THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK (2004)

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Director: David Twohy
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 119 min.

When bounty hunters come searching for the fugitive criminal Riddick on a remote, frozen wasteland of a planet, they severely underestimate their opponent.  Before they even know what happened to them, Riddick has taken their ship and is heading back to the planet that raised the bounty on their head.  There, he discovers that a friend from his past needs his help in saving his world and all worlds from a vicious alien cult that is destroying civilizations throughout the universe.  Riddick is unable to save his friend or his world, but learns that he may be the key to stopping the cult.  He also learns that the young girl he once rescued and used to travel with (Jack) is incarcerated in the worst prison in the galaxy.   And for Riddick, the choice between saving the universe from evil and saving Jack is an easy one.  Jack is his responsibility.  The universe can fend for itself.

If you like sci-fi action and don’t care at all about character development or thematic nuances, then this movie is pretty entertaining.  I kind of feel the same way about this movie as I did about Taken (2008)The hero said he was going to go in there, kick everyone’s ass, and get the girl out . . . and then he did.  The only difference here is an overarching sci-fi good vs. evil theme that is intriguing, but underdeveloped.  It is nice to see a hero-leading lady relationship in an action movie that is more of a brother-sister thing than a romance, reminiscent of Firefly’s Simon and River.  But otherwise, nothing stands out as noteworthy.  Basically, if you want to watch Vin Diesel kill a bunch of people in space and speak in (often amusing) one and two word sentences, this is the movie for you.  The third in the Riddick series just came out September 2013.

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