September 5th, 2013
Vin Diesel and director/writer David Twohy return to science fiction with another installment of Riddick. The titular galactic bad-ass is back to a more humble story akin to the first film, Pitch Black. This time around Riddick has been betrayed by the Necromongers and left for dead on a backwater planet where dangerous creatures abound. But being Riddick he's impossible to kill and quickly adapts to the environment. He locates an outpost, triggers the emergency beacon, and waits to see who shows up. Two ships arrive with wholly different motives. The first band of ruffians is led by the laughably slimy Santana (Jordi Molla), who wants Riddick's head for a considerable bounty. The second ship is led by Boss Johns (Matt Nable), the father of William Johns, killed ten years earlier on his own quest to capture Riddick. Johns wants answers. He's forced to collaborate with Santana, but both men vastly underestimate Riddick and their situation.
Riddick would have been decent if this were not the third film in the series. I felt like I was watching Pitch Black all over again. It's almost the exact same plot structure as the first film. Capture Riddick, he outsmarts everyone, attacked by alien creatures, escape the planet. We've seen this all before to a degree. I wish I could say there's something new to this story that's appealing, but there isn't. Riddick is essentially the same character dealing with the same problems he had previously. I get going back to the well to satisfy the fan base, but Diesel and Twohy needed more to keep it interesting.
Riddick has a nominally hard R rating. The last film, The Chronicles of Riddick, was PG-13 and tame, despite having an actual plot. Twohy ramps up the carnage and skin here. Sci-fi fanboy favorite Katee Sackhoff shows some side boob in a scene that has no merit whatsoever. Her character is purely a sex object and subject to infantile harassment throughout the flick. That's pretty disappointing, especially when the female characters in the previous films had at least something to do with the story. I have a distinct feeling that Twohy has her character in mind for a sequel to this film, if the box office warrants it.
Riddick disappoints. I'm a fan of the first two films, despite some flaws, and actually had moderate expectations for this reboot of sorts. Sadly, there's nothing here that warrants a positive recommendation. Although I'm sure the Katee Sackhoff fans clamoring for side boob shots are already in line.