The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)
A Film Review
Copyright Dragan Antulov 2005
In 2000 David Twohy enjoyed a degree of success with PITCH BLACK, his science fiction horror film that was compared with Ridley Scott’s ALIEN and turned Vin Diesel into charismatic action star. The latter was the reason for PITCH BLACK to get a sequel that would deal with Diesel’s character. The sequel, named THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK, was directed by Twohy in 2004.
The plot begins five years after the events of PITCH BLACK. Riddick (played by Vin Diesel), multiple murderer on the run from authorities, is tracked by bounty hunters only to be brought in touch with his old friend Imam (played by Keith David). Imam’s home planet Helion Prime is threatened by Necromongers, militant religious sect that converts everyone to its cause and destroys those who refuse to do so. Riddick would have to confront not only Necromongers and their Lord Marshall (played by Colm Feore), but also his past.
THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK could serve as a good argument for all those who consider large budgets as the main reason for the decline of quality in Hollywood films. Unlike the original, it was made under market-friendly PG-13 rating, thus depriving audience of the language and violence that made PITCH BLACK look believable despite far-fetched premise. And, just like in many summer blockbusters of that particular genre, THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK is filled with the spectacular action scenes that often serve no purpose other than show film’s CGI budget. Script was, just like in many similar films, of little consideration. The only exception was made with Necromongers and its leader who were made to look like futuristic version of George W. Bush during invasion of Iraq, in an apparent attempt to pander to rising anti-American sentiments in global markets.
Needless to say, all this commercial calculation didn’t pay off. There are few entertaining moments in the film and Nicholas Chinlund is very effective in the role of a bounty hunter. But most other actors, Diesel included, are wasted in tragically underwritten and stereotypical roles. The main problem for THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK, however, is in the plot, which is simply too complicated and too ambitious. Twohy apparently mistook the larger budget of this film for the opportunity to replace simplicity of PITCH BLACK with the epic scope worthy of STAR WARS saga. As a result, there are many scenes and subplots that don’t make much of a sense and the plot of THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK could be properly understood only after watching DVD extras. Failure to tell a coherent story means the failure of the film in its entirety, so THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK should be seen as a failure.
RATING: 3/10 (+)