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February 25 - March 3, 2000

[Movie Reviews]

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Pitch Black

by Tom Meek

If you synthesized the key plot elements from Dune and Aliens, you'd get something roughly resembling Starship Troopers. If you did the same ineptly, you'd get this latest sci-fi thriller from writer/director David N. Twohy (The Arrival, Waterworld).

Vin Diesel, the shark with a heart of gold in Boiler Room, plays a similar character in an equally harsh environment -- Riddick, a sociopath imprisoned on a spaceship until it crashes on a barren planet. After some cops-and-robbers shenanigans, he turns out to be not such a bad guy, and he bonds with the crew and other survivors just in time to be main course for a horde of flesh-craving creatures. The good news is, the dino-bat beasties can't stand sunlight and the planet's three suns maintain eternal day. The bad news is that the crash takes place on the eve of a once-in-a-blue-moon eclipse -- thus the film's enlightened title. The alien and space-flight FX are impressive, and Diesel and fly girl Radha Mitchell (High Art) are likable, but the cheap cinematography and a story line that's been pitched too many times already signals a career in eclipse.

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