Review Date: June 09, 2004
Director: David Twohy
Writer: David Twohy
Producers: Vin Diesel, Scott Kroopf
But Riddick aside, I'd also like to tip my cap to the filmmakers for creating an ultimate new world society in which neither Vancouver, Prague or a Hollywood backlot were to be found, but sprawling universes, gorgeous skies and vistas, brilliant production designs and believable CGI (except for the computerized rat-dogs) blanketed the story and Riddick with enough credibility for us to tag along. We're also presented with a decent story that surprisingly touches upon quite a bit from its predecessor (yes, it would help if you watched PITCH BLACK before seeing this one), but also develops a whole new arena of fun and planetary bar-hopping that takes us along a species who want nothing more than to recruit everyone to their side (or to kill them all), a murky, feverish planet designed to incarcerate only the worst of the worst underground, mercenaries, a bounty hunter doing his best impression of Ron Perlman, Necro-jerks, a little political back-stabbing and thankfully: a friggin' hottie! God bless the casting department for tossing the very gorgeous Thandie Newton into this male-based cock-run. Her moments on-screen were a delight, and along with Alexa Davalos, as the believable partner-in-crime for our man Riddick, a nice balance to all of the testosterone running amuck. On the downside, there's no reason for Judi Dench to have been in this film, and I don't mean from the point of view of the "actress", so much as her character, who simply didn't bring much extra to the story (or maybe most of her scenes were cut?)
That said, the film moves at a nice clip, the action is kinetic and well dispersed throughout the movie, but a little too "fast" for my taste at times. I wanted to see Riddick actually sticking his knife into the baddie's guts, but could barely make out the moves. Slow it down, guys...what's the rush? In that same vein, there was an obvious lack of gore, over-the-top violence or swearing in the movie, all three of which I personally believe would have made the film even more badass, but I understand why they were likely cut in order to get the film down to a PG-13 rating. A few odd scenes or pieces of dialogue also rang "corny", but that's to be expected from these epic sci-fi flicks. Forgiven. Those smaller quirks aside, you really can't afford to miss this great summer popcorn ride, particularly if you consider yourself either a fan of PITCH BLACK, Vin Diesel or sci-fi flicks in general. It moves fast, it packs a punch and a half, delivers a cohesive enough of a storyline that you needn't explain every little detail to your girlfriend as she gets lost in Diesel's pecs (as you get lost in Newton's heaving bosom) and a lead character that is about as charismatic as they come in terms of badasses. Thank you, Mr. Diesel, for returning to your peak form here, and thank you Mr. Twohy for delivering a very cool, all-encompassing sci-fi feature that will hopefully generate more slick follow-ups (word on the street is that this is part of a trilogy) One piece of advice though: don't "pull a Wachowki bros" and give us a complex story-line that only you and a few Manga computer buddies can understand after a night of smoking shit. Stick to the basics: action, Riddick, chicks, planetary intermingling, baddies, even worse baddies, kickass effects, a couple of creatures...lather, rinse, repeat. PS: Great ending...bring on RIDDICK 2!!!