Prayer Focus
Movie Review

The Chronicles of Riddick also known as “Pitch Black 2”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violent action and some language

Reviewed by: Vicki Ross
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Sci-Fi Action Adventure Thriller
Length:
1 hr 59 min.
Year of Release:
2004
USA Release:
June 11, 2004 (wide)
Featuring: Vin Diesel, Ja Rule, Keith David, Thandie Newton, Karl Urban
Director: David Twohy
Producer: Vin Diesel, Tom Engelman, Scott Kroopf
Distributor: Universal
Copyright, Universal
Copyright, Universal
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Relevant Issues
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Faith

Aliens (extraterrestrials)

What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer

Are we alone in the universe? Answer

Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer

Films in this series: “Pitch Black” (2000), “The Chronicles of Riddick” (2004), “Riddick” (2013)

T he story opens as Riddick (Vin Diesel), five years after getting off of the desert planet in Pitch Black, is being chased by a group of mercenaries. The group’s intention is to return Riddick to Helion Prime, where his ability to escape certain death will be used to combat the Necromongers—a race of people dedicated (through “mind regression”) to their Lord Marshal (Colm Feore), a “Holy Half-Dead,” who is quite a powerful being. The Necromongers refer to the Underverse, which is appropriately named, as the Necromongers are quite an evil race, converting people or killing them in the name of their “faith.”

Action and intrigue ensue as Riddick attends to personal business (finding “Jack”) while doing his best to avoid being captured. Power-hungry Dame Vaako and her husband, Lord Vaako, play a big role in this movie as they work to determine Riddick’s importance to Lord Marshal.

This film contains some profanity (mostly s**t, also a**, 1-2 f-words), and the name of the Lord is used in vain a few times. The film contains moderate to heavy violence and a couple of gruesome deaths (showing that too much sun can indeed kill you). The violence isn’t bloody. The film contains no sex/nudity, only a few innuendos and several women dressed in snug-fitting clothes.

The camera work in this film during the fight scenes makes it quite difficult to actually see what is happening. The special effects are quite good; the acting is average. Thandie Newton is not very convincing in her role as Dame Vaako. Karl Urban has such presence in his role as Lord Vaako.

The film contains a good reference to life after death and a reference to faith: Per the Holy Man: “There will be an afterlife for me; what will there be for you?”

The only way to eternal life is through Jesus Christ: “And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth” [John 17:3, NLT]

On the subject of faith, a Helion Prime man refuses to trade his faith (Lord Marshal says “Convert or Die”) and dies for it. “Remain faithful, even when facing death” [Rev 2:10]

In summary, this is an entertaining action flick with a good story line. It is much better than its predecessor Pitch Black.

Violence: Moderate /Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: None

Read our review of Pitch Black 1

Viewer Comments
Neutral—This movie was good at what it was intended to be: A pointless, plotless, fun, action flick. The most offensive thing in the movie is not the violence itself, but rather the attitude in the movie toward violence. At one point in the movie killing the most of the enemy is made into a “game.” And although this fuels the excitement as you sit back and watch the arrogant protagonists take on their foes, the apathy towards killing portrayed is definitely a negative side to movie. Besides that aspect, the movie is very exiting, full of intense action scenes, and delivers well for its genre. It’s enjoyable if you like plotless action movies. The lack of sex was also a plus.
My Ratings: [Average/3½]
—Jonathan Ingram, age 19
Neutral—Riddick was another Summer Blockbuster that never delivered. The plot was acceptable, although not particularly engrossing. The acting was OK, although there was no real depth to it. There were plenty of scenes of harsh landscapes, surreal space cities, and marching iron-clad troops. There was a good deal of action, but very little violence or real martial arts—just lots of computer-generated fighting. There was some swearing (I’ve seen films rated R for language only with less swearing in them), and no sex. Overall, the film never brought together the good elements to get the excitement going, not to mention that the plot, characters, and action had a very flat 2d feel to it. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this film except to those who have to see every sci-fi flick that comes out, or are huge Vin Diesel fans.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/3½]
—Nathan Gundlach, age 19
Neutral—I went and saw this movie last night, not having seen “Pitch Black” all the way through, it was fairly decent. It did have some language and a lot of fighting scenes. I would not recommend children going to see this movie, but if your into that sci-fi movie then it was a pretty good movie. And Ven Diesel was hilarious.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/3]
—Rachelle, age 20
Positive—I saw this movie last night and it rocked. The way the movie start to finish is good. Vin Diesel is excellent in this movie he really plays his role of Riddick again very well. I like that in this movie they go to different planets they are not stuck on the one planet although for the first movie that was ok it was the story line. They didn’t do as many shots of Riddicks point of view through his eyes but other then that it was a good movie. The fight scenes are excellent and the special effects are just awesome…

There are a ton less bad words in this movie compared to the first movie there still are some s*** words and a few others but not near compared to the first movie. This movie keep you interested until the end it doesn’t let you down half way through. Now I would not take a young kid to see this movie because there are some visual effects that could scare a kid such as when the sun on the one planet gets so hot it melts and burns everything it comes in contact with including people… also some scenes were the lord of the negromungers comes out of his body because he is half dead and that might be scary but for teenagers and above its cool. There is no sex scene no nude scenes or anything of the sort… this is just a good action flick that has some great shots and camera work in it. The special effects are just really good they make the movie very believable from the super fast sun rise to the space ships and just overall the movie has a great movie quality…
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4½]
—Jason, age 28
Negative—Has anyone tried to figure out the symbolism of this movie. The crusaders (Necromongers) are an evil force who travel the universe to convert or kill every man. They resemble knights from the crusades but with a hellish twist. Their architecture looks like Satan did a makeover to a Cathedral. Their leader “the Lord Marshal” has seen the underverse and is a “Holy half dead.” Is he a twisted Christ figure trying to convert the world and force them to his authority or is he the beast and is this Satan’s unholy Christ? Is he meant to be both? The good men of faith believe that men have all kinds of faiths and that is good. The holy man that Riddick has a weird affection for resembles a Muslim and lives in New Mecca. These men of diverse faiths (even though they resemble middle eastern faiths) are willing to use the most defiant man and his anger to reach their goal and this is okay. Riddick is a (Fury on) so is this movie saying that the Fury of man can stop Heaven and or Hell?

When the Lord Marshal tries to take Riddick’s soul, he can’t because of Riddick’s will. He would not bow or yield to the Lord Marshal. Was he defying Jesus or Satan or does this movie underhandedly say that those names are synonymous?

I saw some confusing symbolism in this film and I get two messages from it personally. First—Riddick is so bad that he overthrew the devil himself. Or Second—Christians are a legion of evil men and women who say that there is only one way to live, and such view is evil. Our views are wicked and we’re powerful bullies. We serve Christ who is actually a devil leading us to a numb and hellish existence. The only way to stop Christ is through will power and man has the ability to defy Christ and not bow to his authority. Overall, I am asking does this movie say that Christians are bad?
My Ratings: [Average/3]
—Brian Ellison, age 24
Positive—The above comment are the first I’ve seen from ANY reviewer, professional or amatuer, who is even close to understanding this film. The allegory plunges deeply into Christian History from first opening shot of a three-faced statue clearly representing the Christian Trinity, to the armour-clad Nevromongers taking over a Muslim city.

The Chronicles of Riddick is a sci-fi retelling of the Catholic Church’s Crusades against the Muslims during the middle ages. Clearly, the director is offering plenty of criticism of the Catholic church: the dogmatic authority of the pope (represented by the Lord Marshall), the misguided militantism of conversion. In Riddick, we see Christianity through the eyes of its enemies.

But what about Riddick himself? As I watched his character unfold, I realized that htis movie was not about CONDEMNING Christianity, but REFORMING it. Riddick is a highly structured Christ figure in the vein of Neo (from the Matrix). He has been prophesied to restore the balance of evil and good (and is himself portrayed as “evil”). tons of Biblical imagery are assigned to Riddick: from the Old Testament, we see Riddick lead exiles out of captivity (a la Moses), we see him survive in a den of alien lions (a la Daniel), he has survived a slaughter of the innocents as an infant (a la Moses and Christ). The final scenes show Riddick assuming his Messianic Role: he “dies” and returns to the living. He descends into Hell (a burning planet called Crematoria), he fights and defeats the Lord Marshall (the pope) and assumes the throne of leadership (Christ is the true head of the Church). Strangely, the movie ends there and does not explain whether Riddick reforms the Necromonger religion (as Martin Luther did) or whether he abolishes it and replaces it ith something else (as Christ did with Judaism). One thing is certain, though. This is no ordinary action movie. Watch it again! I’m NOT making this stuff up!
My Ratings: [Good/4]
—Greg Hartley, age 30
Positive—[Non-Christian] I agree with Greg here. This film can be seen on two levels, much like Star Wars, the previously mentioned Matrix, Star Trek or the Lord of the Rings (though I do not think that it is cinematically on a par with those films); either as a “dumb” action flick, or as a highly symbolic portrayal of the dark side of Christian ambition; the name of the faith based on the teachings of Yeshua bin Iosef turned horribly inside out, twisted and burnt by people who are terribly narrow-minded and only want personal power. A good example of this can be seen in the machinations of Lord Vaal; he wants the position of Grand Marshall, not because of his faith, but because of his desire for power. It is the power he wants, not the honor or the responsibility. The only central character who I saw as being basically wasted was Jack. She wasn’t really necessary for most of the story. It seemed as if the writers were trying to create a Simon Peter/Doubting Thomas character, but they didn’t flesh her out enough.

In the end, she only really served the purpose of a dead muse. Even as such, she does fill an archetypal role, like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White; the dead (or at least comatose) female body which, by dying, ceases to be a person and becomes an image of a cause. See the book “Over Her Dead Body” for more on that… One thing which I did like about her is that she defies the typical love interest role. I expected her and Riddick to be portrayed as lovers; it was actually quite refreshing to see them more as little sister/big brother, with her being basically one of the guys. Overall, I liked the film. It was wonderfully atmospheric. The only bit (except for the rather shallow character development) that I did not like was the statement that something bad needed something worse to take it out. Darkness is balanced by light, not darker darkness. That said, I don’t think that Riddick is all bad. Through the coarse of the film, he learns to care for other people, even to the point of putting himself in serious danger to save them. Methinks that there is a sequel in the works, since this film ended on such a cliffhanger.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4½]
—Siiri Cressey, age 27

Comments from young people
Neutral—This movie was TERRIBLE! It was the most boring movie! I will be fair by saying it did not abolish God in any way, but it truly is a waste of time. Always try and fill your minds with things that glorify God.
My Ratings: [Good/1]
—Kara T., age 16
Positive—I watched this movie the day it came in theatres with my brother. Both of us absolutely loves the movie. There are a few cuss words in the movie, thus the rating of PG-13. I think that this is a very good movie for people (13 or older) who enjoy action movies. This, like many other movies, can be used to strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ. Yes, there are also ways to turn the script into another religion, but many things in the movie, such as the Holy Man and the defeat over evil, reminded me that God will prevail in the end.
My Ratings: [Average/4]
—Gina, age 17
Neutral—One should look at this movie as it is, and not as what it could be. The main character, Riddick, is an antihero, and one that has few cares beyond that of himself and the girl known as Jack/Kyra. The film itself is simply an action movie, and nothing more. Personally, I enjoyed it for being just that, an action movie. The violence is fast-paced and isn’t wanton or gratuitous. Riddick, of course, kills several dozens of people with knives and other various weapons, as does Kyra, along with many of the Necromongers. The profanity was appropriate to the tone of the film, and was not excessive by any means. Overall, it is a fine, exhilarating action film, but it isn’t for children.
My Ratings: [Average/3]
—Matt Shaw, age 17
Positive—All in all I enjoyed this film; it had some great special effects, a good story, and awesome action sequences. It did have some objectionable content in it though, including language, but just ignore it, you hear it everyday and to expect movies not to have language is unrealistic. Their was some violence, but in the end it can be justified due to circumstances the characters are in.

I don’t believe I cold give a recommended age for the movie due to the fact that I’m a teenager and it should be left to the parent to decide whether or not their child is mature enough to handle a certain movie based upon the knowledge they’ve accumulated… The main character Riddick may be somewhat of an anti-hero, but his good morals outweigh the bad, basically he is a good person that risks his life for others, but hides himself behind a mask of toughness, if that makes sense, because for some reason he does not fully trust people. Again this was a good movie and I recommend it to those who just like plain old good movies.
My Ratings: [Average/4]
—Andrew, age 15
Positive—This was a true action adventure film …for almost all ages. I recommend this film to any one able to see it. Two thumbs way up!!
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Lee Davidson, age 15
Positive—I liked this movie it was great. Yes, it had bad words in it, but that is nothing new. I don’t recommend this movie for anyone under the age of 13. It was good and it had a story too it. It wasn’t slow and moved right along. Overall it was a good action/ thriller movie.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/5]
—Shayla, age 16
Movie Critics
…this movie is a toned down, less intelligent version of THE MATRIX…
—Dr. Ted Baehr, Movie Guide
…One use of the f-word and about 10 of the s-word. Jesus’ name is improperly used twice, and there are a few milder profanities such as “h--,” “a--” and “d—n.
—Tom Neven, Plugged In
…although The Chronicles of Riddick offers its share of solidly entertaining moments, it doesn’t hold together as a single, coherent motion picture experience…
—James Berardinelli, Reel Views