David Twohy's stark, stripped-down sci-fi horror picture PITCH BLACK (2004) allied intergalactic bad-ass Riddick (Vin Diesel), a stone-psycho of an escaped convict with spooky night-vision eyes, and a motley crew of human space debris against a flock of hungry monsters. Only Riddick, a Muslim cleric and Jack, a runaway girl disguised as a boy, survived. Twohy's overblown sequel pits him against the vast armies of the Necromongers, religious storm troopers hell-bent on converting or annihilating every planet in the universe. Riddick is flushed out of hiding on a barren planet in the middle of nowhere by the amoral Toombs (Nick Chinlund) and his mercenary gang of bounty hunters. Convinced he was betrayed by the pious Imam (Keith David, reprising his PITCH BLACK role), whose new home world is about to cross the Necromongers' path, Riddick learns that the mercenaries were actually sent by Aereon (Judi Dench), an ethereal alien who believes Riddick alone can stop the relentless march of the Necromongers. Though the amoral, always-looking-out-for-number-one Riddick seems a poor choice of a savior, Aereon knows something he doesn't know about himself. Riddick is a member of the Furyan race, whom the Necromongers' soul-snatching Lord Marshal (Colm Feore) systematically slaughtered in hopes of circumventing the prophesy predicting that he'll die by a Furyan hand. But before giving the hordes a much-deserved piece of his muscles, Riddick must rescue the now-grown Jack (Alexa Davalos) — who's filled out, toughened up and goes by the name of Kyra — from a hellish maximum-security prison planet where the apocalyptic sunrises burn living flesh right from the bone. Where PITCH BLACK relied on shadowy threats and sharply drawn relationships between a small group of stranded victims-to-be, Twohy's bloated space opera is an eye-popping three-ring circus of fabulously freaky costumes, over-ripe declaiming and computer-generated spectacle. There's always something to look at, but the Diesel-fueled action is clogged with backstory and the actors are forced to chew their way through the purplest dialogue since the glory days of CONAN THE BARBARIAN creator Robert E. Howard. Few are up to the task, though as the Necromongers' highly-decorative Lady MacBeth, Thandie Newton wears her creepy-cool costumes with haute couture élan, and Dench brings an understated refinement to every scene in which she appears.
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- Released: 2004
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: David Twohy's stark, stripped-down sci-fi horror picture PITCH BLACK (2004) allied intergalactic bad-ass Riddick (Vin Diesel), a stone-psycho of an escaped convict with spooky night-vision eyes, and a motley crew of human space debris against a flock of hu… (more)