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The Chronicles of Riddick

Utterly Riddick-ulous

If an endless stream of CGI effects and innumerable fight sequences could compensate for an inane plot, questionable acting and vapid dialogue, The Chronicles of Riddick would be worth watching. Unfortunately for this latest overblown summer blockbuster, it cannot.

Vin Diesel reprises his role of Riddick in this sequel to the underrated Pitch Black, but instead of dealing with man-eating reptiles, he now takes on the Necromongers, half-human, half-spirit entities bent on exterminating mankind as we know it. Other than his name and iridescent blue corneas though, this Riddick isn't that similar to the edgy character introduced in the original. Riddick v.2 still shows no regard for human life, but this time the filmmakers felt fit to give him a conscience and physical abilities augmented to superhuman levels.

When Riddick learns that Jack- the androgynous girl from the original who (surprise, surprise) has now transformed into a sexually provocative woman - is held captive in a maximum-security prison, he feels obligated to rescue her. Apparently, they developed a special bond in the time that lapsed between the original and the sequel. It's not his primary concern, but if he happens to save the world from the megalomaniac Necromongers in the process, that's okay too. Normally the fate of the universe is serious business, but here it's all we can do to not laugh at the costumes worn by the enemy, which look like a cross between those worn by ancient Greek gladiators and the space travelers in the woeful Lost in Space crew.

Perhaps the real victim though is Dame Judi Dench. Somehow she was extorted into playing an 'elemental', a vague spiritual being that can't predict the future but knows the odds of a particular event occurring. If Dench is ever honored in a roast, this movie will be the punch line