The Chronicles of Riddick ★★★

"You're not afraid of the dark, are you?"

The entire Riddick franchise, and Chronicles in particular, feels like the logical extension of Vin Diesel's love for Dungeons & Dragons. He's a nerd just like the rest of us, and this series gives him a perfect chance to play a pure Chaotic Good character. He loves Riddick so much that he reportedly leveraged his house to finance the latest installment, and this love makes him a wonderfully fun character to watch. It seems like he does the Fast and Furious movies to fund-raise for Riddick, and honestly that makes me love him. Anyone willing to make populist action movies in order to bankroll crummy science fiction is my kind of guy.

So I just want it to be clear that I love this man and his silly franchise when I say these movies are not good. I think Pitch Black basically works as a horror movie and I get a lot of enjoyment out of Chronicles, but the more I think about these movies the less they work. Chronicles in particular is little more than a series of set pieces strung together by the weakest of contrivances.

But listen: I'm not here to complain about The Chronicles of Riddick. I just don't want it to sound flippant when I say it's not a good movie, because that's not even the point. The point is that in spite of its quality I still feel compelled to watch it every few years. Riddick is such a fun character, and the world Chronicles creates for him is so surprisingly rich and vibrant and idiosyncratic. The story may be dumb, but it's told in such a sincere and affectionate way that I can't help but love it. And it has spaceships. And alien planets. And one-liners. And Riddick killing a prison gaurd with a tea cup. If I ought to be asking for more than that then maybe I'm just not very critical when it comes to space adventures.

Top 10: Best of Bad Sci-Fi
My Sci-Fi Canon | Spaceship!