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Review: Riddick

Sep. 4, 2013by: Eric Walkuski

PLOT: Solemn anti-hero Richard B. Riddick finds himself stranded on a hellish planet faced with mercenaries and vicious alien creatures targeting his head.

REVIEW: RIDDICK is like one of those cheesy 80s/90s era Roger Corman flicks that you'd see on late-night cable given a proper budget. It's thoroughly cheesy, short on imagination (but high on testosterone and death), not very clever but sort of amusing in a self-deprecating way. It relishes its very B-movieness and makes no apologies for that, so anyone expecting high art will of course come away disappointed. It also ditches the sweeping aspirations of its predecessor, THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK and returns to the gritty roots of the first film to feature its protagonist, PITCH BLACK.

While RIDDICK's goal to entertain on a very basic level is admirable, the movie is also a bit clunky and undisciplined; writer-director David Twohy and producer-star Vin Diesel certainly love their central character and his no-nonsense approach to dealing with every obstacle that comes his way, but they also don't know when to quit. RIDDICK is almost 2 hours long, which is way too long for a movie of this sort; it could lose 20 minutes easily. Perhaps they should have asked Mr. Corman for advice?

The most expendable section of the film is the first act, although the conflict is that the first section is the most unusual and intriguing. Richard B. Riddick wakes up on a desolate planet filled with strange creatures of every sort; eventually, he makes a friend in the form of an alien hyena-dog critter, and the two of them survey the wasteland together. Twohy spends a surprising amount of time on this, simply allowing us to re-familiarize ourselves with the anti-hero, who is predictably able to stare down every challenge that awaits him, even if it's a giant scorpion thing that slithers around the planet's lakes. Twohy thinks this is Sergio Leone type stuff, and it's actually kind of cool to witness the director let the movie play out at it's own pace. For a while.

However, once we're quite familiar with Riddick's plight, Twohy makes the interesting choice to relegate him to supporting character as we're introduced to two teams of bounty hunters who descend upon the planet, intent on capturing the fugitive. (Riddick actually calls for help with the idea of hijacking one of the ships and hightailing it out of the increasingly hostile environment.) Each team is captained by a headstrong leader; one is an honorable man (Matt Nable) with a strong interest in capturing Riddick; the other is a sleazy creep (Jordi Molla) who literally wants to put Riddick's head in a box. Twohy takes much time establishing these men and their teams (filled with the usual Alpha male personalities, undesirables and one bad-ass chick played by Katee Sackhoff) while Riddick basically waits out their bickering in the shadows, and the movie sort of sits in neutral while we wait for the main event, whatever that may be.

This stuff is fun but unnecessary; it feels like Twohy is trying to think of something to happen and biding his time. Eventually he gets around to bringing Riddick back to the center stage, where he must convince his enemies that a veritable army of those scorpion creatures are coming to raise hell and they had better leave town fast. RIDDICK essentially turns into another variation of PITCH BLACK at this point, which doesn't necessarily speak to Twohy's creativity, but he is pretty good at schlocky thrills and entertaining death sequences. He's less good at directing action; he's not very adept at making a fistfight (or a fight between man and monster) coherent, and most of the action sequences come off as a grab-bag of punches, rifle shots and incomprehensible movement. Twohy's forte is in the macho posturing and verbal putdowns, of which there are plenty.

But I'm still moved to be kind toward RIDDICK, which is obviously working with limited resources; this was an independently produced film, and sometimes it shows (some very obvious green-screen action on display). Yet that's what adds considerable charm to the proceedings; these guys are doing it rough-and-tumble style. "If we want to make a monster movie/western in our basement, let's just do it!" you can almost hear them say, and more power to them, because they've done it handily - even if this thing does ramble on a bit long and it's a bit goofy. Let us be honest: Vin Diesel isn't easy to take seriously, nor is Riddick that interesting of a character, but the actor is perfect for the character and the character is perfect for this movie. Here's a badass with little to say other than "get out of my way and let me handle my business." That's Diesel - and RIDDICK.

Source: JoBlo.com

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2:25PM on 09/09/2013
Just like in the case of Lincoln, the title is wrong. They should have added something more, like Riddick's Fury, Riddick Returns, Riddick's Planet, Riddick's Escape, Ridddick Rises, or Riddick-ulus, or something.
Just like in the case of Lincoln, the title is wrong. They should have added something more, like Riddick's Fury, Riddick Returns, Riddick's Planet, Riddick's Escape, Ridddick Rises, or Riddick-ulus, or something.
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1:52PM on 09/05/2013
Seeing this movie tomorrow. I don't care if it's popcorn action. At least it looks like quality popcorn action.
Seeing this movie tomorrow. I don't care if it's popcorn action. At least it looks like quality popcorn action.
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7:39AM on 09/05/2013

LOOOLL!!!

I don't care if this damn review giving it 7/10...I watched pitch black at the cinema, i watched chronicles of riddick at the cinema..I"LL WATCH THIS TOO THIS COMING SUNDAY EVEN IF THIS REVIEW GIVE IT 1/10...
I don't care if this damn review giving it 7/10...I watched pitch black at the cinema, i watched chronicles of riddick at the cinema..I"LL WATCH THIS TOO THIS COMING SUNDAY EVEN IF THIS REVIEW GIVE IT 1/10...
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4:48AM on 09/05/2013

Bring it

Great character and 7/10 gets my anxious enough.
Great character and 7/10 gets my anxious enough.
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+3
4:34AM on 09/05/2013

Good times

Unlike those people who are happy to nit-pick between a 7/10 or 8/10 review, I'm content that this review is "good enough". Doesn't affect my desire to see the movie one way or another, as soon as it was announced I had mentally purchased my ticket and am going to see it tonight.

7/10 is not a bad review guys, get over it!!!!
Unlike those people who are happy to nit-pick between a 7/10 or 8/10 review, I'm content that this review is "good enough". Doesn't affect my desire to see the movie one way or another, as soon as it was announced I had mentally purchased my ticket and am going to see it tonight.

7/10 is not a bad review guys, get over it!!!!
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11:46PM on 09/04/2013

Escape From Butcher Bay

While he is still young enough I would have liked to seen an earlier Riddick story, Escape from Butcher Bay or something along those lines. The whole thing taking place in prison where some of the inmates are just as dangerous as him, seeing Riddick in the fighting arena would be cool too. The character deserves more than a rehash of Pitch Black.
While he is still young enough I would have liked to seen an earlier Riddick story, Escape from Butcher Bay or something along those lines. The whole thing taking place in prison where some of the inmates are just as dangerous as him, seeing Riddick in the fighting arena would be cool too. The character deserves more than a rehash of Pitch Black.
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11:05PM on 09/04/2013
I like the character. But giving him the full name of Richard B. Riddick takes away some of the badass aspects of the character. I'd rather no one really knows if Riddick is his name or family name or an alias. Or he took it from some poor schmuck he killed with a teabag.
I like the character. But giving him the full name of Richard B. Riddick takes away some of the badass aspects of the character. I'd rather no one really knows if Riddick is his name or family name or an alias. Or he took it from some poor schmuck he killed with a teabag.
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11:32PM on 09/04/2013
This means his name can be rendered as "Dick B. Riddick".
This means his name can be rendered as "Dick B. Riddick".
10:27PM on 09/04/2013
I'd go so far as to give it an 8 out of 10. What I liked about this film is that it didn't feel like a vanity project. Sure, Riddick is a total badass and it's really easy to see why Vin Diesel likes playing him so much, but the rival mercenary gangs got their share of screen time and we also got to see Riddick using his wits, trying to outsmart them.
I'd go so far as to give it an 8 out of 10. What I liked about this film is that it didn't feel like a vanity project. Sure, Riddick is a total badass and it's really easy to see why Vin Diesel likes playing him so much, but the rival mercenary gangs got their share of screen time and we also got to see Riddick using his wits, trying to outsmart them.
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7:33PM on 09/04/2013
7/10 is good enough for me.
7/10 is good enough for me.
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3:15PM on 09/04/2013

This review is biased

After seeing this at a premiere, it's obvious this guy has something against Riddick. Fans of Sci-Fi or the Riddick series are in for a treat. It's the best film out of the trilogy.

Also, the reason it treads on familiar ground (Pitch Black) is because not many people saw that film. This is a reboot without erasing the previous films.
After seeing this at a premiere, it's obvious this guy has something against Riddick. Fans of Sci-Fi or the Riddick series are in for a treat. It's the best film out of the trilogy.

Also, the reason it treads on familiar ground (Pitch Black) is because not many people saw that film. This is a reboot without erasing the previous films.
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+10
2:40PM on 09/04/2013
I just rewatched the first two this week (I hadn't seen Chronicles since I saw it in theaters). While I liked some of the mythology they introduced in that one, I like the smaller scale of Pitch Black better. That said, I hope we'll eventually visit the Underverse in a future installment.
I just rewatched the first two this week (I hadn't seen Chronicles since I saw it in theaters). While I liked some of the mythology they introduced in that one, I like the smaller scale of Pitch Black better. That said, I hope we'll eventually visit the Underverse in a future installment.
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2:27PM on 09/04/2013
I'm happy to see that this received a good review. More films like this need to succeed.
I'm happy to see that this received a good review. More films like this need to succeed.
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1:56PM on 09/04/2013
Wait - did you say you wanted the filmmakers here to talk to Corman about economizing the pacing??? Seriously? The guy would put in 15 minutes of people walking just to fill time in his movies.
Wait - did you say you wanted the filmmakers here to talk to Corman about economizing the pacing??? Seriously? The guy would put in 15 minutes of people walking just to fill time in his movies.
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1:51PM on 09/04/2013
Have always been a fan of the Riddick series in all it's many forms, so I am looking forward to it. It's good to see someone who appreciates it for what it is. I don't expect this to do well, but I am sure I will enjoy it just as I did Chronicles and Pitch Black.
Have always been a fan of the Riddick series in all it's many forms, so I am looking forward to it. It's good to see someone who appreciates it for what it is. I don't expect this to do well, but I am sure I will enjoy it just as I did Chronicles and Pitch Black.
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1:37PM on 09/04/2013
Looking forward to Dick B. Re-dick's latest adventure.
Looking forward to Dick B. Re-dick's latest adventure.
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7:32PM on 09/04/2013
Haha, love what you did there.
Haha, love what you did there.
1:14PM on 09/04/2013
Sounds exactly like what I was expecting. Also the reason I'll be seeing it with my buddies this Saturday instead of the wife.
Sounds exactly like what I was expecting. Also the reason I'll be seeing it with my buddies this Saturday instead of the wife.
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12:53PM on 09/04/2013
I've always been a big fan of the character so I'm psyched.
I've always been a big fan of the character so I'm psyched.
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12:50PM on 09/04/2013

you lost me at...

"Riddick is not that interesting of a character". Not to say that you're points of critique or necessarily invalid, but that line alone tells me that going into this, this clearly was not the movie for you, which may have swayed your opinion on certain points.
"Riddick is not that interesting of a character". Not to say that you're points of critique or necessarily invalid, but that line alone tells me that going into this, this clearly was not the movie for you, which may have swayed your opinion on certain points.
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12:49PM on 09/04/2013
I think the film looks like one hell of a good time. It's been too long since we have last seen Riddick on the big screen.
I think the film looks like one hell of a good time. It's been too long since we have last seen Riddick on the big screen.
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12:59PM on 09/04/2013
Right, since 2004. Definitely seeing it this weekend.
Right, since 2004. Definitely seeing it this weekend.
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