Published Mar 01, 2000Pitch Black is yet another in the never-ending line of Alien inspired sci-fi movies, but unlike more recent stabs at the formula (Deep Blue Sea, Virus), Pitch Black is actually a good movie with a few twists and some of the same tired cliches. A spaceship is forced to crash land on a desolate desert planet after being struck by a meteor shower. (Where would this genre be without an "act of god" to get the ball rolling?) Among the survivors are a mass murderer (Vin Diesel), the bounty hunter who caught him (Cole Hauser), the easy-on-the-eyes pilot/captain (Radha Mitchell) and a few other assorted stragglers, but only the first three show any sort of character development. The rest are simply monster chow. Especially engaging is Vin Diesel (also in this month's Boiler Room) in his Hannibal Lecter-meets-Schwarzenegger action hero role. The three-sunned planet seems safe from creatures harmed by light, until a convenient every-couple-of-decades eclipse comes along and out from the planet's core come the creatures. The biggest flaw with Pitch Black, besides Diesel's character being significantly scarier than the monsters, is a complete lack of climax. The movie builds and builds and builds, yet the ending leaves you with a distinctly empty feeling. Sure the final battle scene may by one of the biggest cliches of the genre, but for a reason. Pitch Black would have been better if they'd stolen just one more idea.