Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Riddick's World - Vin Diesel takes
you on a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the Riddick sets. Interactive
360° view of 8 different sets from the film. Virtual Guide
To The Chronicles of Riddick - an interactive guide that immerses
the viewer into the world of the movie from the perspectives of
the characters. Toombs’ Chase Log - track the hunt for Riddick
from bounty-hunter Toombs' perspective and follow the action leading
up to the opening scene of the movie. Riddick Inside Facts On
Demand - scene specific background fact and trivia is displayed
on-screen in real time as you watch the movie! The Chronicles
of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay game demo.
FOUR years ago, a relatively unknown Vin Diesel made a name for
himself in a small, low-budget sci-fi flick called Pitch
Black which, despite its meagre scale, delivered a brilliant
variation on a well-trodden genre, as well as one of the coolest
lead characters in recent years.
Sadly, the mega-budget sequel fails to realise the potential
shown in the original and turns what could have become an interesting
franchise into an unfathomable and boring mess.
The Chronicles of Riddick is clearly designed to be the first
in a series of adventures for its central protagonist but, on
the strength of its disappointing US
Box Office performance, looks set to become a costly missed
opportunity for all associated with it.
Set five years after the events of Pitch Black (which found Riddick
attempting to escape a creature-ridden planet in the Taurus system),
Chronicles picks up as the universe is placed under threat from
an unholy army of Necromongers - conquering warriors who offer
ravished worlds a choice between conformity or death.
Its only hope lies with Riddick (Diesel), a former killer-turned-fugitive,
who has spent the ensuing period evading mercenaries, while trying
to carve out an existence for himself away from humanity.
Having been summoned back from exile
by a ghost from his past, however, Riddick finds himself to be
an unlikely anti-hero once more, given that his destiny holds
the key to mankind’s future, due to the mythology surrounding
The ensuing fantasy-adventure finds Riddick squaring off against
the Necromonger Lord Marshal (Colm Feore) and his rebellious would-be
successor (Karl Urban), in a series of increasingly momentous
battles that take place everywhere from an idyllic, multi-cultural
civilisation to a hostile subterranean prison, carved out beneath
the surface of a hellish, volcanic planet.
Unfortunately, the film that results is an unqualified bore,
made all the more disappointing by the masses of talent that it
wastes - both in terms of cast and sets.
In a Summer that has largely been defined by good-quality sequels
(Spider-Man 2, Shrek
2 and The Bourne Supremacy),
The Chronicles stands out like a sort thumb as an example of how
big doesn’t necessarily mean better.
If anything, the money seems to have gone to the film-makers’
heads, making a mockery of the film’s impressive credentials.
Aside from the obvious allure of catching up with the still-cool
Riddick character, Chronicles should also benefit from its strong
support cast (including Dame Judi Dench, as a mysterious ambassador
from a rarefied race, and Thandie Newton, as a scheming Lady Macbeth-style
Necromonger), and German-born Holger Gross’ eye-catching
But while it looks terrific and has the odd moment to savour,
most of the good things become lost amid director, David Twohy’s
convoluted plot and an over-reliance on special effects and fight
scenes, which make it hard for viewers to care about what’s
It remains to be seen, therefore, whether audiences will have
the patience to see the film through to its dark, open-ended conclusion.
Riddick fans may be better off sticking to the special
edition DVD of Pitch Black, or pitting their wits against
the computer game tie-in, since this eventually becomes crippled
by the weight of its own pretensions, and ends up feeling like
a ponderous exercise in pointless special effects.