US Release Date: 02-18-2000
Directed by: David Twohy
- Vin Diesel, as
- Richard B. Riddick
- Radha Mitchell, as
- Carolyn Fry
- Cole Hauser, as
- William J. Johns
- Lewis Fitz-Gerald, as
- Paris P. Ogilvie
- Rhiana Griffith, as
- Keith David, as
- Abu 'Imam' al-Walid
- Claudia Black, as
- Sharon 'Shazza' Montgomery
- John Moore, as
- John 'Zeke' Ezekiel
- Simon Burke, as
- Greg Owens
- Les Chantery, as
- Sam Sari, as
- Firass Dirani as
Vin Diesel as Riddick in Pitch Black.
Pitch Black is average science fiction fare. Its saving grace and reason for watching is the character of Richard B. Riddick, played by Vin Diesel. Vin Diesel is only able to play one role, that of a tough son of a bitch. This is his perfect movie.
A group of space travelers get stranded on a desert planet. When it gets dark a bunch of raptor like creatures come out and feast on the humans. Riddick is a prisoner but has the ability to see in the dark, so he becomes invaluable to those who think little of him. "All you people are so scared of me. But it ain't me you gotta worry about now." He cheerlessly tells them.
Much of the movie is filmed in the dark, or at least heavy shadows. This creates a great atmosphere for a horror film. However, humans getting hunted down by monsters is hardly a unique plot devise.
Vin Diesel plays Riddick as Mr smooth with a lot of hidden aggression. "They say most of your brain shuts down during cryo-sleep. All but the primitive side, the animal side. No wonder I'm still awake." Riddick gets all the memorable lines, even this controversial one. "I absolutely believe in God and I absolutely hate the fucker."
Vin Diesel has star quality in spades. His look is unique, bald head and broad shoulders. His ethnic background is so obscure it's moot. His deep voice and large presence make him second only to The Rock, in being the action hero of the day.
Keith David, Rhiana Griffith, Radha Mitchell and Vin Diesel in Pitch Black.
This is a fairly entertaining B-Movie. The central plot is an old one; that of a small group of people trapped in a remote location being hunted down by monsters. Comparisons to Aliens are almost inevitable. The monsters only coming out in the dark is the movie's only original angle.
Certainly the best thing going here is Vin Diesel. He does have the potential to be an action star, even if his career has cooled a bit since you wrote your review Eric. Like Schwarzenegger before him though, his best work is clearly when he has to speak the least. To put it mildly, he doesn't have a wide range. He's also a bit under-used here. Too much time is spent on the supporting characters, many of whom you know from the start won't survive til the end credits.
Some of the action scenes are pretty well done. The opening scene of the spaceship crash in particular is an attention grabber. And later the group of survivors flee through the night, getting picked off one by one in a cliched, but entertaining sequence.
Although there aren't many surprises in the plot, there are one or two; with a big one right at the end.
There's not very much to this movie, but there is enough to keep you entertained for less than two hours.
Radha Mitchell and Vin Diesel in Pitch Black.
I agree that Pitch Black is a fairly entertaining sci/fi thriller with a great central character memorably played by Vin Diesel. As Eric wrote, he gets all the best lines. One of my favorites is this eloquent chestnut, “I truly don't know what's gonna happen when the lights go out Carolyn but I do know, once the dying starts, this little psycho fuck family of ours is gonna rip itself apart.”
The plot is certainly derivative. A diverse group of space travelers crash land on an unknown planet and find themselves in a desperate struggle for survival against a ravenous alien species. The fact that these creatures only emerge to feed in the dark does add a slight variation to the plot but it's also quite coincidental. Talk about your bad timing. Here's a planet with three suns that has a month long eclipse that occurs exactly once every 22 years, during which a hibernating species emerges to devour every living thing. Wouldn't you just know it? Their ship crashes on the very eve of this eclipse.
At least the filmmakers were aware of the unoriginality of the premise. They included this tongue in cheek disclaimer in the titles, “The persons and events in this production are fictitious. No similarity to actual persons or predators, living or dead, is intended or should be inferred.”
Besides the pilot Carolyn, and the prisoner Riddick, the surviving passengers include a bounty hunter, a holy man, an antiques dealer, a couple of settlers and an androgynous teen runaway. This last character, Jack, is one of the more intriguing. At one point Jack puts a sharpened bone to the throat of another passenger to demonstrate how Riddick would most likely kill him. This causes the passenger to inquire of Jack, “Tell me, did you run away from your parents, or did they run away from you?”
Like all movies with a similar set-up it's fun guessing just who will live and who will die. The action scenes are fairly tense and well-staged and the story moves along at a decent clip. Pitch Black is certainly a better movie than its overblown sequel The Chronicles of Riddick.
Photos © Copyright Intrepid Pictures (2000)