Riddick is on the run. Escaping from mercenaries determined
to collect the price on his head, he finds himself at the
heart of a battle that is not his. With Necromonger conquerors
threatening the future of the entire universe, Riddick could
be the only unlikely hero to save the human race. But will
he be interested in saving anything other than his own life?...
its theatrical release, The Chronicles of Riddick received
a fair serving of negative criticism. After the taut and innovative
Pitch Black, Chronicles
compared as a big, floppy overblown bucket of nonsense
that stirred the rancour of nearly every fan of the film that
that tempers have eased, the DVD release of Chronicles
has been met with a gentler reception. Certainly, those expecting
more of Pitch Black are still hobbled by the shell-shock
and may never fully recover, but for the rest of us, the small-screen
seems a more fitting place for Chronicles. The daft,
pulpy, B-grade science-fiction elements appear less vulgar,
and instead a half-decent, dramatic narrative takes precedence.
The film's highlight is a sudden shift of focus from Helion
Prime to the hellish sphere of Crematoria. It is here where
the film does its best work, and we can forget for a while
the silly Necromongers (characters surely conceived by a 13-year
special effects are another reason why Chronicles is
more enjoyable at home than on a Friday night out. While still
noticeable, the moments of poor CGI and shoddy blue/green
screen are thankfully less offensive, and one is able instead
to appreciate the rich and imaginative design concepts. My
personal favourite is the engines that power the Necromonger
ships: they inhale rather than propulse!
is due to Vin Diesel. Were it not for his presence, Chronicles
would be nothing but boring. He held the film together at
the cinema and does here on DVD. Diesel has a natural authority
and confidence that draws the eye and ear (he is, after all,
one of the major reasons why Pitch Black is so good),
and now with the reduced background noise of the film's poorer
points, Diesel is really good fun to watch, even if he is
playing a violent, morally ambiguous thug. Sadly, Colm Feore
as the Lord Marshal, and the villain of the piece, has less
impact. He fails to convince as a diabolic warrior, the pitch
being more that of corporate weasel.
Anyhoo, crack open a beer, gobble some pizza and relax and
enjoy. There are worse films out there.
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