Movie Reviews: The Chronicles of Riddick




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     Universal (1 hr. 59 min.)
     Riddick, the escaped convict who can see in the dark, is caught in a war between planets.
     Vin Diesel, Ja Rule, Keith David, Thandie Newton, Karl Urban
Bottom Line:


You might remember the sci-fi flick "Pitch Black," the action/adventure about the intergalactic prisoner Richard B. Riddick who can see in the dark, scowls and growls at his enemies, monsters and other nasties that go bump in the night.

Jump ahead five years. Riddick, who just wants to be left alone, is constantly hunted by mercenaries. Did I mention Riddick is also a surviving member of a race of fierce warriors called Furions?
He is one of the few surviving Furion warriors who is still merely flesh and blood - most of his kind are now Necromancers.

And that's the hitch. Riddick has become an unwilling pawn in a galactic war between two opposing races, the evil Necromongers (like the Borg from Star Trek) and the Elementals.

The Necromongers march across the galaxy assimilating inhabits of other worlds making them into, what else, fellow Necromongers. Those who don’t go along with the Necromonger program are, of course, quickly executed.

After the Necromongers convincingly hand the Elementals their lunch, the ghost-like Elemental Ambassador, Aereon (Judi Dench), tells her people that sometimes you have no choice but to fight evil with another kind of evil. So, enter the other kind of evil - yep, Riddick.

With the help of holy man Abu "Imam" al-Walid (Keith David), a character from the first film, Elemental ambassador Aereon manages to blackmail Riddick into helping the Elementals by locating his friend Kyra (Alexa Davalos), a teenage girl from the original film who has now matured into a beautiful but deadly woman.

Riddick uses ambassador Aereon's information to rescue Kyra, who is being held in a subterranean prison on the planet on Crematoria, where the planet’s sun crosses the horizon every 15 minutes baking everything in its path. And then, true to his agreement with ambassador Aereon, once off the planet, he and Kyra start killing Necromongers for the Elementals by the bushel.

Riddick, played by Vin Diesel, the character we first encountered in "Pitch Black" gives us our only real connection between the two films - that and Riddick's knack of finding himself on absurdly inhospitable planets.

The central plot is simply how much havoc Riddick can wreak against the Necromongers in two hours.

Lord Marshal (Colm Feore) is the leader of the Necromongers and he wants everyone to be one. There’s a weak subplot which involves Lord Marshal’s right hand man Vaako and his wife Dame Vaako (Karl Urban and Thandie Newton) who plot to overthrow Lord Marshal so they can command the Necromongers, but subplots and characterizations are not priorities as the film moves too fast and too furiously for such devices.

In the end, Riddick ends up on board the Necromonger flagship, where he gets his chance to face off against the Lord Marshal in a battle over the future of all beings in the galaxy, both living... and dead.

What a guy.



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