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Overall Rating
3.14

Awesome: 17.61%
Worth A Look: 22.54%
Just Average28.87%
Pretty Crappy: 18.31%
Sucks: 12.68%

7 reviews, 100 user ratings



Chronicles of Riddick, The
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by Jay Seaver

"Pretty good - but give David Twohy $100M and I expect GREAT."
3 stars

I was jazzed for this in the same way I was jazzed for Spider-Man. Not just because it's a character I like, but because I absolutely love the idea of a studio giving one of my favorite genre directors a thoroughly ridiculous amount of money and telling them to go for it. David Twohy has earned himself some major cool points with The Arrival, Pitch Black, and Below, and now he was getting called up to the big leagues.

He does OK. Riddick is a slick, exciting ride packed with action, and a potent reminder of why Vin Diesel was pegged as the next big thing a few years ago. Twohy mostly handles his big budget pretty well, mostly avoiding the "more" trap and focusing on "cool". He also serves up a good script - it's a sequel to Pitch Black, but also very much its own thing. Indeed, I've heard that Universal has hopes for it to be the first movie of a trilogy/franchise, and supplies all the information someone who has never seen Pitch Black might need. And dang if Twohy doesn't serve up a great final scene, which caps the movie and makes me desperate to know what will happen next in just the way the ends of the Lord Of The Rings movies don't.

I get all this, and yet I expect more from Twohy. The Arrival and Pitch Black were smart bits of science fiction, with Twohy able to evoke a sense of wonder and mix it with terror, and everything had an explanation that was grounded in the real. Riddick is softer sci-fi, Star Wars-soft, with "air elementals" and souls being ripped from bodies and seers and holy crusades. Where Pitch Black would come up with something clever like using bioluminescent lichens for torches, Riddick all too often just uses the sci-fi trappings. The bad guys can render a planet lifeless, but their superweapon is built on nothing stronger than the writer needing a big threat. Twohy's better than this (and is certainly better than an army that ravages entire planets fighting with knives).

But if Riddick isn't quite as inventive as some of the filmmaker's earlier work (with the exception of a nifty scene where Riddick and company try to stay within the terminator between light and dark on a planet of extremes), it's got a solid script. Diesel's role is a little more meaty than just plain badass, and it fits him like a glove. Just as Arnold Schwarzeneggar was born to play a killing machine, Twohy knows how to shoot Vin in such a way to make the audience believe that, yes, this "Furyan" is something more than an ordinary human. He and Alexa Davalos - as one of the other survivors of Pitch Black and now working her way up to being nearly the badass Riddick is - have a great sort of chemistry together. And while Colm Feore and Karl Urban don't quite have the charisma to be worthy adverseries, Thandie Newton vamps her way through her scenes in an entertaining manner while Dame Judi Dench makes the most of a somewhat silly role. Linus Roache has a role that would be thankless except for one great, pivitol scene.

I'd like it if the action were a little clearer, although when one fight scene moves faster than the eye can really follow, it does at least make the impression that Riddick is really, really good at this as opposed to the director just not being able to hold his camera still. I suppose that's why sci-fi action movies always come down to a knife fight of some sort; the close-in brawl is a better visual than the long-range gunfights future combat would likely actually come down to.

One should always try to judge a work objectively, as opposed to for what one thinks the director should have done. I fail that here, I know, although I get the impression Twohy is just getting started. (In more ways than one; Universal appears to be giving Chronicles the same sort of full-franchise push with an animated tie-in DVD and a proposed TV series that Van Helsing got.) Which is exciting, since I know he hasn't yet tapped his full potential.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10007&reviewer=371
originally posted: 06/15/04 00:45:27
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User Comments

7/15/11 PAUL SHORTT INFLATED ACTION SEQUEL 1 stars
6/07/09 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
10/06/08 Will it's CONAN IN SPACE 5 stars
4/03/08 nickoree dickoree muffled dialogue, strobe seizures; good action and music; nice effects, setting almost cool 4 stars
3/20/08 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
11/17/07 tammie I loved the imagery involved, script was sucky. 4 stars
6/11/07 al smith very underated take it for what it is a kick ass sci fi movie 5 stars
4/24/07 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
9/21/06 ProSneakyD A few mistakes, could do better but come on its awesome & no it is not rubbish. 4 stars
6/11/06 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
6/02/06 Cammy Saw it, liked it. Recommended it to others who also liked it (but didn't think they would) 5 stars
5/06/06 Barbara Loved it. Watched it several times and will again. 5 stars
4/13/06 Gar Exciting and visually stunning good chars 5 stars
3/02/06 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
10/27/05 Jonathon Holmes FUCKING ROCKS...for a fucking idiot 1 stars
10/10/05 Tom Burns Very cool movie. I loved the action scenes it. 5 stars
8/23/05 Sylvanthunder A good anough Movie 4 stars
8/12/05 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
4/25/05 Pippin007 It is soooo boring!!! 2 stars
4/24/05 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
4/20/05 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
2/03/05 Dan AWESOME! 5 stars
2/03/05 ss Good movie 4 stars
2/02/05 Clifford C Gardner It has its moments 3 stars
2/01/05 Philip Taylor it rocks 5 stars
2/01/05 Joe Kolarz The original is better and Vin Diesel could have been meaner in it. 3 stars
2/01/05 lisa w In the beginning it showed promise, at the & I thought that was it. It was missing somethin 2 stars
2/01/05 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
1/19/05 American Slasher Goddess Dull and boring mess 1 stars
1/14/05 Devin Knox so awfuly gay 1 stars
12/24/04 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
12/16/04 tatum Plays like an overbudgeted SciFi Channel Original movie 2 stars
12/12/04 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
11/21/04 ad long and boring, just went for sake of sci fi 2 stars
11/17/04 Max Sexy, sweaty, action packed!! 5 stars
11/08/04 Da Brother Good but 2 computer generated 4 stars
11/05/04 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
7/31/04 Alex Dankmyer if you look deeper into the movie you'll find a jewle 5 stars
7/30/04 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
7/23/04 Sandy Turynowicz Very interesting 5 stars
7/23/04 alien assassin I've seen worse films than this 4 stars
7/20/04 arctic Impressive start to Riddick universe & myth (I hope there is more) 4 stars
7/19/04 N. Christopher Bell Not the best sci-fi flick, but It sure as hell beats STAR WARS: Episode Who Gives A Shit!!! 4 stars
7/18/04 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
7/13/04 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
7/10/04 ANDREW GIVENS great movie worth spending money on 4 stars
7/09/04 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
7/08/04 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
6/29/04 spinz this movie was so average it hurts :( 3 stars
6/24/04 John middle was boring but average movie overall. 3 stars
6/19/04 Homer Sehekual Not worthy of being a sequel to the decent "Pitch Black" 2 stars
6/19/04 Spiderfan50 Seamy effects, bad acting, and a story that would make Kickboxing Academy look great. 1 stars
6/18/04 tehman i had a sezior from all the strobe effects 2 stars
6/18/04 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
6/17/04 maxomai Good campy sci-fi. I'd love to see this as a trilogy. 4 stars
6/17/04 samantha lovelace biased - am an action flick/fantasy/fightfest/sci-fi-geek/vin-fan 5 stars
6/17/04 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
6/16/04 Codeine519 I actually liked it. Not Oscar material, but then, how many action scifi movies are? 4 stars
6/16/04 Paul Some parts were bad ass. Some were not. Pretty good overall. 4 stars
6/14/04 whatevr do yourself a favor... 2 stars
6/13/04 max zhang If you keep what you kill, someone kill this movie and keep it from the rest of us. 3 stars
6/13/04 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
6/12/04 Wyatt Earp Good movie 4 stars
6/12/04 Wolf Satisfied my expectations, for the most part. 4 stars
6/12/04 Nikolai Satiated my eye-candy addiction for a month. World needs more bouncers like Vint Petrol 4 stars
6/12/04 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
6/11/04 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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