Riddick is forced into taking on the Necromongers, evil sorcerer/aliens who enslave or destroy whole galaxies, and who have (unfortunately for them) pissed him off ONE TIME TOO MANY.
Well, I thought Pitch Black was one of the better written, more intelligent and suspenseful sf movies in the ‘scary aliens killing everybody’ genre, and I really really liked Vin Diesel in the role of the convict Riddick…yes, he’s dumb looking in the face, but whatta bilt (as they say in MAD magazine) and he is a good actor, as well as having a good sense of timing.
So I figured, what the heck? I’m gonna be at the Red Cross doing apheresis for two hours, 135 minutes of mindless violence and Vin Diesel in a tank top, can’t beat it.
Well. It was not a completely happy experience, to say the least. I found myself with a lot of conflicting input from my various body parts, so let me give you a sample of what was going on during this movie:
EYES: Wow! Cool! big, pretty, nice effect, EXPLOSION! Rocket ships, chase scenes, explosion, violence, violence, violence, cool!!! Ooh, alien stuff, pretty neat, good effects, wow, Vin Diesel without a shirt on, yes indeedy! fight scene, explosion, fight, more chases, cool aliens, BIG fights and explosions, wow! COOL! the end.
EARS: ooh, LOUD LOUD LOUD, talk talk, EXPLOSION space ships, talk talk EXPLOSION, MUSIC, EXPLOSION, special effects music talk talk EXPLOSION FIGHT SHOOTING FIGHT FIGHT EXPLOSION talk fight FIGHT EXPLOSION BIG FIGHT BIG FIGHT BIG FIGHT…huh? the end.
BRAIN: Huh? that doesn’t make sense…derivitive names. How do they do that? Huh? why? ooh, cool scene, nice staging, pretty good…but why is he doing that? Oh, so that there can be more fighting and explosions, okay…but wait a minute, that makes no sense…oh, more fighting and explosions, ok, I’ll get distracted…ooh, the ending, pretty cool but…huh? the end.
As you can probably tell, there are some serious problems with this movie:
- The whole concept of the ‘Necromongers”, evil aliens who want to convert everyone to their religious beliefs or kill them and (coincidentally) the first planet we see them wipe out is a planet of freedom of religion where people don’t want to convert, and we meet our Muslim Arab friends from Pitch Black again…ho hum, been there done that, although nice (again) to see Muslims presented as decent normal people. And how do the bad guys have this power, and what is this “underverse” that’s their heaven? Conveniently, none of this needs to be explained, because there are lots of explosions to distract the viewer from asking embarrassing questions.
- Physics police: At one point they’re on a planet where the sun turns exposed human flesh into a torch on contact, and they say it’s 700 degrees (I assume F) in the sun. They are trying to outrun dawn, of which the first beams of light only seems to torch minor characters, while others (like Vin Diesel) can take full on sunlight for over a minute without becoming a crispy critter. Sorry, doesn’t work for me. Even approaching dawn would be too hot for unprotected humans in temps like that.
- Vin Diesel. Yes, built like the proverbial brick edifice, and although he looks like he’d have trouble reading the menu at Denny’s (the one with pictures of all the food for those without English literacy skills), he is a good actor and fun to watch. Unfortunately, he does have a tendancy to mumble worse than John Malkovich, which is really saying something.
Also unfortunately, this movie has a HUGE BOFFO ENDING (which was actually pretty good) and after the BIG FINALE when the audience is GASPING IN SURPRISE the camera zooms back to Vin Diesel, focuses for a close up on his bloody mouth…and he says THE LINE just before the credit crawl.
You know, the LINE THAT CAPS IT ALL OFF?
The one he MUMBLED so badly that I absolutely COULD NOT MAKE OUT WHAT HE SAID? So there I am with needles in my arms, no way to rewind the film, no nurse nearby…by the time I was done, the film had reached the end of the tape and shut off…I had to explain to the nice nurse three times that I did not want her to rewind the whole film for me…so I did my errands, went home and played the last couple of minutes again…and with the volume turned up very loud, caught what he was saying.
And thank goodness I didn’t pay nine bucks to see it in a theatre and maybe have to wait six or eight months to find out what happened there!
Sure, rent it, or borrow it for free from a friend or your local library if you can, just pay attention at the end or you too will find yourself saying, “HUH???”