Movie Review

The Chronicles of Riddick

All the power in the universe can't change destiny
The Chronicles of Riddick Movie Poster

US Release Date: 06-11-2004

Directed by: David Twohy


  • Vin Diesel
  • Riddick
  • Colm Feore
  • Lord Marshal
  • Thandie Newton
  • Dame Vaako
  • Judi Dench
  • Aereon
  • Karl Urban
  • Vaako
  • Alexa Davalos
  • Kyra
  • Linus Roache
  • Purifier
  • Yorick van Wageningen
  • The Guv
  • Nick Chinlund
  • Toombs
  • Keith David
  • Imam
Average Stars:
Reviewed on: June 8th, 2004
Vin Diesel in The Chronicles of Riddick.

Vin Diesel in The Chronicles of Riddick.

The Chronicles of Riddick is a critic proof, action packed, hi-tech sci/fi flick. This sequel to Pitch Black takes place five years after the events in that movie. Riddick has spent that time hiding out on an uninhabited ice planet. Meanwhile a scary group of religious fanatics called Necromongers, led by a man with strange supernatural powers (he is very fast, extraordinarily strong and has the ability to remove people's souls from their bodies), is wreaking havoc on the universe. They offer two choices to all those they encounter; convert or die.

When men from the prison Riddick escaped from come hunting him, he of course defeats them and steals their space ship. He then pays a visit to the only man who knew where he was hiding. While he is there they are visited by several beings. The leader of these is an Elemental (Judi Dench looking a bit confused), she has the ability to float on air, to disappear and reappear somewhere else and to move through solid objects. They have come seeking Riddick. You see he is the last of a race of beings called Furyians. It has been foretold that a lone Furyian with defeat the Necromongers.

All of this leads, after several different over-the-top adventures on several different planets, to the final showdown between Riddick and the leader of the Necromongers.

Vin Diesel is the perfect action hero. He looks the part, is tough as nails and that voice. It is unmistakably deep and gruff and his delivery of the many cheesy lines he says whenever he confronts or defeats someone adds some campy humor to all the carnage and mayhem.

This is the type of summer adventure movie where you must check reality at the door. In the tradition of Schwarzenegger, Stallone and all the other muscle-heads from action movies over the years, Riddick is able to perform daring feats of strength, dexterity, speed and courage that are far beyond what any mere mortal could accomplish. Riddick has the added ability to see in the dark, although this talent plays a rather small role in the heroics he performs here.

Chronicles of Riddick has some expensive looking special effects, a good supporting cast and one hell of a charismatic lead. However, it is silly in places and downright dumb in others, at best it manages to provide some mediocre escapist entertainment. A word of advice, don't think about this one, just experience it.

Reviewed on: November 28th, 2004
Alexa Davalos and Vin Diesel in The Chronicles of Riddick.

Alexa Davalos and Vin Diesel in The Chronicles of Riddick.

Pitch Black works well because it has a simple set up. A group of "good" citizens must rely on a criminal to stay alive when trapped on a planet with carnivorous raptors. The Chronicles of Riddick doesn't work so well because the setting expands from the fate of a group of people to the fate of the entire universe.

As Patrick wrote, Vin Diesel is an awesome action hero. The movie loses all interest when he is not on screen. The politics of the Necromongers and their religion is both boring and superfluous. Riddick is not a deep thinker or a man of ideals. He is a man of action. Just give him an army to fight and a goal to accomplish.

This movie turns him into a butt kicking Moses. He battles the evil empire that is enslaving and killing innocent people. It takes place in a desert and the bad guys space ships resemble those Egyptian palaces from The Ten Commandments.

Riddick is a self-professed criminal. His angle is that he doesn't give a shit about anything. By having him save the universe, this movie contradicts his entire personality. The centerpiece of any movie series is a likable and predictable character. Riddick is likable in a raw way, but this movie changes what he is by having him put others ahead of himself.

Reviewed on: May 4th, 2010
Alexa Davalos and Vin Diesel in The Chronicles of Riddick.

Alexa Davalos and Vin Diesel in The Chronicles of Riddick.

Eric, I disagree that the movie changes Riddick’s motivation. Sure, he ends up saving the universe, but only for revenge. He doesn’t kill the Lord Marshall for some noble cause, but because he’s pissed him off. At no point does Riddick’s loyalty extend any further than to Jack; the girl from Pitch Black. This movie does give him a back story that implies he has deeper depths than just the criminal he was made out to be in the first film, but his personality remains pretty much the same.

However, I do agree with you and Patrick that the plot to this movie went far too big and over the top. Riddick’s not a character who should be saving the universe for whatever reason. He should be kicking ass in amazing action scenes. They should have narrowed the plot to simply him trying to escape from mercs or trying to rescue Jack from prison.

And apart from the novelty of having Judi Dench in a Vin Diesel movie I don’t see what her character brings to the film. Likewise Thandie Newton’s storyline with the Necromonger lieutenant could have been cut as well.

Pitch Black was a small movie that did well enough on DVD to inspire this blockbuster sequel. The failure of the sequel to earn back a high enough profit just goes to show that throwing money at a film isn’t enough to make it better. I mean just one of the CGI battle scenes here probably cost more than all of Pitch Black. Reportedly there is a third Riddick film in the works, but it is being made by an independent studio for a much smaller budget. Hopefully with less money the makers of this one will get back to basics and produce a more entertaining installment.

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