The third film in the Chronicles of Riddick series, Riddick is something of a return to the smaller scope of Pitch Black. It avoids the over complicated sci-fi trappings of The Chronicles of Riddick, yet answers the question of why he is no longer the leader of the Necromongers. While it is not better than Pitch Black, it is better than The Chronicles of Riddick. It is very refreshing to see this character return, as Riddick is the quintessential anti-hero and Vin Diesel owns this series.
The film opens with a lengthy sequence where we find Riddick waking up on a planet and he is not in good shape. His leg is broke and he is being attacked by the indigenous animal population. As he learns to survive, wounded, we get his back story and how he ended up there in the first place. This is where the film explains the Necromongers and we get a cameo from Karl Urban (Dredd, Star Trek Into Darkness). Riddick learns to survive on this planet and eventually comes across a mercenary outpost, where he sends a distress signal to lure mercs to the planet so he can hitch a ride. Two groups of mercs arrive, and one group’s leader has a personal interest in capturing Riddick alive . . .
Don’t go into Riddick expecting a reinvention of the wheel. The film is less a character study of the character than an action film. It is also less of a sci-fi horror film than Pitch Black. While the film attempts to retract the horror aspects from Pitch Black, it never fully succeeds in being scary. In fact, you can see where the film is going when Riddick ends up on a planet that looks strikingly similar to the planet from the first film. While the details are different, Riddick must come to the aid of the mercs to get off the planet alive.
Yes, there are monsters. No, they do not come out at night. Yes, they are extremely deadly. Yes, Riddick kicks some ass. The Riddick in this film, though, seems a little weaker, a little more in tune with the society built in the film. He is still a killer, but he’s a little more sympathetic. Come on. The poor guy has been stranded on a planet for who knows how long with only his faithful canine for company (a canine he poisoned to check the effects of the creatures venom).
I really, really enjoyed Riddick, but I am a sucker for anti-heroes and sci-fi action films in general. If I really wanted to be a jerk, I could probably tear this movie apart. Luckily, I rate on an entertainment scale. And, dammit, I had fun watching this. I enjoyed it a lot. I am going to watch it again (after I re-watch Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick).
If you are looking for an action film that is damned entertaining, check this out. Oh, and for you Battlestar Galactica geeks, you get to see Katee Sackhoff’s boobs for a second. Why wouldn’t you want to see that?
*** out of ****
BIZZAM!! Fun Facts!
- Want to know why Vin Diesel had a cameo in The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift? It was to get the rights to the Riddick franchise.
- The original title for the film was The Chronicles of Riddick: Dead Man Stalking.
- Dave Bautista, who plays Diaz in this film, will be appearing as Drax the Destroyer in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Vin Diesel will also voice the tree creature Groot in the same film.
- While production was underway, financing was delayed. Vin Diesel footed the bill until the banks came through.
- Vin Diesel reportedly took actor scale wages to get this film made.