The Chronicles of Riddick
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Vin Diesel (XXX, The Fast and the Furious) stars in this electrifying special-effects-fueled action spectacular! After years of outrunning ruthless bounty hunters, escaped convict Riddick suddenly finds himself caught between opposing forces in a fight for the future of the human race. Now, waging incredible battles on fantastic and deadly worlds, this lone, reluctant hero will emerge as humanity's champion - and the last hope for a universe on the edge of annihilation. Powered by groundbreaking visual effects and pulse-pounding, thrill-a-minute action, The Chronicles of Riddick is "a roller coaster ride that leaves you kicking and screaming for more!" (Hollywood Hotwire)
The unrated director's cut of The Chronicles of Riddick adds about 15 minutes of action, sex, and even exposition. There's a new introduction for Kyra, three scenes of a character (Shira, played by Kristin Lehman) who was removed entirely from the theatrical cut, a couple of more sexual scenes (but no nudity), more interplay between Riddick and the Lord Marshal and between Vaako and Lady Vaako, and a more striking ending. Director David Twohy apologizes for some jumps in the picture where the new footage was added, but it's not that noticeable. His commentary track with Alexa Davalos (Kyra) and Karl Urban (Vaako) discuss the new footage (some cuts were made to avoid an R rating) as well as the shooting conditions and how they lured Judi Dench to the movie. Interestingly, they discuss Pitch Black but not the animated bridge between the two films, Dark Fury. Among the other features, the visual encyclopedia and chase log echo features in the second DVD release of Pitch Black, and there are also a pop-up trivia track, some deleted scenes that are actually worth watching, a mildly diverting 360-degree view of eight locations, the first level of the Xbox stealth-shooter tie-in game, and other material that helps explain this convoluted world. You get all of this on a single disc, so no DTS track. --David Horiuchi
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Chronicles of Riddick is campy, plain and simple. I can see where some people would be put off by that. Its a space opera, not unlike the novels of David Weber or William Dietz. One man faces terrifying odds to fix what's wrong with the universe. Its improbable and sometimes illogical, but its entertaining and goes places that most made-for-the-screen sci-fi simply won't go.
Its a shame that "Riddick" flopped at the box office. This is, by far, Vin Diesel's best character. He was born to play Riddick. And Twohy is a great action/spook film director (check out "Below" to see what I'm talking about).
This **could** have been a wonderful series of films. If you've seen this through to the end, you know what I'm talking about. That ending yielded many possibilities.
"Riddick" is not without its flaws. The pacing of the Director's Cut is a little uneven, but not ponderous. You get much more backstory than the theatrical release. Karl Urban is in total camp mode (his haircut is simply criminal). You gotta wonder what drew Judi Dench to this project. She gives more grace to her underwritten role than it deserves, although I suspect her character would've been expanded had "Riddick" yielded a sequal. Thandie Newton, doing her best Lady MacBeth impression, is just terrible. Her scenes with Dench are a study in opposites. Colm Feore is somewhat menacing, but why do I keep remembering him from "Chicago" while watching this movie? And Nick Chinlund is always good for a laugh.
For all of its flaws, "Riddick" is a fun, imaginative space romp. I'd love to see more like it, but the audience just isn't there. Maybe Diesel will further expand this alternate universe like he did in his company's exceptional video game, "Escape from Butcher Bay".
No spoilers from me; Vin Diesel reprises his role as the fugitive Riddick, a very tough, no nonsense survivalist in the truest sense of the word. There are a lot of new elements added the Riddick universe, including a few new races, and issues much grander in scope than the previous movies. While Riddick is a very cold killer who is capable of explosive violence, he also is very loyal to those he considers worthwhile.
The special effects are very impressive in places and I really liked the feel of the environments created for the movie, with some of the Necromonger technology being the creepiest I have ever seen. The various fight scenes are all well done and are some of the best in any movie in this genre.