|By Zach Patterson||Thursday, 21 Jun 2007|
This could be considered a bit of an old review, as I had written this 2 years ago and lost it until recently. Never one to toss away a review, I of course put it on here as some brand new content. Wooo. Without further ado…
Upon watching this movie, I could not hold back my disappointment from nearly start to finish. The biggest issues with The Chronicles of Riddick is that they took a cool villain/anti-hero from a small cult-classic movie and made him a new movie with a monstrous budget, mediocre script, and little familiar for fans of the first movie, “Pitch Black”.
I’ll be honest, I used to think I liked Vin Diesel at the time of Pitch Black. However, times have changed. Movies like “The Fast and the Furious” and “XXX” have made him an overblown action star with questionable role choices and strings of lame one-liners. I thought this movie at the time might stand as a bit of redemption for him, going back to his best character, but it never quite clicks like I hoped it would.
For one thing, “Pitch Black” was a focused movie that didn’t overreach what it was: Sci-Fi Horror. This movie goes for Sci-Fi Action-Adventure Epic, and it just comes off as “XXX” meets “Star Wars” with a dash of “Pitch Black”‘s characters. It just never worked for me. For one, so much of the movie is CG that I feel the whole movie might as well have been a CGI move like “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within”. Instead, everything feels fake and not real. I couldn’t suspend disbelief for a single action sequence in this. It all just felt like a sound stage.
Then there’s the fact that it is supposed to be a sequel to “Pitch Black”, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. It includes the survivors of Pitch Black to keep you familiar but by the end you feel as if their inclusion wasn’t terribly integral to the overall plot. Instead the main story revolves around a race called the Necromongers, who are best described as laidback, non-hive Borg. They assimilate the people on a planet, then destroy the planet, and no one can stop these guys, except….yep, you guessed it, Vin Diesel.
Why he can stop them is never made very clear, something to do with his race of people being able to. Why are how is never explained, he just can. When they attack early, he escapes and they pursue him to a prison where he ends up on a gaping plothole of a planet where it is as hot as the sun one minute and cold as hell the next. Watching that entire scene was cringe-worthy if you used your brain whatsoever. Anyway, finally the Necromongers catch up to him, which leads to the final showdown where Vin faces off against their leader who is supposedly unbeatable. Right… Really, it’s just an excuse for another CGI heavy fight scene leading up to a predictable ending. Lots of flashy fighting, Vin struggles, Vin succeeds. Vin wins, movie over. Yawn.
Let me get to what really bothered me. The Necromongers were introduced early and besides adding some initial confusion, it never is really clear why they are such a bad race and such a bad thing to become. Everyone is afraid to turn into one, but really, you keep your mind, independent thought, etc., so I don’t see what is so bad about them. And that is really annoying when that idea is the crux of the story. Also, like I said, the old characters reintroduced seem like a waste as they come back only to leave the impression of “Oh, well I guess it was cool seeing them” before they disappear or otherwise. Their lack of characterization is disheartening.
The whole movie just suffers from too much CGI, bad scripting, weak dialogue, forgettable characters, and major plotholes. It’s another Vin Diesel movie that asks you to turn your brain off, and to add insult, it really doesn’t feel like a sequel to “Pitch Black” at all. Skip it and play the game based on the franchise instead.