Sunday, September 15, 2013


Year: 2013
Director: David Twohy
Cast: Vin Diesel, Katee Sackhoff, Matt Nable, Jordi Molla

Plot: Betrayed and left for dead on a desolate alien planet, Riddick makes plans to escape by activating a distress beacon, which brings two teams of mercenaries to his location. One team wants his head in a box, the other wants information. Meanwhile, a huge storm and a whole lot of deadly creatures close in.

Review: Vin Diesel and David Twohy finally get their third film on Riddick's adventures off the ground. Pitch Black was solid and tight, being a cool introduction to the Riddick character as he becomes the unlikely hero to a band of crash survivors on a dangerous planet. Its follow up, The Chronicles Of Riddick however, was a step back. We were given an unnecessary background to Riddick, and the villains were somewhat uninteresting. So these guys have their work cut out for them to make Riddick (the movie) work. In my opinion, they didn't quite get it.

For this instalment, Twohy returns Riddick to the harshness and violence that made Pitch Black great. Unfortunately it also bears the excessiveness of Chronicles with it. As a result, Riddick feels quite bloated at times. Case in point: for the first half of the movie, we watch Riddick trying to survive on his own, injured and all, against hostile alien creatures. We then move to the mercenaries, who arrive and spend a lot of time bickering on who gets to catch Riddick first. This half of the film could have been easily trimmed down by at least 20 minutes, which would have made it easier to sit through.

It's only in the second half that the film starts to pick up, as Riddick teams up with the mercenaries (predictably) to survive the night once the aliens move in. This part is two thirds hit and one third miss. Watching men and aliens kill each other is quite fun, but some of it was too haphazardly shot, not to mention uninteresting. 

Diesel at the very least, deserves credit for holding most of the film together. He's still the badass we all know and love, though I didn't like how Twohy chose to end the film as far as the character is concerned. If anything, it made him unnecessarily vulnerable. Diesel is actually the best thing about Riddick, because the other mercenaries are either dull or not likable. The best one is actually former WWE wrestler Dave Bautista, whose slightly goofy character makes him rather funny at times. However he gets less time compared to Katee Sackhoff's "I don't fuck men" sniper, who constantly becomes the butt of bad sex jokes, or Jordi Molla's annoying merc that loves talking big, or Matt Nable's honorable but dull merc leader. Even Nable's connection to Riddick's past isn't interesting enough to justify its inclusion. The rest are superbly dull, and they get way too much screen time.

You might be wondering whether I enjoyed this film. Well, I did, sort of. Riddick's always fun to follow around, even when he's alone and narrating for 20 minutes. Watching him take care of a dog was good too actually. But there's too much baggage here on a whole. With tighter editing and better writing, this would have been better. If they make a fourth film, they better get it right. (3/5)

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