Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The Chronicles of Riddick (15) | Film Review

The Chronicles of Riddick, dir/wr. David Twohy, based on characters by Jim Wheat and Ben Wheat, st. Vin Diesel, Thandie Newton, Karl Urban, Linus Roache, Colm Feore, Alexa Davalos, Judi Dench

Though it hangs a little in the last half hour, Twohy's follow-up to Pitch Black is if nothing else, a marvellous feat of production design and art direction, and reminded me in no small way of Peter Yates' 1983 film Krull in the way it brings together components of the fantasy genre with more straight-forward sci-fi elements - sort of like Game of Thrones in space. Which sounds awful, but it's really not, and even the script, which has our favourite Anti-hero of Indeterminate Ethnic Origin do battle with the Necromongers - a kind of cross between Dark City's Strangers and Star Trek's Borg - contains the beginnings of subversive elements that recall our own history's testimony to cultures that seek to assimilate others. Diesel does a nice line in pithy comebacks, his measured and calculated tone and movements punctuated by tiger-strike outbursts of balletic violence, and the rock-solid support from the supporting cast ensure that Riddick's second outing isn't consigned to bargain basement hell. But its two-hour running time feels like an age when contrasted with the furious velocity of its predecessor just a mere ten minutes shorter. Neither does it help that the VFX are pretty ropey at times, a glaring oversight that undoes much of the movie's ambitious grandeur and scope. However, it is a rare thing that what might have unravelled with Pitch Black 2, instead seeks to inject a genuinely intricate mythology into the Riddick character, instead of writing him off as an undefined and meatheaded space-fugitive.