The Chronicles of Riddick is a sci-fi action adventure film centred on wanted outlaw and experienced fighter Riddick as he finds himself on planet Helion Prime, not battling against the might of the imperial Necromonger force who aim to kill or convert all humans to their way of life and beliefs, the film stars Vin Diesel, Judi Dench, Thandie Newton, Karl Urban.
There’s a surprising amount to unpack with Riddick, an interesting and dense created universe with a lot going on, it helps to have seen the previous film to this Pitch Black but a lot of things in Riddick are entirely new and are an expansion on the world set up in the first film, with quite a lot more characters, bigger set pieces and new planets this time around as well as a war over ideals. It sort of feels like The Empire Strikes Back in terms of being the sequel that’s bigger and bolder as we once gain follow Riddick and his exploits, he’s one of the last of a special race of beings called Furians, able to see in the dark and being expert fighters and killers but he functions by his own means, not quite being a hero but he does opt to help others. There are some well done action sequences in the film as well with creative effects and some nice choreography coupled with the fantasy and sci-fi elements that exist in the context of the films world
The characterization of Riddick was well worked and Vin Diesel fits the role perfectly with his slow, lumbering line delivery and impressive physique, the performances on the whole are quite good as well, maybe surprisingly good for someone who’s never watched the film with the likes of Judi Dench who plays Aereon, she’s not given a tonne to do but she’s good when she’s present. And Karl Urban as the malicious Vaako, who gives a pretty good, driven performance as a high ranking Necromonger who you can think of as the big evil force in the story, invading planets and societies and killing people who refuse to join their way of beliefs and living.
And in that is the familiar story archetype of the smaller moral force fighting the evil big empire here and it’s done decently enough, though it’s not the focus for the entirety of the film, with some scenes focusing on Riddick and touching on his past, I like the themes used here though, it’s very on the nose with the kill or be converted thing, something I’m sure the film took from real history in things like the Crusades but still feels relevant to today. What’s great about Riddick is his calm in situations and charisma, with a unique aesthetic to him and his abilities but he’s also a moral warrior, fighting for peoples right to believe what they want but not really wanting to be a hero either, that sort of complexity makes him an interesting character rather than a cookie cutter brawler. If the villain were given as much depth as Riddick, it could have made for a better viewing but as things are, The Chronicles of Riddick is still fairly adequate in my view with some interesting ideas and themes, good action scenes and some good casting.
. Riddick is an interesting character, Vin Diesel is perfect for the role
. Well done action sequences
. Interesting created world with various races, laws
. The wider themes and ideas present could have been delved into more