BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
SEPTEMBER 7, 2013
Returning to most of its former glory, “Riddick” is a decent science fiction action film with a spirited showing from lead Vin Diesel. This third installment follows a similar plot to “Pitch Black” and abandons the shlock that was “The Chronicles of Riddick.” It brings back the survivalist element as Riddick (Diesel) attempts to adapt to an abandoned planet that was said to be Furya, his home (which it is not). Befriending a baby hyena-dog and preparing to fight the dangerous scorpion-fish creatures that block him from escaping, Riddick shows his strength and vulnerability as he deals with the elements. Although the CGI landscape looks entirely two-dimensional and the pet dog creature is rather un-rendered, the beasts and the violence breath real and are some of the most entertaining portions of the film.
Paper-thin, macho action film dialogue aside, the screenplay from director David Twohy, is appreciatively basic. It provides a ticking clock, with the approaching storm, and enough characters to carry one’s attention. Set up a lot like “Pitch Black,” two groups of Mercs arrive on the planet when Riddick sends out a beacon. One by one, Riddick picks these men off to get one of the ships to take off the planet before the scorpion-fish creatures arrive under the passing rain clouds. Chock-full of lewd violence and blatant nudity, “Riddick” is all action film, through and through, providing laughs and intensity that only action films can provide. There’s no re-inventing the wheel here, and rightfully so, as Twohy takes a healthy step back into the world that made this franchise a cult hit with the first film out of the gate. Relying heavily on the charisma of Vin Diesel, “Riddick” won’t break any records or even reach cult status. Still, it does show that directors and producers learn from their mistakes and can successfully shift a failing concept back on track.
September 6, 2013
by Jim Wheat and Ken Wheat
(for strong violence, language and some sexual content/nudity)