Movie Review: Riddick
Director: David Twohy
Year of Release: 2013
Genre: Action | Sci-Fi
Run Time: 119 min
Riddick returns Vin Diesel back to probably one of his most recognized characters alongside Dominic Toretto of the Fast & Furious franchise. The movie opens with Riddick stranded on a sun scorched planet with some pretty serious injuries. This suggests that something went drastically wrong after being crowned Lord Marshal of the Necromongers in his previous outing in The Chronicles of Riddick. What struck me in the opening third of the movie was this was probably the first time we saw Riddick as a vulnerable character, someone who had weakness. Previously his character looked almost invincible and had a cockiness to go with it. It was a refreshing change and while the process of Riddick finding the animal within again dragged on for a little longer than I’d have cared for it certainly made him a little more human. I was also surprised by how briefly the Necromongers were featured, it was almost as if both Twohy and Vin Diesel were urging us to forget the last movie ever really happened. Personally I didn’t mind Chronicles but always felt that it tried to make too much of a character more suited to one-off events than some overarching mythology.
The real action in Riddick commences once he signals a beacon that attracts two ships full of bounty hunters with differing opinions on how Riddick should be taken; the bounty is doubled if he’s dead. There’s a bit of smoke and mirrors as Riddick kills a few of the mercenaries as tensions mount between the two Merc crews. Speaking of which Dave Bautista gives a rather credible performance as the mercenary Diaz along with Katee Sackhoff as Dahl; the latter taking great joy in handing a world of pain to the character of Santana. I was disappointed by the inclusion of Boss Johns as it’s seemingly another attempt to provide canon to the series but did feel he was well portrayed by Matt Nable. After a bit more posturing Riddick is captured and, after a plot device I don’t wish to spoil is seemingly exhausted, Santana gets his wish to behead Riddick. However, the impending danger which forced Riddick in to calling the mercenaries strikes. The premise from here on has some similarities to Pitch Black as the group suddenly realise they’re hopelessly ill-equipped to deal with the on coming dangers and opt to use Riddick to assist in their escape.
While Riddick doesn’t quite capture the atmosphere and feel of Pitch Black it does return the titular character to more familiar and comfortable surroundings. I still feel that the effects of Chronicles will have a lasting effect on the franchise given the ending hints at a sequel but grateful that this movie took the opportunity to shun the Necromongers. In the end what we have here is a very enjoyable Action/Sci-Fi movie worthy of admission but it won’t blow you away by any stretch.