|The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)
Starring: Vin Diesel, Judi Dench, Colm Feore, Alexa Davalos, Karl Urban
Director: David Twohy
Two years ago, Vin Diesel made a multi-million dollar decision not to return to the “Fast and Furious” franchise, fearing that a sequel would limit his future script options. Unfortunately, he seemed to forget this when he decided to reprise his role as the alien Riddick for a sequel to the 2000 sci-fi/horror hybrid “Pitch Black,” a sleeper hit with fans of both genres. A relative unknown before the original role thrust him into action hero semi-stardom, it now appears that the role that made him will likely be the one that breaks him as well.
Taking place five years after the original, Riddick (Diesel) continues to hide from greedy mercenaries looking to collect on the bounty for his head. Seeking answers from a fellow survivor of the first film’s alien-infested planet (Alexa Davalos), Riddick quickly finds himself in the middle of a battle between a warrior race called the Necromongers and every other living being in the universe. The Necromongers are your everyday baddies out for world domination and destruction, led by Lord Marshal (Colm Feore) and his right-hand man, Vaako (Karl Urban, “Lord of the Rings”). When Lord Marshal discovers that the fate of his existence is in the hands of Riddick, the last of his race, he unleashes a full-fledged attack to kill him first.
“Chronicles” is an utter mess that has far too many problems to succeed on any level. In an attempt to please every sci-fi fan, director David Twohy crams every aspect of the genre into his film and essentially creates two incomplete features mashed together into two hours of incoherence. For example, after leaving the film’s first planet (Helion Prime) and arriving on another, a completely different storyline begins with all new characters, sharing absolutely no relation to what’s going on somewhere else in the galaxy. When the audience finally warms up to the inmates of the planet Crematorium, Riddick is rushed back to Helion Prime and the first part of the film is continued.
This negligence is simply unacceptable when trying to create a sequel for a film that didn’t deserve a sequel in the first place. But don’t expect Diesel’s performance to save the day; his work here pales in comparison to “Pitch Black,” saddled with tacky one-liners and endless grunting. Note to the producers: Two incomplete scripts don’t make one good script. Hopefully they will subtract the “s” from “chronicles” and the fans of the genre won’t be subjected to any more of these string-thin sequels.
The DVD has plenty of cool features for fans of the film, and the Unrated Director’s Cut has 15 minutes of footage not seen in theaters.