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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Visually stunning and a great film
A spacecraft carrying an assortment of passengers including Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel), a dangerous, murderer between prisons, is forced to make a crash landing on a deserted, triple-sunned planet after the craft suffers severe damage during a meteor shower. The ship is ripped into pieces, killing several crew members and leaving officer Fry (Radha Mitchell) in...
Published on 22 July 2009 by Dr Evil

versus
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Riddick's enjoyable first outing
Set in the future, David Twohy's 'Pitch Black' tells the story of a handful of space travellers struggling to survive when their ship is forced to crash land on a distant planet. The group all have different reasons for being on the space craft, the main character being the supposedly ruthless murderer Riddick (Vin Diesel - Saving Private Ryan, The Fast and the...
Published on 3 Feb. 2005 by dantesmum


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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Visually stunning and a great film, 22 July 2009
By 
Dr Evil (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
A spacecraft carrying an assortment of passengers including Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel), a dangerous, murderer between prisons, is forced to make a crash landing on a deserted, triple-sunned planet after the craft suffers severe damage during a meteor shower. The ship is ripped into pieces, killing several crew members and leaving officer Fry (Radha Mitchell) in charge of the survivors. After two unfortunate deaths, the survivors discover that the only visible life form on the planet is a species of light-fearing, carnivorous, occasionally cannibalistic aliens dwelling in caverns beneath the desert surface. Using a model of the planet and its suns in an abandoned research station, Fry deduces that she and her fellow travellers have unfortunately descended on the planet on the day of its first total eclipse in 22 years, giving them mere hours before they are bathed in total darkness. Only then is it safe for the hungry subterranean creatures to emerge, seeking to feed on the remaining survivors. However, the dangerous Riddick, through black market injections received in lock-up, is able to see in darkness- causing the surviving crew members to reluctantly remain dependent on the potentially harmful criminal. As the survivors are killed one by one by the hungry creatures, they realise that Riddick may be their only hope.

When this film first came out, it was a bit of a cult hit that was sort of ignored as far as publicity and advertising went but I loved it all the same. Then came along its sequel, THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK, which gave this film a boost into the spotlight and is now considered a sci-fi/action classic. Watching it now on Blu Ray, some nine years later from when I originally watched it, I still can't believe how good this film is! It has everything you could want from this type of movie - brutal, hard-hitting action, fast-paced and nail-biting suspense, one of the best anti-heroes of all time and an excellent storyline. The special effects are great - the creatures that the characters are up against are genuinely creepy, the opening scene with the ship crashing is incredible and very intense, the planet feels extremely lonely and desolate and the impressive visual effects are so good (sometimes the film appears near-enough black and white because of the lighting from the planet's three suns). The acting from the whole cast is great too - this is one of the first films (along with The Fast and The Furious) that made Vin Diesel become one of the biggest names in Hollywood today.

The picture and sound quality is some of the clearest and best I have seen yet on Blu Ray so I highly recommend watching it on this format.

FILM - 4/5
PICTURE - 5/5
SOUND - 5/5
OVERALL - 4/5
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Riddickulously Entertaining, 6 Sept. 2004
This review is from: Pitch Black [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
All I had to go on regarding the quality of this film prior to buying the DVD was word of mouth. The opinions I'd been party to were mixed to say the least.
So, imagine my delght when I bought this item, partly to catch up on the story and nature of Vin Diesel's main character, before going to watch the follow up, 'The Chronicles of Riddick'.
Not only is 'Pitch Black' incredibly stylish and aesthetically pleasing - just watch the incredible range of lighting effects - but the characters are charmingly intruiging, if largely archetypal for this type of movie. Yes, it relies heavily on its predecessors, but try making a 'humans stranded on an unknown planet and encountering carnivorous aliens' film that doesn't. The plot roles along nicely, and although it was never going to win any Academy Awards, is juxtaposed nicely with just the right amount of tension and action. Add into that mix a well above average muscle-bound anti-hero portayal from Diesel and you've got a very good movie, especially for the price.
There aren't many extras on this early DVD release - but if you want those you can splash a few extra quid on the Special Edition - but if you're looking for a B Movie type sci-fi horror that breaks the mould in terms of sophistication and performances you need look no further.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pitch Perfect !, 24 Jan. 2014
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Having just bought the most recent film in the trilogy (simply called Riddick) I felt it was long overdue to upgrade the rest of the films in this franchise to Blu-ray.
I remember getting Pitch Black on US import DVD about 5 weeks before it was due out at the cinema here in the UK (almost a year before the UK DVD release) due to a February cinematic release in the US compared to an October release here , and it was a directors cut no less , but sadly , those days of getting movies weeks before their actual UK cinema release are long gone , as nearly all movies on DVD/Blu-ray in the US are now released at the same time (give or take) as the UK , so I find there is little point buying imports anymore.

This is arguably the film that launched Vin Diesel's career and , with what I thought was an excellent sequel that followed (apparently the critics didn't liked it) , it didn't just rehash the same storyline like so many sequels do , it completely opened up the Riddick universe and was turning out to be an excellent franchise.
As for the most recent instalment in the franchise , its fair to say the story has gone back to the first film , but still enjoyable enough... I'm not a big fan of Vin Diesel movies , but I do like his Riddick franchise which he has made his own and I could quite happily sit and watch all 3 movies in one sitting , and rumour has it , he's signed up to do more.

Visually the Blu-ray transfer is excellent. The scene where Riddick is chained up after the death of Zeke , the detail on his hair (what little there is) is quite remarkable. Even the alien creatures , which looked rather flat on the original DVD , gain incredible detail.
The contrast of going from having 2 suns to all out darkness , the black levels are solid and don't suffer the jerkiness that the DVD suffered from.
The sound is in 5.1 DTS master audio and is quit impressive given the low budget of this film , and the opening crash sequence is definitely one for the sound demo-ests out there with a decent audio setup... Although the best sound demo ever that still ranks No:1 for me is , Star Wars: A New Hope and the shutting down (or whining down) of the sub-light engines on the Millennium Falcon on its approach to the destroyed planet of Alderaan... It just can't be beat !

The extras are ok , but nothing really to shout about from what you got on DVD. There is a picture-in-picture behind the scenes feature that you now get along with a couple of other additions (U-Control for e.g.) but for £7 this is excellent value and very worthy of an upgrade.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WOW...DON'T TURN OFF THE LIGHTS!, 1 Jan. 2003
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Pitch Black [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is an incredibly good movie that successfully crosses over into two genres: science fiction and horror. It does justice to both.
A passenger laden space ship crash lands on an apparently barren and arid planet orbited by three suns. One of the passengers is a viscious killer whose eyesight is such that he can see better in the dark than the others.
At first, their most serious problem appears to be how to get off the planet. It quickly becomes clear that how to stay alive in order to get off the planet is the first and foremost issue. You see, the planet is inhabited by killer creatures that shy away from light, and an eclipse is on the immediate horizon.
The viewer does not fully see the creatures throughout most of the film, just their gruesome handiwork. Less is more, and the film director capitalizes on this premise to great effect. You do not really see them fully until the very end, and they do not disappoint!
This stylish and gripping film depicts the killer as the anti-hero who ultimately squares off with the creatures from one's worst nightmares. As darkness falls, the survivors become less fearful of the anti-hero, as his unique ability to discern these carnivorous creatures in the darkness can help them survive. It is their fear of these nightmarish creatures that now becomes paramount.
Visually stunning, this film is unusual and clever. Vin Diesel gives a breakout performance as the anti-hero. It is no wonder that this film is a sleeper hit. It has the makings of a cult classic.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You aren't afraid of the dark are you?, 23 Jun. 2007
This review is from: Pitch Black [DVD] (DVD)
This punchy and slick sci-fi action horror is based around a small group of travellers who crash land on a strange uninhabited planet which, by some luck, is about to plunge itself into complete darkness which is set to last for some time. The main member of this gang and the character around which the entire film is based is a notoriously violent and ruthless killer called Riddick. As he can see in the dark and is known for his dramatic escapism the team decide to use him to help get them off the planet alive.

The rest of the film is spent watching the members of this plucky little group get picked off one by one. All of the characters face emotional difficulty and have to use all of their strength and wit to survive.

Vin Diesel plays a very convincing hard faced super cool killer who risks his own life to help save others. The other characters have their own individual charm and personality which really help to give this film some substance and make it seem very realistic.

The format however is pretty much predictable and you can have a good guess at who will be killed next, but the characters are played so well and the spooky and demanding world is brought to life in such a magical way that you cant help but enjoy every minute. Well worth a look if action and aliens are your thing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Are You Afraid Of The Dark?, 5 April 2015
By 
Timelord-007 (The Eccentric Wanderer) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Pitch Black: Reel Heroes Sleeve Edition (DVD).

Product Info.
Format: PAL
Language: English
Subtitles: English, German, Dutch
Region: 2
Number of discs: 1
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Classification: 15
Studio: Universal Pictures UK
Running Time: 104 minutes

Special Features.
Feature Commentary with Director David Twohy and actors Vin Diesel & Cole Hauser
Feature Commentary with Director David Twohy, Producer Tom Engelman & Visual Effects Supervisor Peter Chiang
The making of Pitch Black
Production Notes
Webcast/Rave Footage

Cast.
Vin Diesel as Richard B. Riddick
Radha Mitchell as Carolyn Fry
Cole Hauser as William J. Johns
Keith David as Abu 'Imam' al-Walid
Lewis Fitz-Gerald as Paris P. Ogilvie
Claudia Black as Sharon 'Shazza' Montgomery
Rhiana Griffith as Jack/Kira.
John Moore as John 'Zeke' Ezekiel
Simon Burke as Greg Owens
Les Chantery as Suleiman
Sam Sari as Hassan
Firass Dirani as Ali
Ric Anderson as Total Stranger
Vic Wilson as Captain Tom Mitchell
Angela Moore as Dead Crew Member

Box Office.
Budget: $23 million
Gross: $53.1 million

Trivia.
1)The character of Riddick was a woman in an early rough draft of the script.
2)It was Cole Hauser's idea for Johns to shoot up the drugs into his eye.
3)Desert scenes filmed in the same location used for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
4)Had a 60 days shooting schedule.
5)The original ending had Riddick being killed by one of the creatures instead of Carolyn, this was changed to allow sequel possibilities since Universal didn't believe the Carolyn character would be as popular as the Riddick character.
6)Claudia Black would go on to star in the science fiction television shows "Farscape" & "Stargate: SG1".

What's The Story.
When their ship crash-lands on a remote planet, the marooned passengers soon learn that escaped convict Riddick isn’t the only thing they have to fear as deadly creatures lurk in the shadows, waiting to attack in the dark & the planet is rapidly plunging into the utter blackness of a total eclipse.

With the body count rising, the survivors are forced to turn to Riddick and his eerie eyes to guide them through the darkness to safety, with time running out, there’s only one rule: stay in the light.

Timelord Thoughts.
Pitch Black is a unique sci-fi movie were the hero is actually the films main villain as David Twohy clever script & well written characters along with his flare for tightly paced direction spins a new take on the sci-fi alien genre.

The plot sees a group of crashed survivors soon discover that every 22 years the planets line up in a solar eclipse turns the entire planet they've recently crashed on pitch black which will unleashe hoards of nocturnal parasitic aliens that thrive on darkness to the surface of the planet.

The supporting characters consists of a boy named Jack who's harbouring a secret; Caroline Fry, a pilot struggling with her moral conscience; Johns, a bounty- hunter with a addictive drug-habit who literally hates Riddick & Imam, a holy man along with his three children who starts to question his belief in God.

However the real star of this movie is Richard B.Riddick a bad ass convict & mass murderer who is creepy, dangerous, unpredictable & not someone you'd want to pick a fight with as he'd kill you without any remorse & yet somehow actor Vin Diesel adds a charismatic charm & likeability to this character which makes the audience easily warm to his enigmatic bad ass anti-hero.

Actress Radha Mitchell gives a solid believable performance as Fry & tries to hold the group together while actor Cole Hauser adds a smugness as Johns who is a completely unlikable character despite writer/director David Twohy sleight of hand at fooling the audience into believing his character will be the hero in this movie.

Made for a modest $23 million dollars, Pitch Black is a great action packed sci-fi movie & features some genuinely creepy scares as darkness falls upon the planet & the creatures soon begin to prey upon the survivors all adds great scenes of tense drama thanks to Twohys clever pacing by introducing the characters first actually let's the audience get to know each survivor of the group & then the movie starts killng them off in some brilliantly staged gory creature attacks that are truly menacing & terrifying sequences at times to watch.

The alien creatures were designed by Patrick Tatopoulos which look realistic & quite grotesque & thanks to some clever lighting techniques inside the caves adds a great suspenseful atmosphere to this movie.

The only quibble i had was the slightly sluggish start of the movie but this is only a minor inconvenience as the film soon picks up the pace & delivers plenty of gore, jump scares & a iconic anti-hero in Riddick thanks in part to Vin Diesel's understated performance in the title role.

Overall Pitch Black is a very entertaining sci-fi movie that deserves the tag - cult classic action movie.

Timelord Rating.
8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twohy's Original Touches Make This Movie Shine, 14 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Pitch Black [DVD] (DVD)
"Pitch Black" is an almost perfect little SF chiller.

It's based upon the classic format - a group of people go somewhere strange and find themselves contending with an obscure menace. It's a fable staple, especially in science fiction. Here, it's another spaceship and another decidedly Forbidden Planet.

So far, so predictable. However, director David Twohy deserves full credit for finding lots of novel little twists which I haven't seen before. For example, whilst in space, music has a typical orchestral `wonder' theme with hints of choral overlay, whereas on the planet's barren surface, the riff assumes a simple bony percussion that seems almost aboriginal. Another sly trick entails the use of light. The planet has three suns of different colour, and filters are used to unusual effect in emphasising solar perspectives. But the real plus point - I believe - is the excellent mix of characters. Vin Diesel is the obvious star as the homicidal criminal - Riddick - enjoying unexpected parole. But Cole Hauser - the "blue-eyed devil" makes an excellent protagonist as scarcely-legal private cop, Johns, determined to claim his bounty. Meanwhile, Radha Mitchell plays dubious anti-hero, "Fry", along with Keith David & Lewis Fitzgerald. I particularly enjoy the snide but pragmatic antiquarian, Paris P Oglivy, constantly looking-out for number one - "It's amazing how many essentials you can do without as long as you have a few luxuries". That's just one smart line of many from a script that nicely suits each individual. They're all sympathetically portrayed, even the seemingly malignant Riddick, and I'm induced to care about them all.

Big toothy monsters snapping people up have become old hat since the "Aliens" franchise, and Twohy doesn't dwell so much on the bloody aspect of encounters, preferring to emphasise the simmering tensions between group members and their own personal strengths and fears. Though when the beasties do appear, they do so in spectacular and - again, original - style.

But special effect cherry on the cake is an eclipse. This sequence develops in wonderful detail, as a huge otherwise unseen planet begins to lift above the shimmering desert horizon, rapidly obscuring the sky. The world has two contra-rotating rings, and as it continues to rise, these partially obscure the two remaining suns. The rings are of dense material and semi opaque, so as the suns dip behind them, light begins to diminish in abrupt stages. Our desperate heroes are faced with a race against time to complete their means of survival before the world becomes Pitch Black. From first sight to night; Twohy executes this take to perfection, literally hammering-up the tension with his percussion riff, augmented by orchestral drama cords, each choreographed to the failing light. Finally, the planet itself completes the transition into darkness.

Run time is quoted as just a B-movie length 104 minutes, Viewer rating is "15". Aspect ratio is given as 2.35:1. There's a number of extras I haven't yet watched.

On matters of plot, character acting, and technical details, I find no fault with this work. It may not be the best SF beastie thriller in the business, but Twohy's original touches make it shine.

Very Highly Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They say most of your brain shuts down during cryo-sleep. All but the primitive side, the animal side. No wonder I'm still awake, 30 Jun. 2011
By 
Crookedmouth ":-/" (As seen on iPlayer) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pitch Black [DVD] (DVD)
This science fiction film directed by David Twohy (The Fugitive) back in 2000 revolves around a small group of colonists who's spaceship crashes on a hostile desert planet. They discover that a freak conjunction of the three sun system and the planet's moons and neighbouring planets is about to plunge the the place into a long period of extreme darkness. Of course, this is the perfect cue for the local wildlife to make an appearance. Hint: they're not fluffy and cute.

This was Vin Diesel's first leading role in which he plays a hardened criminal on whom the colonists must eventually come to rely - but can they trust him? Diesel steals his scenes as a chap you would certainly not want to invite home to meet your nan and, with hindsight, it's clear that he's using the character to carve (literally) out a role as a move hard-man - a new Bruce Willis, if you will. Witness the scene where he shaves with a makeshift stilletto and axle grease. No, he doesn't splash on the Old Spice afterwards, either.

As for his supporting cast, the acting is fine if a little non-descript. Radha Mitchell is rather good as the fragile spaceship pilot with a skeleton in her cupboard and there are some useful performances from Cole Hauser (as a bounty hunter) and Keith David (a wandering Immam). Apart from that, the sparse remaining cast tend to fade into the background, but that is fine. They're there largely to give the monsters something to eat (ooh! was that a spoiler?).

The visualisation is particularly good, I think, capturing the blistering hellscape of the desert and the monsters-on-all-sides terror of the night. The opening crash sequence is also pretty good and I think it's not overdoing it to suggest that it comes close to the epic crash scene from Alive (indeed I wouldn't be surprised if Twohy used that as a template). As for the special effects, well, any sci-fi movie has to accept that CGI will play a large part in the production. Some get it wrong and rely on it as a sort of substitute for plot or acting and some get it right and use it to /support/ the story. I think that PB got it right in this respect - the CGI is cooked just about to perfection and because it isn't front and centre it still looks pretty good despite the age of the film.

The plot is admittedly a little pedestrian, but it moves along nicely enough in a linear sort of way from crash, to trek across the desert, to alien encounter, to escape(?). You do need to squint a bit to ignore some rather irritating deus ex machinas and the usual stalk and slash action movie cliches rear their heads - can the leader be trusted? who will survive and who will die horribly? In general though I found nothing to be particularly outraged by and what we have is a well executed action adventure film in the Alien/Flight Of The Phoenix/Ice Cold In Alex vein.

All told, this is well worth a watch. It was rather overlooked when it first came out but developed a cult following and certainly deserves to figure on any list of good sci-fi films.

I should point out that Diesel went on to produce a hugely inferior (in my opinion, but others disagree) follow-up (The Chronicles of Riddick). My theory is that he liked his PB character so much that he took it way too seriously, but that's another story.

Johns: How's it look?
Riddick: Looks clear.
[Johns looks out and is buzzed by a flying monster]
Johns: You said it was clear!
Riddick: I said it /looked/ clear.
Johns: Well, how does it look now?
Riddick: Looks clear...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They come in the night, 18 Mar. 2010
By 
EA Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Pitch Black [DVD] (DVD)
Imagine the legendary "Flight of the Phoenix," except the crash is on a barren alien planet... and there are nasty flesh-eating monsters. And a serial killer.

That describes David Twohy's most artistically adept movie, the raw and dusty "Pitch Black. This cult movie starts off as your average gang of embattled, ill-matched castaways struggling to survive, but it that becomes utterly brilliant as it slowly slips from gritty sci-fi to harrowing, claustrophobic horror. And yes, even Vin Diesel gives an awesome performance in this one.

After a meteor storm, a sleeper transport crashes on a desolate desert planet. Most of the passengers survive, including a stowaway kid and a dangerous prisoner, Riddick (Vin Diesel). Unfortunately, it turns out that the entire planet is a desert because it's blasted by three suns all throughout the day, and the survivors have little food, water or shelter. Oh yeah, and Riddick has broken out.

To find the necessities, a small group led by Carolyn Fry Radha Mitchell) sets out across the desert -- and discovers a swarm of vicious omnivorous creatures in a cave. Fortunately they can't come out into the light. But when the group finds a geological survey station, they learn that a monthlong eclipse is about to fall over the planet -- meaning the creatures will soon eat them all if they don't escape from the desolate planet, and some of them aren't gonna make it.

Personally I haven't liked David Twohy's work except the 1996 sci-fi film "Arrival," but "Pitch Black" is the kind of brilliant cult movie that almost makes up for an otherwise okay-to-bad filmography. This is not a polished space opera, but a dingy, grimy, dirty sci-fi movie full of recognizably ugly technology and stained morals -- not to mention some truly grotesque deaths. And not all of them are from the winged beasties either (think chest impalement).

And Twohy gives the movie a very bleak, vaguely disturbing look -- endless chalky deserts filled with bones, grimy ships torn to pieces, empty skies, and searing pale light that makes everyone look half dead. Even the beautiful colourful expanses of space seem vaguely ominous. But the whole thing suddenly becomes jump-in-your-seat scary when the monsters attack, and start eating people as they run. The one problem? COME ON, what are the chances that they would JUST HAPPEN to arrive for the once-in-two-decades eclipse?

And the feeling of suspense is heightened by sharp-edged, pared-down dialogue ("You're dancing on razor blades here") and a warped sense of humor -- we're assured that "No similarity to actual persons or predators, living or dead, is intended or should be inferred." Nice.

The characters are a pretty mixed bag, and there's always the haunting realization that most of them would easily turn on each other to save themselves -- and in fact, the main character even does that in the first few minutes of the film. There's benevolent Muslim pilgrims, a hard-nosed bounty hunter, a prissy dude who hoards booze, and an annoying urchin of ambiguous gender. The standouts are Claudia Black as the tough Shazza, and Keith David as the kindly Abu "Imam" al-Walid.

As for the leads, Diesel gives a pretty good performance as a wisecracking killer with a distinctly creepy edge (ew, he took a hair sample) and "shine" eyes that let him see in the dark. But I was most impressed by Mitchell's Fry, as a selfish hardened leader who learns to defend other people's lives in a crunch.

"Pitch Black" is a fast, eerie, bloody little sci-fi movie with a nasty little planet full of even nastier creatures that are just waiting for dark. Definitely worth it for sci-fi buffs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW ! ..... "...Only 1 rule - Stay in the Light.", 12 July 2002
By 
I Talukdar (Bethnall Green, LONDON United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pitch Black [VHS] (VHS Tape)
What a Remarkable film....
A group of passengers travelling in an interstellar freight ship are knocked out of their shipping lane...
This is a very engaging film. Well acted by all characters (particularly Vin Diesel)...
Primarily dealing with the premise of putting 'ordinary' people in a high stress and dangerous situation where they must survive at all costs... this film does not rely on visual effects to make up for anything else... a fine cast - superb story - great script... a must see Cult Classic. In the same league as Aliens....
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Pitch Black [DVD]
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