Release Date: September 5, 2013 (2D theaters and IMAX, p.m. screenings)
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: David Twohy
Screenwriter: David Twohy
Starring: Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, Jordi Molla, Matt Nable, Katee Sackhoff, Bokeem Woodbine, Dave Bautista, Conrad Pla, Raoul Trujillo, Nolan Funk, Keri Hilson
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
MPAA Rating: R (for strong violence, language and some sexual content/nudity)
Official Website: Riddickmovie.com
Review: 6/10 rating | 7/10 rating
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Movie Poster: View here
Plot Summary: The latest chapter of the groundbreaking saga that began with 2000’s hit sci-fi film “Pitch Black” and 2004’s “The Chronicles of Riddick” reunites writer/director David Twohy (“A Perfect Getaway,” “The Fugitive”) and star Vin Diesel (the “Fast and Furious” franchise, “XXX”). 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.
Riddick also sees the return of Karl Urban (“Star Trek,” “The Bourne Supremacy”) as Vaako and introduces to the series Jordi Molla (“Bad Boys II,” “Colombiana”) as Santana, the arrogant captain of the mercenary ship; Matt Nable (“Killer Elite”) as Boss Johns, a man looking for answers; Katee Sackhoff (TV’s “Battlestar Galactica”) as the Nordic mercenary Dahl; and Bokeem Woodbine (“Total Recall”) as bounty hunter Moss. Rounding out the cast are Dave Bautista (“The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption”), Conrad Pla (“Immortals”), Raoul Trujillo (“Apocalypto”), Nolan Funk (TV’s “Aliens in America”) and two-time Grammy Award-nominated singer Keri Hilson.
I saw Pitch Black in 2000, and quite frankly I was amazed. What I found truly significant about that film was the build-up. Pitch Black spent somewhere around an hour in heavy character development before unleashing the monsters. By the time you saw serious action, you already had feelings towards each character, you cared whether they lived or died, you could relate.
In sharp juxtaposition, Riddick offers none of that. What makes this contrast so devastatingly drastic is that the stories consistently parallel one another. If we step back and view them side by side, we have the same formula: tremendous hardship occurs, people hunt Riddick/ character development, darkness falls and monsters ensue, run for fuel cells, escape. This formula worked well for Pitch Black for several reasons: the acting was well above average, the characters (and their subsequent actions) were plausible, the CG was pretty state-of-the-art at the time, and the story, although not untold, was given a novel approach.
What we’re faced with in Riddick is one tired cliché after another. I feel like we spent a large portion of the movie either watching Riddick heal himself, or converse with his dog. As was mentioned in other reviews, the monster was spoiled within the first few minutes of the movie. By the time you get to the characters, you’ve almost had enough. Once Santana arrives you may think that things will speed/shape up, at least development-wise. Sure he works well as a comic relief, but I’m sorry to say that significant development will not be had. Santana, who is immediately identified as a psychopath, simply continues in that vein, offering no substance to the role other than what is plainly superficial. What’s more is that each character follows in much the same way. They come into the scene, state who and what they are, and that is as much character development as you’ll get.
I’m not sure if I needed to state this explicitly or whether it was implied in my comments on development, but the script was drab and uninteresting. Having characters that were sub-par only made the futility of each uttered word more obvious. You would find a chuckle here and there, but most of the time you’d find yourself thinking “I’ve heard that line a dozen times before”, or, as I was, thinking the lines that were about to be said.
It’s as if, in this movie, the director/writers were intent upon building Riddick’s character solely. This put them at a huge disadvantage. Riddick’s character alone was never enough to drive a movie, as he’s an anti-hero. Take the two proceeding movies: in Pitch Black what was ultimately fascinating was Riddick’s interaction between Johns, Fry, and Imam; in CoR, his interaction between Vaako, Toombs, Aerion, and the slew of other characters.
The bottom line is that this movie suffers dearly from an unoriginal story, poor character development, deplorable writing, and very little suspense, basically all the things that made the first two, especially Pitch Black, enjoyable. I give it 6 out of 10 because I’m a fan of the series and was happy just to see a progression, even if it wasn’t, in my opinion, the best direction. My hopes rest in this series furthering itself beyond this travesty of cinema and the next (movie) being more worthy of its predecessors than this bland rehash. https://movieboxoffices.wordpress.com