A Review by Jason L. King
Starring: Vin Diesel, Rahada Mitchell, Cole Hauser
Directed By: David Twhoy
Rated: Rated R for violence and language.
Movie Released: 2000
Believe it or not there was a time when Vin Diesel was cool. Some people never think that happened, but it there was an era, where Vin Diesel didn’t make “The Pacifier” or “xXx3: The Return of Xander Cage” (look it up, it’s in the works). Vin Diesel was the bad ass that every guy wanted to be and every girl wanted to be around. Now days, the only time he can kind of pull that off is by rehashing Fast and Furious films.
Aside from Boiler Room and a small role in Saving Private Ryan, Vin Diesel was little known in the acting world in 2000 until Pitch Black came along. But Diesel’s performance as Richard B. Riddick shot him to instant cult classic stardom. Riddick is the ultimate badass, the world’s most feared criminal and biggest anti-hero you may find in film. Vin Diesel makes Pitch Black a fun film.
Most critics cry a little bit inside when they say the best thing about a movie is Vin Diesel. Now the film snob in me can agree with that statement, but this is Diesel at his finest. The plot follows a prison transport ship that crash lands on a planet that is inhabited by strange blood lusting creatures that come out in the eclipse that happens every 22 years. By the luck of the shipwrecked crew, it’s been 22 years since the last eclipse the day they crash. Can they get off the planet alive? That’s where Riddick enters the picture. A life long felon who has spent his time in solitary confinement, he has the ability to see in pitch black conditions and could be their ticket to safety.
It’s been a few years since first watching the film, and I realized that Cole Hauser can’t act regardless of what film he is in. Thinking back on his career of Paparazzi, Pitch Black and Lakeview Terrace, I realized he may be a waste of space. (Note to self- never expect things from Cole Hauser). Pitch Black did not restore my faith in him. In the film he plays a whiny bounty hunter who is constantly picking a fight with Riddick. You want him to die, just to get off the screen. You may also wish for his untimely death because he can’t deliver his lines with out looking like a fool. Much like a young Ryan Phillipe or a Freddie Prinze Jr., Hauser tries to command the screen only to fail much like his comparisons.
What is great about Pitch Black is what isn’t seen is what is scariest. We do get a look at these creatures, and admittedly they look a bit cheesey. But they do tear people to shreads and pluck them out of the middle of nowhere when it is compeltely dark. It helps solidify that fear that things that go bump in the night really are stalking you.
Mixing horror and sci fi can be a tricky mix, and Pitch Black pulls it off very well. This isn’t Leprachaun in Space or Jason X. This is some solid sci-fi horror that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s got some great dialouge, some great characters and a fun plot. It was really a shame how they never got the Riddick franchise kick started beyond this film. If you saw the Chronicles of Riddick and hated it, give the films origins a try. You’ll have a better understanding of why Riddick really is such an entertaining character.