The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)

chronicles of riddick poster 2004 movie vin diesel
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 7/10

Decent visuals, generic sci-fi fun

Story is a bit muddled

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Chronicles of Riddick

Studio:  Radar Pictures

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  June 11, 2004

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


New planet, same old crap…

Riddick (Vin Diesel) is on the run.  When a big bounty goes out for him, Riddick is forced to return to society to stop the people hunting him.  Learning that his old ally Imam (Keith David) is searching for him on behalf of an Air Elemental named Aereon (Judi Dench), Riddick learns that he could be the last of a race called the Furyan…and the only hope to stop a race called the Necromongers.  Riddick is hunted by the Necromongers and seeks to free his old ward Jack (now calling herself Kyra) (Alexa Davalos) from a prison called Crematoria.  Lord Marshal (Colm Feore) of the Necromongers has ordered Riddick killed and Lord Vaako (Karl Urban) and his wife Dame Vaako (Thandie Newton) realize it could be their opportunity for a power play!


Whoever wins this staring contest becomes leader of the Necromongers

Directed by David Twohy, The Chronicles of Riddick were the sequel to the sleep cult hit Pitch Black (which is often renamed The Chronicles of Riddick:  Pitch Black after the release of this film).  The movie received a video game tie-in from the Xbox (The Chronicle of Riddick:  Escape from Butcher Bay) and an animated crossover The Chronicles of Riddick:  Dark Fury.  The movie was met with not very enthusiastic reviews and poor box-office returns (Vin Diesel was nominated for a Razzie for Worst Actor), but has since become a bit of a cult classic.

I saw The Chronicles of Riddick in the theater after enjoying Pitch Black (in spite of Vin Diesel).  The movie went from being a horror sci-fi movie to a pretty high sci-fi action movie.  This change of tone is probably what doomed the film for many who wanted the original Pitch Black feel recaptured.


Whoever wins this staring contest eats the other one’s face

The story of The Chronicles of Riddick doesn’t have enough direction.  The first part of the movie involves Riddick getting hooked up with Imam again, but then it goes into the whole Furyan storyline with the Necromongers.  The story then really loses direction by having Riddick go after Jack and then tries to make a mini-Pitch Black by having them stay in the dark on Crematoria…which leads to an end fight between Ridddick and Marshal (much like Dune).  With so much story, the movie runs quite long and a director’s cut adds even more time.

The acting in Riddick is so-so.  Vin Diesel has never been accused of being a great actor, and the original Pitch Black benefitted in that he was almost a secondary character.  Here, Riddick must carry the film and that doesn’t work for much of the movie.  The movie is classed up by Judi Dench’s presence, but she has to look back on the role as a “why?” decision.  Jack was recast from Rhiana Griffith to Alexa Davalos who does a nice job.  I also enjoyed Karl Urban and Thandie Newton as kind of the Macbeth and Lady Macbeth characters but felt like they didn’t have much to do in the movie.


I’m jealous of your ghost-like abilities…and you acting abilities.

Visually, the movie obviously had a bigger budget than Pitch Black which helped and hurt it.  The movie looked better, but Pitch Black was more innovative due to the lower budget.  Here, the movie was free to get crazy with sets and I feel it took away from the story a bit.

The Chronicles of Riddick has gotten a bit better with age.  With less expectation, the movie has its own feel from Pitch Black.  If you don’t go into the movie expecting Pitch Black again with twists and turns, The Chronicles of Riddick has its own trashy sci-fi fun.  The Chronicles of Riddick was followed-up by Riddick in 2013.

Related Links:

Pitch Black (2000)

The Chronicles of Riddick:  Dark Fury (2004)

Riddick (2013)


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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