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The Chronicles Of Riddick

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Chronicles Of Riddick

Starring: Vin Diesel, Judi Dench
Director: David Twohy
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 115 Minutes
Release Date: June 2004
Genres: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action

*Also starring: Colm Feore, Alexa Davalos, Karl Urban, Linus Roache, Nick Chinlund, Chris Astoyan, Christina Cox, Keith David, Aaron Douglas, Kristin Lehman

Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

In this sci-fi action-adventure, Vin Diesel reprises his "Pitch Black" role of Richard B. Riddick, a gritty anti-hero who can see in the dark. An escaped convict, he's spent five years skulking around planets, like icy UV6 on the outskirts of the galaxy, eluding the mercenaries on his trail. When he arrives on the planet Helion, he discovers a progressive multi-cultural society that has been ravaged by the sixth Lord Marshal (Colm Feore), a despot waging the 10th Crusade in the 26th century. From his baroque Basilica flagship with its strange army of warriors known as Necromongers, the Lord Marshal targets humanoids for subjugation. (For "Star Trekkers," this evokes the Borg invasions. But the Necromongers are not robots; they're a race of supernaturals.)

In the Slam, a dark subterranean prison, Riddick finds Kyra (Alexa Davalos), an embittered warrior; she's the lone survivor from his previous life. And he discovers his surprising Furyan origins with the expositional help of ethereal Aereon, the elusive Elemental race's ambassador (Judy Dench, shimmering in crushed Swarovski crystals). Keith David reprises his "Pitch Black" role as the cleric Abu 'Inam' al-Walid, and Thandie Newton slinks in as ambitious Dame Vaako of the Necromongers. Predictably and inevitably, there's a big battle and overblown climax.

Written and directed by David Twohy, based on Jim & Ken Wheat's characters, it was first rated R for intense violence/language but Universal appealed for PG-13. With teenage boys as the target audience, they'll like the realistic special effects, although art direction is derived from "Dune." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Chronicles of Riddick" is a fast-paced 5. For sci-f/horror fans, it's a cool popcorn picture with the conclusion of the trilogy yet to come.

Copyright 2004 Susan Granger

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