Pitch Black

Starring: Vin Diesel
Universal Pictures
Certificate: 18
Available now

When a transport carrier crash-lands on an alien planet everyone on board is just glad to be alive. But as darkness falls, and the planets indigenous life comes to the surface. they begin to realise that death may have been the preferable option...

This movie uses every sci-fi cliché under the sun (no pun intended) and it is a credit to director David Twohy that each one fits neatly into the plot without really screaming "cliché" at the audience.

Vin Diesel plays the part of vicious convict who turns out not to be such a bad chap when you get to know him. Sure he's a mean son-of-a-bitch, but compared to the majority of the crew you can't help but cheer for him. And thankfully, for everyone concerned, he has the ability to see in the dark. This no doubt helped to cut back on the movie's budget - which wasn't huge. No lavish set pieces here, just lots of rocks and the occasional crappy old hut. The slight cheapness feel actually gives it more of an edge and it's pretty obvious that the director got to do pretty much what he wanted to with it. No Hollywood gloss here. Nearly all of the characters are pathetic examples of the human race and there is no wonderfully happy ending with everyone skipping off into the sunrise. Real life is crap and this movie shows it to be just that.

The photography is beautiful - surreal in places - as the stranded crew wander around under the baking heat of the planets suns and the total eclipse is breathtaking - a wide screen TV certainly comes in handy here.

The only really risible element is the whole eclipse scenario. Are we really to believe that they crash landed on a planet the day before a major total solar eclipse? As Harry Hill would say: "Now what are the chances of that."

I great film for a Saturday night in. Get a few mates round, open a few beers and enjoy.

Darren Rea