- Starring: Vin Diesel (Pitch Black), Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica), Jordi Mollà (Bad Boys II) and more.
- Directed by: David Twohy (Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick )
- Synopsis: “The latest chapter of the groundbreaking saga that began with 2000′s hit sci-fi film Pitch Black…Diesel reprises his role as the antihero Riddick, a dangerous, escaped convict wanted by every bounty hunter in the known galaxy. The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he’s encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty. The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won’t leave the planet without Riddick’s head as their trophy.“
- Rating: Rated R for language, violence, nudity and frightening sequences.
- Must-Watch Trailer:
Vin Diesel returns to the scifi franchise that started with Pitch Black (see synopsis above). While a fan of the character Riddick who spends the majority of his films on the run from bounty hunters pent on collecting fare with him contained, the series seemed to desire to take off with more grandeur after the beauty of the last sequel that was not received too well by audiences (but appreciated by this movie reviewer). Rather than use the 2004 sequel as a springboard for the direction of the saga, Riddick, goes back to the approach of Pitch Black and focuses on the character, on a solitary planet, endangered by storms and predators, inconvenienced by mercenaries.
A bit familiar and already rather spoiled by the trailer, Riddick brings Vin Diesel back in a role I like him in but in a movie less than hoped for. One of the things that made Pitch Black cool was its uniqueness…the eyes…the creatures…Riddick’s persona. In The Chronicles of Riddick the story was a little flat but the visuals and the necromongers were cool. Plus…Karl Urban (who plays a VERY minimalistic part in Riddick). Riddick does little to keep the attention…and its main threat throughout the film is neither mercenaries nor darkness. It’s a giant storm.
Impressively, it maintains a look and feel of the last Furyan’s previous films (mainly Pitch Black), but is full of moments of gratuitous nudity and violence already seen in the spoileristic trailers. There is plenty for “Riddick” fans and fans of action-scifi to tolerate or appreciate, but not much for anyone else. With predictable events of deaths, danger and duels, the saving grace of this film is the title character himself. The rest of the characters, staple and stale, do nothing but serve as annoying teases of future bodycount additions and bounty hunters with tempers.
The film’s clunky dialogue, slow early pacing and cheap one-liners caused more eye-rolls than applause, but Diesel’s demeanor as the “furious furyan” is solid and something that fans both want to see and will enjoy. Not too much else though as the film ends with a few inconsequential reveals and predictable plot points. The movie would’ve been served better by focusing on the backstory (which is what I wanted to see) more than a single movie on a single planet; especially since “Chronicles” opened up the universe of the franchise. Riddick feels confined and thus fails to take off to its full potential.
This sequel abandons a lot of what made some of the previous films cool to make way for other elements and additional characters that do little to bring the franchise back to its glory days (?). It is an okay movie that is still frustrating in that, in the grand scheme of things, almost nothing happened and we are left with a cliché ending waiting for the expected followup film that I’m sure will be announced soon. It needs to come get made if only to provide the closure that Riddick teases.
Despite all of this, I still liked the look and feel, being a fan of Pitch Black, but the movie…well, you can wait to see this one in the dark…on your couch and not in the movie theater.
(Remember, to read this review of mine and over 250 more, check out THE ARCHIVE of movies I have reviewed anytime. Know before you go…or rent…or buy!)
Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!
–T, The Focused Filmographer
up next: More reviews from The White Sands International Film Festival!