Movies You Have Not Seen But Should: Pitch Black

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Mikey is lights-out for the tenth installment of “Movies You Have Not Seen But Should”!

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Pitch Black

Welcome to the tenth (wow, tenth!) installment of “Movies You Have Not Have Seen But Should”. In anticipation of the upcoming feature film Riddick (in theaters September 6), this week we will look at the film that helped to spawn now two sequels. That film is 2000 sci-fi thriller Pitch Black starring Vin Diesel.

In this film, Diesel plays the aforementioned Richard B. Riddick, a convict who is being transported along with other passengers and crew aboard the spaceship Hunter-Gratzner. Everyone is in cryo-stasis chambers asleep and the ship is on autopilot when the ship is damaged by a comet that passes through their path. The ship crash lands on a nearby planet and most of the crew and passengers are killed either by the comet or by the landing. The ones that survive include Riddick, docking pilot Carolyn Fry (played by Radha Mitchell, who has also starred in films such as Phone Booth, Silent Hill & Man on Fire), Muslim Iman Abu al-Walid (played by Keith David, well known for his roles in Crash, There’s Something About Mary, Dead Presidents among many others as well as the numerous projects that he provided narration), cop/bounty hunter William J. Johns (played by Cole Hauser, who also was known for his roles in School Ties, Good Will Hunting, and Olympus Has Fallen among others) and young Jack. The planet they are on is in seemingly perpetual daylight with and the survivors try to handle the elements along with Riddick loose. They discover an abandoned outpost and find out why the outpost is deserted…winged creatures that come out at night. In discovering this, they also find out that the planet is about to go in an eclipse. The survivors have to band together with the reluctant lesser evil Riddick in order to survive and make it off the planet.

When this film was released back in February of 2000, Diesel was still a relatively unknown actor in Hollywood. He had only been credited in 2 feature films prior to Pitch Black (interesting fact that another Vin Diesel film released on that same day as well: Boiler Room). Those films were Saving Private Ryan and the voice of the Giant in The Iron Giant. Pitch Black was Diesel’s first live action film where he was the leading actor. The film, though with little fanfare, proved to be successful. With a $23 million dollar budget, Pitch Black ended with a draw of over $53 million. Like I mentioned earlier, it has spun now two sequels, The Chronicles of Riddick, which was released in 2004 and now the 2013 film Riddick. It (along with the film The Fast and The Furious released in 2001) helped to propel Diesel into a major actor in Hollywood.

Pitch Black is available on DVD, Blu-Ray and streaming on Amazon Prime Instant. It is great sci-fi thriller. Even though it is rated R (the first film that has been featured in this series with that rating, and home version is unrated) it is not over the top with violence. If you plan on seeing the new film (which I plan on doing), it is worth going back to check out this film. If all you know Vin Diesel from is the Fast and Furious series, it would be good for you to check out this film. It’s a film that you may not have seen, but you should.

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