Triple X in space?
Tonight, our ragtag band of outlaws- Vin, Jason, Dino, Ralph, Carl and me- broke into the heavily-guarded stronghold known as The Podium to watch the new sci-fi action adventure, Chronicles of Riddick.
I'm not really a big fan of bald bad boy Vin Diesel- at least, I didn't really know about him before the 'remixed' spy movie XXX hit theaters. As far as I know, Mr. Diesel rose first to stardom because of his role in the sci-fi thriller Pitch Black (or was it The Fast and the Furious?), as the character known as Riddick. A bad-ass superhuman convict and killer, Riddick was an anti-hero of the first degree. Master escape artist, fearless warrior and unstoppable assassin. Well, actually he's really just a loner who'd rather just live and let live. But of course, it wouldn't be an action movie if it was all about Riddick camping out in some backwoods planet so here we have big things that go to Hell real fast.
The universe is in danger. A phantom army is rapidly growing in strength and numbers, spreading like a virus through the worlds of human colonization. They are called The Necromongers, a force of gothic, highly-disciplined warriors who take over worlds and then either convert or kill everyone in sight. They are led by the Lord Marshall (Colm Feore), a half-human, half-dead being with supernatural abilities. With every world that falls, more humans join this unholy crusade. Is there any way to stop this religious cult of space-faring death worshippers? Well, if prophecy is to be believed, it lies in a race of warriors called The Furions. But for the past generations, the Necromongers have exterminated or subjugated every Furion in sight. Or have they? Enter Mr. Riddick...
I came into COR expecting little more than an action-fest with lots of eye candy, and to say the least, I was NOT disappointed. This film is filled to the brim and overflowing with incredible visuals. The gothic designs of the Necromongers are a sight to see, and the various worlds we are shown fill the screen with all the glorious scope CG effects can give.
In terms of story, there's really little to chew on- the movie is one big action romp for Riddick to look totally bad-ass and kick a lot of arse. Pitch Black fans will enjoy seeing the return of a couple of familiar faces (or names at least) from the prequel. There are some sideplots and conspiracies within the Necromonger elite, as an ambitious/loyal commander named Vaako (Karl Urban) conspires with his consort (Thandie Newton) to replace the present Lord Marshall. There's also a fair bit of dark humor in the precedings as well. Unfortunately, there's also a glaringly long sequence in the middle which brings to mind The Climb Up Mordor from LOTR- a somewhat prolonged, dragging scene. But for the most part, things ran along at a steady pace, to the final action-packed finale and an ending that just screams SEQUEL!!!!
I haven't watched an action film that's just so rich in visuals, so energetic in action, so ambitious in scope and as guiltless in execution as COR, and I can say readily I enjoyed it. It's no Dune, no Star Wars, but it doesn't need or aspire to be. For what it is though, it's pretty good and that's good enough.
Catch Chronicles of Riddick- if you can, or if you dare- in theaters now.
Side note: I came home and opened the TV to HBO and the detective movie Point of Origin. Who do I see in the first scene I see? Colm Feore, the Lord Marshall, now in the role of a detective. Coincidence? Weird.