Release year: 2000
Director: David Twohy
Screenwriter: Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat, David Twohy
Starring: Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Keith David, Rhiana Griffith, Claudia Black, Simon Burke
A commercial transport ship crash lands on a planet, empty, and with signs that the inhabitants left it in a hurry because of something that comes at night. Soon the survivers are forced to seek help from fellow passenger Riddick (Vin Diesel), a dangerous convict.
Pitch Black was the movie that took the relatively unknown Diesel (The Fast and the Furious, 2001) and shot him to stardom. Diesel’s Riddick gained a huge fan base and it is that character that has brought people back to see the sequels, and understandable so. Not only is he strong, intimidating and with Diesel’s signature deep voice when he does talk, not to speak of a pair of utterly cool artificial eyes that lets him see in the dark. He is only an anti hero with a sense of integrity and an ability to understand people and see things for what they are. Diesel completely takes over the part and makes it so much his own that it is impossible to ever imagine anyone else filling the part. In the beginning of the film he is much in the background, lurking and making his presence felt but it isn’t untill he is loose and in front that the movie really takes of. Mitchell (Man on Fire, 2004) delivers a strong performance as the woman in command of the group while Hauser (Olympus Has Fallen, 2013) is good as the bounty hunter, hitting just enough buttons to make you doubt wether you can trust him or like him. Like Riddick on the other hand is not difficult, helped tremendously by the fact that when the creatures to truly be feared appears, he is the group’s best bet at surviving. The movie goes from extremely bright to dark and gloomy with the bright part focusing a lot on the characters letting us get to know them while the dark half is taken over by the monsters. In the last half the darkness surrounds the survivers letting them, and us, catch only glimpses of the monsters and therebye intensifies the tension. It is an effective sci-fi action thriller with added horror elements and rich characters, particularly Riddick who by himself is enough to recommend this.
Vin Diesel actually performed the shoulder-dislocation stunt (when Riddick breaks free for the second time) for the crew, holding a chain between his hands, although he couldn’t do it with the cuffs on. The version we see is mostly him with some special effects thrown in.
Picture copyright: UIP