Pitch Black was a pretty good movie. It was a B movie that made it into that rare and slender category of movies which, on a low budget and starting from a sci-fi horror film plot, create a character or two whose development I actually care about…even a little bit. In general, I appreciate truly horrifyingly bad movies which are self-mocking at some level. Jason X and Eight Legged Freaks managed this. Pitch Black, on the other hand, did not appear self deprecating at all. It was exactly what it was…and within that context I came to appreciate Vin Diesel’s character, Riddick. My appreciation for Riddick is exactly the same as my appreciation for Demi Moore in G.I. Jane. Not a great movie, but a well played and executed character in a limited world.
This new movie carries on the Riddick franchise, but it makes up a crazy-ass mystical world where all the aliens are humanoid, Gods and Devils stride the cosmic stage, and none of the pseudo-science will survive even a passing glance. The character who fit so well in the tiny world of Pitch Black (against a limited backdrop of weak kneed humans and vicious reptilian aliens) gets lost in the cities and planetscapes. The physics also drove me nuts. Either interstellar journeys require cryo-sleep or they do not. Please adjust story timelines accordingly. Either the bad guy has superpowers rendering him physically unbeatable, or he doesn’t. There was a vague hint at some sort of order-maintaining behind-the-scenes matriarchy managing an ongoing power struggle between two warring powers…but then it turned out to just be an opportunity for more cleavage to be flexed at.
I mean, sure, he’s still the gravel voiced beefcake that the ladies (and some of the men) wanted to see again. He delivers physical intimidation and cornball lines just like in the first movie. The problem is that the first movie provided a very small stage on which this interesting but limited caricature of man could show off…this movie dwarfs him.
The effects, rocked and the fight scenes were good though. Don’t mean to belittle that.