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Convert Now … or Fall Forever
I certainly hope that douchebag friend of mine by the name of Fabio appreciates the hard work I went through to write this review for him. I tried many times to make my computer play this DVD from my collection, but I fear my computer is on it’s last legs. I installed two more DVD playing softwares on my computer, hoping it was my original software. This didn’t help. And since I was NOT going to pull myself off of Skyrim to watch a movie on my X-box, what was I to do? I finally brought my laptop into my room and was able to watch my movie wearing an uncomfortable set of headphones. So, yeah, my “hard work” never really involved me leaving the seat I’m writing this review from. …Fuck you guys. This movie is The Chronicles of Riddick, written and directed by David Twohy, and starring Vin Diesel, Colm Feore, Judi Dench, Karl Urban, Thandie Newton, Alexa Davalos, Linus Roache, Nick Chinlund, Keith David, and Yorick van Wageningen.
A group of bad people called Necromongers are slowly taking over the universe, lead by the Lord Marshal (Colm Feore). You either convert to one of the Necromongers, or die by their hand. Elsewhere, a group of bounty hunters lead by Toombs (Nick Chinlund) are chasing a Viking across the top of a labyrinth. Oh wait! That Viking is Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel) on a planet without electric razors. Well Riddick kills all of them dudes and throws momma from the train. By train I mean spaceship. And by momma I mean Toombs. But if you watch the movie, Toombs does look an awful lot like my mother. Anyways, Riddick goes after the people that put the money on his head and finds out that it’s his old “buddy” from the first movie, Imam (Keith David). Imam brings Riddick up to speed, telling him that the boy/girl from the first movie, Jack, went looking for him, killed some people, and is now locked up on the prison planet of Crematoria. Also, an Elemental named Aereon (Judi Dench) put the money on his head because Riddick ran out of minutes on his cell phone and she needed to talk to him. Cue Necromonger attack! Imam gets killed and Riddick decides it is good strategy to walk into the middle of the Necromonger army to kill the guy that killed Imam. This somehow works for him and he gains the respect of Lord Marshal. He gets on the bad side of Lord Marshal when he finds out that Riddick is the last of a race called the Furyan’s, who were prophesied to kill Lord Marshal, ‘causing Lord Marshal to slaughter them all. Finish up the movie with Riddick trying to get revenge on Lord Marshal – who may also have to worry about his right-hand man Commander Vaako (Karl Urban) and his treacherous wife Dame Vaako (Thandie Newton) – and save Jack (Alexa Davalos).
I’m beginning to think that I should stop pointing out when a movie has common story elements because it makes it seem like a criticism. It’s not really intended to be. I love it when a fresh concept I’ve never seen happens in a movie, but having seen so many movies in my life – and with so many more left to see – one can’t really expect every movie to be truly original. That being said, The Chronicles of Riddick certainly doesn’t break any new ground in it’s story, but it still makes for a very watchable movie. Riddick is a very cliche amalgam of every action star ever; you got a prophecy that makes a leader kill a group of people, you got a right-hand man getting manipulated into usurping power by his lady, you got a rescue, a prison escape, and you got a guy that becomes king by killing the old king. Every one of those things was in Hamlet … according to the SparkNotes … that I didn’t read. But, as I said, all good fun to watch. The action scenes were pretty spectacular, the visual effects were a big step up from the previous Riddick joint, and the lines (though usually corny) worked for the scene. Crematoria – though it’s one of the least imaginative names ever – was a pretty sweet location. The concept of a prison planet that only allowed about a five minute window of entry lest the sun melt your ship and sear your flesh, was great. Everything looked like it reeked of sweaty B.O. Also, the lava-panther looking creatures were pretty awesome. I want one of those as a pet. It also lead to part of it that clashed with Riddick’s over the top badassdom. As they were running along the surface, trying to stay ahead of the sun, he tells them that they have to keep up with him or they’ll die, but he also apparently has time to stop and make a cocky comment about how much faster he is than they are. There was also one part that was completely lost on me when the bounty hunters were transporting Riddick to Crematoria. Everyone was asleep on the ship and the female bounty hunter gets up and goes and sniffs Riddick, then straddles him and removes his goggles. He wakes up and makes some comment and she runs off. Did you wanna fuck him? ‘Cause he kinda indicated he’d go through with it, so why’d you run? This part was pointless and confusing. And it’s these kinds of questions that will drive me insane because they’ll never be answered.
The performances are every bit as good as you expect out of an action movie, maybe a little bit better. Vin Diesel spent most of his time raspying out one-liners, but actually had a few moments where he busted out the emotions near the end. I feel like I’m turning the corner on this guy, at least until I rewatch XXX and the Fast and the Furious movies. I don’t have much to say about the Necromonger crew of this movie because their characters involved them being fairly emotionless and mellow all the time, but they also maintained a good amount of creepy. Especially Karl Urban’s hair. Though she did a great job in her performance, I still wonder what inspired Judi Dench to be in this movie. Nowadays it’s easier to stomach because she was also in Pirates of the Caribbean 4, which was a much worse movie. I was happy to see that Jack grew up into a much hotter woman than the one that actually played Jack. She performed her part of being hot well, but the character herself annoyed me. It seemed that every decision she ever made was to try to impress Riddick, and I found that tedious. But she was hot, so I dismissed these complaints.
So there’s your review, Fabio. As per our agreement, you must start reading them all. But don’t worry, you’ve already finished one. That only leaves you 100+ to go, with a new one every day until I don’t feel like it anymore. ENJOY! The Chronicles of Riddick was no ground breaking movie with no ground breaking performances, but it was a fun action movie that’s pretty to look at. And with an action movie, how can you expect much more? The Chronicles of Riddick gets “Death by tea cup” out of “Been a long time since I smelled beautiful.”
Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!
You’re Dancing on Razor Blades Here
Today’s review request came from a coworker of mine by the name of Fabio. The movie is a cult hit that is about 50% sci-fi, 50% action. It’s also the movie that introduced me to Vin Diesel … so I’m not sure how I feel about that. But we’ll worry about that when someone makes me sit through the Fast and the Furious or the XXX movies. Today, we talk Riddick, or more specifically, Pitch Black, directed by David Twohy, and starring Radha Mitchell, Vin Diesel, Cole Hauser, Keith David, Rhiana Griffith, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, and Claudia Black (FROM UNCHARTED! OMG TO THE MAX!).
There is a ship flying somewhere with some people on it when something happens and it crashes. I am real good make writing! The captain dies in the accident and so the docking pilot, Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell), must take over as acting captain with police officer, William J. Johns (Cole Hauser), as her military adviser. Besides being stranded on a really sunny planet, the other major concern for all people living is a man named Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel) – a murderer Johns is transporting to a prison planet – who has escaped and disappeared. The people go out looking for civilization and find an abandoned facility with a ship they can get working. Riddick decides to hero it up (kinda) for the promise of being able to disappear when they leave. But there turns out to be a problem: nighttime is coming for the first time in 22 years, and with nighttime comes big bad creatures that start picking off the remaining crew. Riddick becomes more necessary to the remaining crew because of a surgery he’s had to make himself able to see in the dark. Will Riddick be a hero, or does he have ulterior motivation that will not benefit the crew?
This movie was not well received by critics, but was fairly well liked by the average Joe. Being halfway in between, I decided I must declare this movie “meh”. This movie probably should’ve connected with me more than it did, but it wasn’t able. They story itself was fine enough. I like a sci-fi movie and this was definitely that. You’ve got space travel, alien planet, strange creatures, super powers, and plenty of things that easily qualify it as sci-fi. But it also went for a lot suspense that I just didn’t feel was there. And when you attempt suspense and fail, you end up with long, drawn out scenes with you waiting for something to finally happen. The few fight scenes that were there were pretty fast and uneventful. Riddick hangs down from the ceiling and attempts to choke Johns with his legs, this goes on for a bit, Johns starts hitting Riddick with a baton, Riddick falls down. Back to square one. They try to build a lot of tension in the scenes that are in total darkness with the threat of deadly creatures that they can’t see, but when one finally gets somebody, it’s over pretty quickly. They, admirably, spent a decent amount of time developing some of the characters so that we were interested in them and kind of cared about. It was mainly just Fry, Johns, Riddick, Jack, and Imam that were developed. Everyone else just had a timer over their head before they were picked off. The look was also pretty good for the time and the amount of money they probably got for this movie. The first half of the movie is so damned bright that you sometimes can’t make out what you’re looking at. This was nice because it bleached your eyes and made the darkness that much deeper when it shows up. They used shadow very nicely. There are scenes when Riddick slowly disappears into the shadow that are nicely executed and a nice scene where one of the crew members is bleeding out in the darkness, lit only by a bottle of alcohol turned into a Molotov lamp, and he spits alcohol onto it, creating a burst of flame and showing he’s surrounded by creatures. That doesn’t end well for him, but it looked cool for us.
The performances were surprisingly fine. Radha Mitchell didn’t really surprise me. I’ve seen her play a character at wit’s end before and she does it here very well. She tries to keep a strong front but it cracks as more and more pressure is heaped upon her that she was in no way ready for. Vin Diesel actually put on a solid performance, but there were problems with it. Part of it was the fact that he always talks in a very raspy whisper and I can barely make out what he’s saying. I guess that’s supposed to make him appear strong or something. The writing takes away from the character somewhat. He is seemingly omnipotent, being able to hear and smell things that aren’t happening anywhere near him, and a lot of his lines are cliche tough guy lines. But I think Vin Diesel did what he could with the character and at least made him interesting. Cole Hauser’s character was pretty interesting as well. He starts off being portrayed as a good guy, but a drug problem, hidden identity, and some less than admirable intentions make us realize that Riddick is the actual anti-hero. None of the other characters, not even my beloved Claudia Black, made much of an impression on me. Mainly ’cause most of ’em died.
Pitch Black got me started in a good way by playing a commercial for Escape from Butcher Bay, a very revolutionary and awesome game from back in original X-Box days, but then took me down into meh territory with some bad, or typical, writing and less than inspired fight scenes. I give it points for it’s solid visuals and decent performances, but it failed to capture my imagination. I find myself on the fence about it, so I recommend giving the movie a chance. Not necessary to buy it right off the bat, but it’s worth a rental to formulate your own opinions. Personally, I give Pitch Black a “They say most of your brain shuts down during cryo-sleep” out of “You think I’m trying to prove something?”
Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!