The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury (2004) — A tasty techno morsel

“The number of lives ended at the hands of those living and breathing in this room is incalculable.”

Justin’s rating: Shine on, my bald friend

Justin’s review: In the pantheon of scifi movie franchises, Riddick stands out in so many ways. The unexpected success of 2000’s Pitch Black (and lead actor Vin Diesel’s rise to fame) turned a single movie into a full-blown franchise that included two video games (Escape from Butcher Bay and Assault on Dark Athena) and two sequels (Chronicles of Riddick and Riddick). Some of these were successes, others failures, but Vin Diesel’s passion for the project kept it going far longer than it might have otherwise.

We can also add one more entry into the Riddick universe: a short animated movie that served as a bridge between the first and second movies. The film, Dark Fury, weirdly became the most critically acclaimed follow-up to Pitch Black, and in the interest of series completion, I wanted to check it out for myself.

Shortly after the escape from the desert planet of the first film, Riddick and the other survivors are towed into a big starship and set upon by mercenaries. They’re employed by a collector of the greatest criminals and murderers of the galaxy, a Matrix-looking dude who wishes to add our antihero to his room full of action figures.

Of course, Riddick ain’t having that, so what follows is a pretty brutal (and stylish) fight through the corridors of this hostile ship and a gladiator pit stocked with alien beings. He’s not only got the odds stacked against him but a bomb implanted in his body and two compatriots to rescue.

With the short runtime, there’s not really much space for a great amount of storytelling or world building. Still, it’s a good as a Die Hard-in-a-spaceship romp as you might wish to see, with Riddick defying everyone’s expectations by taking out an entire army single-handed.

The animation is a mixed bag, kind of Aeon Flux mixed with “this probably came across a lot better two decades ago” CGI. I’m not the biggest fan of the visual style, but it’s serviceable enough. And hey, I appreciate that they got Vin Disel, Rhiana Griffith (“Jack”), and Keith David (“Imam”) to reprise their roles (not to mention that the original Pitch Black writers penned this script as well). It gave the latter two characters a bit of closure to their stories and explained why they didn’t show up in the movie sequel.

If you’re a fan of the Riddick movies, seeing Dark Fury is a no-brainer. It’s a zippy short story that could have, in all honesty, be turned into a pretty good scifi cartoon series (albeit a bloody one).


  • The CGI bits are not nearly as good as the animated ones
  • The really neat shot of the boarding party walking on all sides of a tunnel
  • The blood in the extinguishing foam
  • “I ain’t putting that back on.”
  • “Awfully uncivilized what you just did, Jack.”

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