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Overall Rating

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

7 reviews, 100 user ratings

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Chronicles of Riddick, The
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by Dennis Swennumson

"Macbeth in space!"
2 stars

There are a few summer movie trends rotate from year to year, some are marked by competition from new blockbusters that studios hope will grow into full-fledged franchises, others are dominated by sequels to the successful wannabes. The top movies of the summer so far are “Shrek 2” and the third Harry Potter film, and with “Spider-man 2” quickly approaching, this summer is the kind when sequels reign. “Chronicles of Riddick” is the follow-up to the 2000 sci-fi/horror effort “Pitch Black,” it’s a curious release because the original was marginally successful in theaters and had a stronger following on video. “Chronicles of Riddick” doesn’t make any great admission to the genre; it’s just a testament to how Hollywood will try anything to make a few more dollars.

“Chronicles of Riddick” picks up five years after the first film’s events, Vin Diesel returns as the title character, and probably the only reason why this film was made, still a hunted man. While he avoids the repeated attempts of capture, a fanatical and imperialistic race called the Necromongers travel across the universe converting planets and entire civilizations in the name of their own version of paradise called Underverse. Through revelations presented by Aereon, played by Dame Judi Dench who seems amusingly out of place, Riddick reluctantly discovers his place amongst the crusading Necromongers (pun intended by the movie’s dialogue) and those failing to resist.

Up until its midway point the film was exceeding personally low expectations. There were well-executed actions sequences and its pacing kept the film engaging. Even the movie’s obligations to fill in what happened to survivors left over from “Pitch Black” were making sense and working. Unfortunately at Riddick’s arrival to the prison-colony planet Crematoria is where the film starts to rotten. There’s a footrace that takes place on top and below the planet’s treacherous landscape with stakes set all too high, the following necessary scenes having to do with closing issues with the Necromongers tends to drag the film out when they shouldn’t. He was doing fine in the early going, but as the movie progresses writer-director David Twohy struggles horribly with balancing the film as a sequel and the film as a completely new saga.

Any mention of “Pitch Black” was removed from the film’s ad campaign, rightfully so because the original and the sequel are completely different films, at least when it comes to story and themes. “Pitch Black” took place on one deserted planet with the survivors of a destroyed ship trying to fight creatures that were only viable in the dark. The relationships amongst the survivors were cliché of horror movies and the films own rules were established too quickly, after awhile it became boring and nothing new happened. In “Chronicles” the premise is dictated in the first ten minutes because Twohy either doesn’t have the talent to write comprehensible narrative flow or is more concerned with making great action sequences with the overblown budget he didn’t have with the first. What “Pitch Black” and “Chronciles of Riddick” share in common are their biggest flaws, poorly structured storytelling that allow the films to drag into boredom.

The success of a sequel directly relates to the merits of the original. The first wasn’t too good of a movie, it had its moments but the sci-fi-horror combination only succeeded in showing why “Alien” continues to be such a great film. On those grounds “Chronicles of Riddick” is better than its predecessor, even with the overblown budget and excessively sprawling plot.

The film wears its influences on its sleeve, from “Star Wars” to the historical basis- basis used as a very loose term- in the Crusades and even Twohy’s unfortunate use of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” to influence his story. That works against the film, instead of watching “Chronicles of Riddick” we could be seeing “Star Wars”, learning about the real Crusades or be reading “Macbeth.” The film is sometimes engaging and even some of the most devout sci-fi fans will find it to be just all right, but ultimately the movie is just another disposable summer flick.

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originally posted: 06/18/04 13:05:59
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User Comments

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 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
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  11-Jun-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 16-Nov-2004



Directed by
  David Twohy

Written by
  David Twohy

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

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