Pitch Black (2000) / Action-Sci Fi
MPAA Rated: R for violence, gore, and language
Running time: 109 min.
Cast: Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Keith David
Director: David Twohy
Screenplay: Kim Wheat, Ken Wheat, David Twohy
Review published February 28, 2000
A spaceship transporting a wide variety of passengers crashes on a "ghost" planet whose last inhabitants mysteriously died off over twenty years before. Surviving on the desert planet proves to be a chore, not only due to the fact that one of the crash survivors is a murderous prisoner (Diesel, Boiler Room), but there are underground dwellers that live in total darkness and feed off anything in sight. The bad news? A major eclipse is imminent.
Not the best sci-fi film by a long shot, but definitely maintains an entertainment level worthy of a modest recommendation. Although at its heart Pitch Black is derivative fare, its design and story points are so unique that it breathes life into the tired plot.
Diesel makes for an interesting villain, complex in his shadings between good and evil, and those in the supporting cast not trying to affect Indian accents lend decent performances as well. Directed by David N. Twohy (Below), whose last film was the cult film The Arrival, and making good use of a modest budget gives Pitch Black a real look of other-wordiness.
Recommended for sci-fi junkies mainly -- just keep the expectations to a minimum and you'll likely have a good time with Pitch Black.
-- Followed by The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) and Riddick (2013)
©2000 Vince Leo