The Chronicles of Riddick Reviews
This movie is about Riddick. He's a bad, bad man. As shown in "Pitch Black", Riddick is an escaped convict who can see in the dark and, because of years spent fighting for his very survival in the worst hell-hole prisons, is the most capable killer the universe has ever known. In "Pitch Black" he saves two people out of a whole ship load from horrible monsters that come out of the darkness to devour them. It was simple, to the point, and though not brilliant, was a decent piece of entertainment.
Here, Riddick is more of a hyper-real version of the character we used to know. He is now the "child of prophesy" who will destroy the "Necromongers". Necromongers are world destroyers who worship death and want to reach the "Underverse". They even sacrifice their mortal lives to convert to the Necromonger religion. What is the Underverse? How can the already-dead warriors be killed by Riddick if they are already dead? Who cares?! Time for an action scene! *punch* *kick* *thud*
The Necromongers are led by the Lord Marshal, played by Colm Feore, who was chilling as the demonic "Linoge" in Stephen King's "Storm of the Century". Here his job seems to be to smirk, walk around in uncomfortable looking plastic armor, and collect a check. But, I digress. Playing the Lord Marshal's second-in-command is the wonderful actor, Karl Urban. Wonderful elsewhere actually, as here he seems so unsure of who his character is, how he feels, or what his motivation is that he acts more like a schizophrenic off his meds than a solid person. That is not entirely his fault because the script has him bouncing around like a wad of flubber.
Trying to convince Riddick to follow his destiny is an "Elemental", played by Dame Judi Dench. Why, Dame Dench? Oh, why did you lower yourself to be in this schlock? *sigh* Some questions are better left unanswered. As far as I can tell, Elementals are non-corporeal humans who are beyond our realm of physical reality and hold great power, but for some reason need a silver-eyed convicted murderer to take care of the Lord Marshal because for some reason they can't get directly involved. They can also be held by physical chains even though they don't have to hold physical form. Why? How? Huh? Who cares?! *kick**thud*
Since the story doesn't make any sense, let us lose ourselves in the action sequences. But here we are groaning and smacking our hands to our heads in frustration as well. Is it a law that when bad guys have a clear advantage and advanced weaponry that they have to do hand to hand combat with sticks and knives? At one point Riddick is trapped in a pit on the enemy ship. The guards in the balconies are ordered to kill and him, and rather than, I don't know, pull out a gun and shoot him, they dive into the pit and get slaughtered like sheep. And why did Riddick walk willingly into that pit to begin with? He had time to make good his escape. Think, movie, think!
In another scene someone FINALLY thinks to shoot Riddick and while he's on his knees helpless, a spirit/memory/whatever the heck she is, shows up and touches his chest which, for some reason, causes him to be able to emit a giant weaponized pulse from his body that flattens the enemy soldiers. How can he do this? Why doesn't he do it later in the movie when the Lord Marshal is kicking the tar out of him? Nothing? Here's a hint, movie; we need there to be a REASON for ACTIONS to HAPPEN. Otherwise you are just letting the "Plot Convenience Fairy" run amok on your screenplay.
Then there is his sidekick, Kyra. I won't even go in to her personal history because at this point I don't care anymore, but suffice it to say that the movie sets her up as pretty much a female version of Riddick. Why is it then that this incredibly dangerous and capable young woman succumbs to "Disney Damsel" syndrome in which a previously established strong female character becomes a simpering wimp at the whim of the screenplay just so the male lead can save her? When fleeing from prison she ends up last in the line of escapees at just the wrong moment even though she was A: right behind Riddick the whole time and B: she is obviously in way better shape than any of the other convicts. This of course is so Riddick will have to save her so he can show his "good guy side". Never mind the fact that he comes away from direct contact with a type of solar heat that has already set fire to a man and he doesn't even get a sunburn. Oh, that's right. He dumped a half a canteen of warm water on his head before he got in the sun, so it's OK.
There is one, and only one, half believable shot in the movie. That is the scene where Riddick is hanging by a rope deep within the prison planet and he uses his agility and strength to cleverly break his manacles. It was far-fetched, but more in working with the character than almost any other scene in the movie.
This movie was terrible. It did not make sense even in its own universe. The stretches of logic and the outrageous plot conveniences we are asked to accept would have made the writers of any given James Bond movie blush. I didn't even get into the pillaging of other sci-fi canon or the idiotic terminology like the fire planet being named "Crematoria". That's like the hard to obtain metal in "Avatar" being named "Unobtanium". This movie wasn't even bad enough to be funny, it was just a dull and nonsensical bore, and it insulted me just to watch it. Do yourself a favor; watch the far superior "Pitch Black" and forget this movie was ever made.
"vehement comic-book energy, and eye-popping production design"
? Jim Lane, Sacramento News & Review
All in all, a fairly cliched science fiction flick that some may enjoy slightly. I thought it was passable as a film, but nothing more. A very forgettable flick.