pitch Black"). What he lacks is the finesse, the subtle skill of making ridiculous dialogue plausible and the ability to cast actors good enough to deliver it.

Vin Diesel was not yet a star when "Pitch Black" came out. Since then, of course, he has become a star and then become not one again -- pity "Riddick" didn't come out two years ago, while his celebrity was still at its peak.

At any rate, he plays Riddick, who in "Pitch Black" was established as an evil murderer with a peculiar aversion to light and a knack for escaping even the most dogged of pursuers. He is the same here, a few years later, when a religion of Necromongers has sprung up seeking to either convert or kill all humans. A prophecy long ago foretold that one of the Furian race would defeat the Necromonger Lord Marshal (Colm Feore); hence, the Lord Marshal had that race annihilated. Whoops, though, he missed one, and it is Riddick.

Riddick is not especially interested in saving humanity, which makes sense, given his fondness for killing people. But he is enlisted nonetheless by a wispy fairy-woman named Aereon (Judi Dench), who appears occasionally to deliver exposition and then, noticing the movie is sucking, disappears again.

First, though, Riddick has to go to a prison planet called Crematoria to rescue a friend/nemesis named Kyra (Alexa Davalos). It is on Crematoria that the film's dumbest events occur, all centering around the planet's curious weather patterns: It is 700 degrees during the day, -300 at night. People are incinerated the instant sunlight touches them, yet for some reason, no one needs so much as a sweater at night, when it's -300.

Also, you can escape the deadly heat if you hide in the outcropping of a rock or in some other shady place. You'd think that when it's 700 degrees out, it would still be, oh, maybe 690 in the shade. But no. On Crematoria, when it's high noon and people are bursting into flames before your eyes, you're nice and comfortable as long as the sun isn't hitting you directly. Such egregious ignorance of the way weather works has not been displayed since ... well, a couple weeks ago, when "The Day After Tomorrow" came out.

Also, it's pretty easy to outrun the sun on Crematoria. When you see it's about to be sunrise, and light is beginning to flood the landscape, you just have to book it in the other direction and you're fine. I mean, you have to run FAST and everything, but it is possible. (On Earth, by the way, you'd have to be running about 1,000 miles per hour, but maybe Crematoria rotates a lot more slowly.)

Anyway, while all this is going on, there's a guy back with the Necromongers named Vaako (Karl Urban) who wants to be Lord Marshal. To that end, his wife (Thandie Newton) Lady Macbeths him, urging him to kill the current L.M. and take his position. The Necromongers have a weird rule where "you keep what you kill," meaning, I guess, that if you kill me, you get to be my wife's new husband. What if you are a woman? Then you're my wife's new wife, I suppose. I don't have a wife, so it's all moot, but you get the idea: The Necromongers are not against killing each other in order to get what they want.

Vin Diesel, that thick slab of rounded meat -- honestly, there's not an angle anywhere on him -- well, I still like the guy. His delivery of the dialogue presented to him, as always, walks the line between ludicrous and cool. Others in the cast are not quite as adept with it, tending toward overacting and hysteria. But I guess you expect that sort of thing in this sort of movie.

What sort of movie is this? Well, it has the glib idiocy of an action flick, but the breadth and self-importance of a fantasy film. It has multitudes of characters, worlds and ideas, most of which are usually absent in the action genre; it also doesn't have all that much action, frankly. Twohy clearly wanted to make something more than your average blow-'em-up popcorn picture, and his ambition is admirable. I like that he even TRIED to include themes from Shakespeare and Greek tragedy. But more than mere ambition is required to pull off something as bombastic and bloated as this without it looking, you know, bombastic and bloated. I kinda liked it, sort of, but then again, not really.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10007&reviewer=247
originally posted: 06/13/04 17:00:44
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User Comments

7/16/11 PAUL SHORTT INFLATED ACTION SEQUEL 1 stars
6/08/09 Vince Some of the worst camerawork ever recorded 1 stars
5/03/09 Heap Saw the Directors Cut, and it was better than expected 4 stars
10/07/08 Will it's CONAN IN SPACE 5 stars
4/04/08 nickoree dickoree muffled dialogue, strobe seizures; good action and music; nice effects, setting almost cool 4 stars
3/21/08 Gazza Will be a bigger cult classic than Blade Runner!! 5 stars
12/14/07 Jason Good movie, if a little cliched. Great on PSP. 4 stars
11/18/07 tammie I loved the imagery involved, script was sucky. 4 stars
6/12/07 al smith very underated take it for what it is a kick ass sci fi movie 5 stars
4/25/07 Indrid Cold Riddick is a cool enough character to keep things watchable, but ultimately it's just dumb. 3 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK Watch it again? I'd rather lick my own arse if you don't mind. 1 stars
9/22/06 ProSneakyD A few mistakes, could do better but come on its awesome & no it is not rubbish. 4 stars
6/12/06 Dan loved it 5 stars
6/08/06 William Goss Slick-looking but self-important space opera, yet I will give props to Diesel for Riddick 3 stars
6/03/06 Cammy Saw it, liked it. Recommended it to others who also liked it (but didn't think they would) 5 stars
5/07/06 Barbara Loved it. Watched it several times and will again. 5 stars
4/14/06 Gar Exciting and visually stunning good chars 5 stars
3/03/06 Tanya I am a fan of vin but this is not as good as the first part 4 stars
12/08/05 JM Synth The opposite of everything good about PB. Seems to be aimed at fanboys, ala Matrix 2/3 1 stars
10/28/05 Jonathon Holmes FUCKING ROCKS...for a fucking idiot 1 stars
10/11/05 Tom Burns Very cool movie. I loved the action scenes it. 5 stars
8/24/05 Sylvanthunder A good anough Movie 4 stars
8/13/05 ES it's about a war, no a prison break, no an bald guy= the chronicles of idiot 1 stars
5/07/05 Lucky I loved it. 5 stars
4/26/05 Pippin007 It is soooo boring!!! 2 stars
4/25/05 Dan FUCKING ROCKS 5 stars
4/23/05 Quigley this film is atrocious! it is a gilded cat turd with a sign saying "please buy me." sick. 1 stars
4/21/05 DJ Great ass friggin movie! 5 stars
2/14/05 Angela Saunders Has some great moments but I expected more. 3 stars
2/09/05 Kelly Greenwood I didn't care for it 3 stars
2/04/05 Dan AWESOME! 5 stars
2/04/05 ss Good movie 4 stars
2/03/05 Clifford C Gardner It has its moments 3 stars
2/02/05 Philip Taylor it rocks 5 stars
2/02/05 Joe Kolarz The original is better and Vin Diesel could have been meaner in it. 3 stars
2/02/05 lisa w In the beginning it showed promise, at the & I thought that was it. It was missing somethin 2 stars
2/02/05 Alice Colwell Well, at least my 10 year old son liked it ;) 3 stars
1/24/05 M Awesome! If only it was given a fair chance, You go VIN! 5 stars
1/20/05 American Slasher Goddess Dull and boring mess 1 stars
1/15/05 Devin Knox so awfuly gay 1 stars
12/25/04 Freddy weird movie but great effects! 4 stars
12/23/04 Cool Leather Jacket I did not planned on liking it after reading the reviews 5 stars
12/17/04 tatum Plays like an overbudgeted SciFi Channel Original movie 2 stars
12/13/04 Sweetgrrl1972 What the fuck was that? They took the Pitch Black universe and crapped on it. 1 stars
12/10/04 Vince After Pitch Black, this comes as a disapointment 3 stars
11/27/04 Matt F. not overwhelming but still pretty good 4 stars
11/26/04 A Scott Good movie. Lots of action. 4 stars
11/22/04 Caiphn Entertaining, not as bad as everyone says. 3 stars
11/22/04 ad long and boring, just went for sake of sci fi 2 stars
11/17/04 Max Sexy, sweaty, action packed!! 5 stars
11/09/04 Da Brother Good but 2 computer generated 4 stars
11/06/04 brad black this was an awesome movie, couple of mistakes but all movies have those. really good plot. 5 stars
8/02/04 P.Rodriguez SHould've been called, 'The Chronicles of Snoring' 1 stars
8/01/04 Alex Dankmyer if you look deeper into the movie you'll find a jewle 5 stars
7/31/04 Natalie Stonecipher What is JudiDench doin in VinDiesel's worst movie? She shoulda just vanished from the start 1 stars
7/30/04 Candace Troy Powers Needs a sequel, to be released for Christmas: THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK--YULE 1 stars
7/25/04 Diesel. Thats d stuff! 5 stars
7/25/04 Pure RAGE... it was crap cuz' they edited out 1hour & 50 mins of the original film ofr a PG-13 Rating! 4 stars
7/24/04 Sandy Turynowicz Very interesting 5 stars
7/23/04 alien assassin I've seen worse films than this 4 stars
7/21/04 arctic Impressive start to Riddick universe & myth (I hope there is more) 4 stars
7/20/04 N. Christopher Bell Not the best sci-fi flick, but It sure as hell beats STAR WARS: Episode Who Gives A Shit!!! 4 stars
7/19/04 malcolm everything to love and hate about summer popcorn action movies 3 stars
7/17/04 legend Moremoney, better cast but a better film than Pitch Black? No! No script. 2 stars
7/14/04 Haggis Had good things..worth Watching 4 stars
7/14/04 Rej its not crap, but had i known, id have waited patiently to see it on TV 3 stars
7/13/04 Alfred Guy Action packed, but lacks the edge that made Pitch Black great. 3 stars
7/11/04 ANDREW GIVENS great movie worth spending money on 4 stars
7/10/04 Saigo ABORT! ABORT! Massively dissapointing 1 stars
7/09/04 danny.w.yates best action moive 5 stars
7/09/04 Diesel Relax. Give it a chance! 5 stars
7/09/04 The Grinch A good turn at an original Sci-Fi Actioneer...whaddaya want, MORE comix movies!? 4 stars
7/04/04 nick2k i hate this fucking movie...how many incomplete plotlines can you fit into a movie?!! 1 stars
6/30/04 spinz this movie was so average it hurts :( 3 stars
6/24/04 John middle was boring but average movie overall. 3 stars
6/20/04 Homer Sehekual Not worthy of being a sequel to the decent "Pitch Black" 2 stars
6/20/04 Spiderfan50 Seamy effects, bad acting, and a story that would make Kickboxing Academy look great. 1 stars
6/19/04 tehman i had a sezior from all the strobe effects 2 stars
6/19/04 Emily loved it 5 stars
6/18/04 vagile I wanted to like it. II really did.. 1 stars
6/18/04 M VIN!!!!!!!! yummmmmm 5 stars
6/18/04 maxomai Good campy sci-fi. I'd love to see this as a trilogy. 4 stars
6/18/04 samantha lovelace biased - am an action flick/fantasy/fightfest/sci-fi-geek/vin-fan 5 stars
6/18/04 rameh This movie was actually fun to watch. I mean it wasnt that original but it was entertaining 4 stars
6/17/04 Unanon Go with low expectations and be satisfied. Not too terrible overall. 4 stars
6/17/04 Codeine519 I actually liked it. Not Oscar material, but then, how many action scifi movies are? 4 stars
6/17/04 Paul Some parts were bad ass. Some were not. Pretty good overall. 4 stars
6/15/04 whatevr do yourself a favor... 2 stars
6/14/04 max zhang If you keep what you kill, someone kill this movie and keep it from the rest of us. 3 stars
6/14/04 asdf The action was a little too fast, but still a fun movie. 4 stars
6/13/04 othree ok sci fi fix, Diesel played up to his role, photography work wasn't great, liked the end 4 stars
6/13/04 Vicious More fun than the reviewer here say, but yeah it was over edited and at times unclear. 4 stars
6/13/04 sue You can see where they edited for either rating or time and I am looking forward to that re 4 stars
6/13/04 Wyatt Earp Good movie 4 stars
6/13/04 Wolf Satisfied my expectations, for the most part. 4 stars
6/13/04 Nikolai Satiated my eye-candy addiction for a month. World needs more bouncers like Vint Petrol 4 stars
6/13/04 jestyr go in expecting a decent action flick and you wont be disapointed. 4 stars
6/12/04 djacosta I was sleeping during boring shit 1 stars
6/12/04 Bobby da Squid Muddled & confusing; reasonably interesting visuals; not completely unfun 3 stars
6/11/04 LusT4DetH Lots of Word Points for "Riddick-U-Less" 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  11-Jun-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 16-Nov-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  29-Jul-2004


Directed by
  David Twohy

Written by
  David Twohy

Cast
  Vin Diesel
  Thandie Newton
  Karl Urban
  Colm Feore
  Keith David
  Judi Dench



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