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Chronicles Of Riddick: Dark Fury (2004)
Director: Peter Chung

review by Debbie Moon

After the events of science fictional horror Pitch Black, escaped convict Riddick is on the run with a slightly bewildered holy man and a girl called Jack. When a massive ship picks them up, Riddick suspects he's facing mercenaries after the reward on his head. But things aren't that simple. The sadistic woman in charge has a particular fate in mind for our hero, one that involves monsters, mercenaries, and a very peculiar line in statues. It's going to take all of Riddick's cunning, and his special gift, to get everyone out alive...

Sounds great, doesn't it? And it is. Unfortunately, it's not the multi-million dollar epic The Chronicles Of Riddick, but a 33-minute animated adventure designed to bridge the gap between the two feature films. In fact, it doesn't tell you a great deal that you won't work out from the first ten minutes of The Chronicles Of Riddick, but since it's a good deal better than the movie, that doesn't really matter.

Dark Fury understands the one vital thing that Chronicles Of Riddick has forgotten: Riddick is a monster, and pitting him against mere men diminishes him. So Dark Fury provides him with a showpiece fight against glow-in-the-dark jellyfish - a lot scarier than they sound - as well as an army of mercenaries and an out of control 'bloodhound'. Vin Diesel growls and quips his way through danger in his normal agreeable fashion, the villainess camps it up gloriously, and the sterile, treacherous environment of the ship is used to great effect. Pretty much the only thing wrong with this is that it's too short to allow for much character development: we end up pretty much back where we started, but at least we had fun on the way.

DVD extras comprise two short documentaries on how the various stories fit together, with some advance peeks at The Chronicles Of Riddick, an interview with the director about working in animation, and trailers for games and the Van Helsing animated series. My advice would be watch The Chronicles Of Riddick first, marvel at its bloated pomposity - and then watch this and realise how good it could all have been.
Dark Fury

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