Film Reviews

RIDDICK

By • Sep 5th, 2013 •

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Diesel has resurrected Riddick and even though I don’t know what the hell was going on, it was terrific.

Vin Diesel was right to bring back Riddick even though it has languished. The production is fantastic and the off-world Riddick (Vin Diesel) wakes up on is foreign and clearly not suited to humans.

“I’ll ride it like I stole it.” Don’t you absolutely love these quips that Diesel delivers without it seeming like they are intentional tag lines. It’s such a perfect remark that we all know exactly its backstory. Diesel also has a terrific tete-a-tete with Katee Sackhoff that male audiences will love.

There is one solid thing about the Riddick character that stamps everything he does. There is no look, word, or scenario where Riddick does not affirm that he will survive any and every obstacle. His focus is absolute. Through a mumbling voice-over – as we see Riddick surviving the hostile environment and vicious hungry wolf-dog-alien-animals – he informs us that he is a wanted murderer being hunted by the entire Universe. It must have been something. (I saw PITCH BLACK (2000) and RIDDICK’S predecessor THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK (2004), but who can remember the storyline? I do recall the Lord Marshall.)

With a big price on his head, which is doubled if he is brought back dead, a team of bounty hunters track him down on this uninviting planet. One team is headed by Santana (Jordi Molla). He shouts out to Riddick that he will have his head in a box. After destroying their sensing probe, Santana’s men realize Riddick is a hunted man who must not to be trifled with – even without weapons.

Another craft descends on the planet. Boss Johns (Matt Nable) is not a bounty hunter and makes an agreement with Santana. Johns is not interested in the reward money and he will give it to Santana and his men. And he will not get involved unless asked. Soon enough, Santana finds out he needs help. Ten men and one woman, Dahl (Katee Sackhoff), find themselves being picked off one at a time. Riddick meets Santana and Boss Johns and gives his ultimatum: he wants one of the ships and he’ll leave them alone.

And eventually we find out why Johns is after Riddick.

Diesel has charisma and knows his strengths. His co-stars have been ably cast. Sackhoff’s character had such promise, yet Twohy and his team of writers should have seen how well she was delivering and given her character more screen time. Does every woman in movies like this have to be suspected of being a lesbian?

RIDDICK was directed and written by David Twohy (imdb.com credit with Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell for the screenplay. Huh?). Twohy has been with this franchise since PITCH BLACK. There must be a difference between “written by” and “screenplay by”.

Regardless, Twohy has done a terrific job imagining the hostile planet, and the relationship between Riddick and the alien-hybrid dog is realistic. Merit is richly due the CGI team (so huge it is impossible to note) and production led by Joseph C. Nemec. And casting by Anne McCarthy. With all those writers attached to RIDDICK, what happened to Dahl (Sackhoff) in the ending? I felt cheated. No, I am glad the writers did not do a hackneyed Roger Moore-James Bond ending by having Dahl in bed with Riddick, but what happened to her?

Diesel, who has Hollywood power with his hugely successful FAST & FURIOUS franchise, was right on to re-introduce Riddick. I saw it in IMAX and recommend seeing it in this format.

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