Director: David Twohy
After the events in The Chronicles of Riddick, our tough as nails Furyan Riddick (Vin Diesel) winds up on a hellish planet with Mercs and monsters on his tail. He resolves the dire “issues” Riddick style!
Here's where I stand when it comes to our pal Richard B. Riddick. Initially Pitch Black (2000) failed to blow me away it but it grew on me in time and I now appreciate fully what it pulled off. And as opposed to most, I always loved The Chronicles of Riddick (specially the director’s cut), and never got the hate that was dumped on it. Now, we haven’t seen good old Riddick since The Chronicles of Riddick flopped in 2004. So nine years later he’s finally back! On this round, they’ve dropped the more Sc-Fi, grand scale, mythology driven nature of the first sequel and went back to the character’s Pitch Black, horror-ish roots. Was it worth the wait? Here we go!
I f*cking I love the character of Riddick! His cool as ice demeanor, his brutal ways of solving conflict, his physical prowess and his innate sense of honor. He’s my favorite Vin Diesel role! But I expected him to return in a better movie than this. Before I spit my venom, lets start with the bear hugs. First off it was awesome to see the character of Riddick back on the screen again. As played by Vin Diesel, he was still badass, still had witty lines and he still whooped that bootie with vicious panache. As per the prior entries in the franchise, one thing is for sure with Riddick, when he promises you something, you’ll get it. And boy did he live up to his promises here! LOL! You’ll see.
The basic structure of the film appealed to me as well; Riddick solo, human threat, monsters bash. Good escalating mix! Funnily enough the first act which found Riddick all by himself with his affable CGI pooch fighting the elements and wild life of the new world he was stuck on owned me the most. The bit almost played out like an old school Western, and Vin Diesel had the presence and charisma to carry all that screen time by himself. I also esteemed that they referenced Chronicles of Riddick (yes Karl Urban showed up briefly as Vaako) and that they even managed to tie this second sequel to Pitch Black. Hence the trilogy does work as whole! It would have been easy for this puppy to ignore the two previous films (especially Chronicles) but it didn’t. If you don’t know or remember the first 2 flicks, you will lose some parts here. Yup, this one was made for the hardcore fans of the series; respect!
Casting wise, Diesel aside (I praised him enough already), Katee Sackhoff stood out! Girl looked great and had a hoot with her tough as nails role. She even managed to steal a couple of scenes with solely a mean right cross. And although token villain actor Jordi Mollà was more restrained than usual, he was still slimy enough to be entertaining. Topple on top of that some grisly moments of viciousness that slapped a smile on my face, a handful of slick actions scenes, snappy dialogue (Like this beauty from Sackhoff : "I don't f*ck guys." -Punches dude in the face- “Occasionally I f*ck them up if they need it."), another solid score by Graeme Revell (I love the Riddick theme, you know the one, I get goose-bumps), ingenious monster designs, some sleek Twohy money shots and mucho creature shenanigans and you get a flick that tried REAL hard to please and randomly succeeded.
So what the f*ck was my problem then? With a 38 Million dollars budget, the flick still managed to look SyFy channel cheap. The green screen was often dodgy, the CGI not always convincing and some of the visual effects weren't tops (the flying bikes were on and off in terms of being convincing). The result was: I knew that I was on a sound-stage way too often and that took away from my involvement in the picture. But the worse for me was the human threat that eventually kicked in and basically bogged down the middle section of the movie. You see up to that point, the story was told from Riddick’s POV and I was all good with that.
But once the Mercs showed up, our Furyan pal basically vanished from the picture to make way for a mostly boring and largely unconvincing lot (Where's Cole Hauser when you need him?) that bickered like bitches and spat out drivel that I TRULY didn’t care about. Imagine if Rambo First Blood II dropped John Rambo half an hour in the story to focus on the Vietcong and their internal squabbles. Exactly! And to make matters worse, that middle block just dragged and dragged and hardly moved the story forward. It was like the flick was stalling. They fight, Riddick spies, they fight, Riddick spies...yawn! Redundant was the word! A good 15 to 20 minutes should have been shaved off that section. Why have me spend so much time with peeps I couldn’t give two shits about? I’m here to see Riddick dammit! At least things got back on track when Mr. Furyan FINALLY jumped into action once again for the last act. But by then the damage was done for yours truly.
So on the whole; I am saddened to spew that I walked out of the theatre fairly let down. Don't get me wrong Riddick was far from an awful film. It had its moments, was often fun and it harkened back to the 80's and 90's in terms of its hardcore content and no BS attitude. But it didn't have the class and flair of Pitch Black or the polish of Chronicles - it came off more like a cheesy B Movie and I didn't see that coming. I guess my expectations were just too high. In closing; the friend side of me says: Wait for DVD, it will go down better that way. The selfish prick in me says; see it on the big screen this weekend! I love me some Riddick and want more films even though this one didn't knock my rubber off. Your move creep!
Riddick messes monsters and sad sack Mers up in gory ways that I won’t reveal here! I won’t ruin your fun! The violence is one of this film's top qualities.
T & A
We get some random tittles, tight asses and one “vagine” as Borat would call it. But the highlight was the Katee Sackhoff boobie stuff! Damn! Thank you! Now I need to be alone for 10 minutes…
RIDDICKproudly sported an R Rating, Vin Diesel went all out to get the film off the ground (read below) and it was obviously made for the fans! And yes I feel bad that I didn’t dig it more than I did. If there was one person that was rooting for Riddick to own that shite, it was me! I dig the first two films, LOVE the character and relish Diesel playing him. So although, I got splattastic gore, some cool Riddick moments, money action scenes, fly shots and all kinds of monster madness, the cheapness of it all took away from the experience. But worse of all the clunky and mostly Riddick-less middle section with its meh Mercs blabbing like Tupperware wives and basically stalling the story, took the steam out of the ride. The movie should have stayed focused on Riddick! At least the last act got its mojo back. On that, am still up for more Riddick movies, will always be, I just love the character so damn much! But he deserves better than this! Get the class back in there!
Pitch Black was actually David Twohy's script submission for Alien 3, when Sigourney Weaver didn't want to play Ripley anymore.
Vin Diesel did his cameo in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) in exchange for the rights to the Riddick character.
Vin Diesel leveraged his house in case they wouldn't be able to finish the film with the money they had.