Now I will be brutally honest here, I'm gonna moan a lot about this film...starting right now. First off we see how Riddick was betrayed and dumped on this desolate planet, but why do that? he offered 'Vaako' the position of Lord Marshall merely in exchange for being taken to his home world of Furya, so why the need to trick him?? just take him home and all is good. I must also ask how in the hell Riddick survived that cliff fall?! it was like...a gazillion feet high!.
The planet this film is set on is a nice looking one if you ask me, very slick visuals in general but I really liked this planets design, it felt very real actually. Not too original in all fairness, your standard Tatooine type location but very realistically created. So Riddles is stuck on this planet, marooned, he manages to fix his leg which I can buy but then finds these mud pool/geyser/springs which do not contain drinkable water yet he submerges himself in one to escape some wild dog-like creatures. Isn't that kinda risky? god knows what that liquid could of done to him.
After much limping around Riddick finds some ruins (no explanation to what they are or who built them though) and he entombs himself for an unknown amount of time. Enough time for his leg to fix completely though...so that's a long time entombed without food or water, I'm confused. Once vampire Riddick emerges he eventually discovers there is more fertile land beyond these jagged rocks but he can't get there because of the mud pools and these scorpion things that live in them. There was no other way around this area? really?? no way at all!?. Although I did like the way he uses his survival skills to gradually build his immunity against their poisonous sting, inoculation 101. Low and behold once around the rocky patch and into the nicer areas Riddick finds an outpost, always an outpost, he couldn't have landed on an uninhabited planet oh no, but I guess we wouldn't have our film then would we.
The film does feel very segregated, the first half is a really neat survival concept with Riddick and his new pet doggie creature. The middle part then changes into a more standard action setup when the rather gimmick riddled 'Alien Resurrection' mercs turn up spouting much cliched crap. Boy do they try too hard with these characters, they really want this guys to be memorable iconic sci-fi characters but it kinda fails really. The merc leader seems to be Peter Stormare's love child or a low rent version, Sackhoff really tries to have an air of uber coolness about her but gives it up all too easy when Riddick flirts with her, Batista is just another ex-wrestler to move into acting playing large meatheads and why cast Keri Hilson in that cameo??. What is this modern trend of casting pop singers and ex-wrestlers when real struggling actors are forever available and can actually act because that is their actual profession.
The last half of the film descents into familiar territory as an all to easy 'Aliens' clone, well who are we kidding it basically turns into 'Pitch Black'. The ever decreasing team fight against the odds as lots of those mud pool monsters come after them during a big rain storm. Thing is how did Riddick know this would happen? I don't think he experienced this beforehand and how come there are lots of mud pools all of a sudden?. I thought we left those behind in the rocky region??.
Don't get me wrong this section of the film is fun if somewhat predictable seeing as its a rehash. The problem with this film is the plot holes and lack of a coherent story. Riddick and Johns speed off to retrieve the power cell things for the ships (on those admittedly cool hover bikes) which appears to be some distance away. After some fisticuffs shenanigans and alien battles Johns and Riddick are forced to walk back! and they do it in half the time it took them to get there!.
I guess what I'm saying is the film is very badly written and developed but it has some fantastic effects and lavish sci-fi porn. Most of the effects are CGI and you can tell, many shots are clearly live action against CGI backdrops but it still looks quite slick. The atmospheric colour palette, hover bikes, spaceships, creatures and realism of the planet are attractive to sci-fi geeks such as myself. They just let it all down with such mindless questions, errors and moments of complete ludicrousness like the death scene of one bad guy and a big knife. Oh and the sequence where the mercs all discuss opening a possible booby trapped locker by Riddick for nigh on six or seven minutes!!!! yep that's right, they stand around and talk it over for around that length.
Moan over and believe it or not I did like this film. Its silly sci-fi hokum with an array of cheese collected from various other sci-fi films (mainly its own franchise!) but it does work and it is a fun ride. Riddick is a likable lone wolf which helps a lot and its nice to see an adult orientated flick too. Its all essentially just about Riddick trying to get off world, that's it, not complicated, just needed to be a bit more original perhaps. I would have stuck with the lone survival aspect some more myself. And shame on you Twohy for giving us the old emotional pet death sequence, you know everybody chokes up on that stuff damn it!. Awww poor alien dingo doggie-like thing, Riddick would have been cool with an alien pet for future adventures.
There are several great original scenes though, like removing the lock from the safe? Hilariously suspenseful. It's unfortunate to see the last few moments stumble into such an anticlimactic end.
Great Movie! Riddick is a movie about Riddick and not really much more.This movie explores a deeper side we have not seen but not all is given away.Riddick knows to keep something back and even under duress. I loved the back story and how he ends up where he is and how he uses people and objects to get where he wants to be. Over all the ending was immaculate just like pitch blacks ending and hopefully leaves it open for another part in the future. As a long time fan of pitch black and Vin diesel this movie was worth every penny and the fact he risked his house on this movie was a great move as it was worth the risk.
Betrayed by his own kind and left for dead on a desolate planet, Riddick fights for survival against alien predators and becomes more powerful and dangerous than ever before. Soon bounty hunters from throughout the galaxy descend on Riddick only to find themselves pawns in his greater scheme for revenge. With his enemies right where he wants them, Riddick unleashes a vicious attack of vengeance before returning to his home planet of Furya to save it from destruction.
Say what you will about the previous film (Chronicles of Riddick) at least it had the guts to take some risks. Sure, almost all of those ended up being complete misfires, but they were still taken. Riddick on the other hand plays it safe. It's a path not entirely without benefit, but one that was not expected from the series spawned by Australian cult-classic Pitch Black.
Shoot me for saying it but I'm actually a huge fan of Davind Twohy (The Arrival, Waterworld, G.I. Jane, A Perfect Getaway) so I actually sort of hoped for more from the piece. Sure Chronicles was silly and disjointed, sure Dark Fury was totally unnecessary and Dark Athena/Butcher Bay were only intermittently decent, but overall the Riddick franchise will always be compared to Pitch Black, and against this prodigy, the latest movie is simply subpar.
The Necromonger storyline has been all but dropped, any connections to previous characters (sans Riddick) are completely unbelievable and the events are a shameless rip off of the first film. Seeing a more "survivalist" and intelligent Riddick is nice, as it's always been sort of more insinuated than outright shown. The entire world that the events of the film take place on is even moderately interesting, and none of the actors or characters are outright let downs, but overall Riddick falls much closer to the "barely watchable" category than the "brilliant" one.
It's "cool", it's pretty and it's most certainly entertaining, but it's not new, it's not clever, and it's most certainly not as good as Pitch Black.
This time around, Riddick has been abandoned on an unnamed planet that is teeming with dangerous creatures that sleep by day and hunt by night. In a bid to get offworld, he activates a distress beacon, hoping to steal one of the investigating ships. Of course, bounty hunters arrive first, and what ensues is a claustrophobic mash-up of Mexican standoffs, hard stares, and bloody carnage. Like Pitch Black, the story here is minimal, action maximum. If this appeals to you, check it out. If not, simply don't bother.
The story goes back to the roots of everything - five years after The Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick has become increasingly uneasy in his role as Lord Marshall of the Necromonger fleet. His refusal to swear into the Necromonger faith has caused dissent among his subjects. Riddick strikes a deal with Commander Vaako; the location of Furya and a ship to take him there, in exchange for Vaako becoming the next Lord Marshall. Led by Vaako's aide, Krone, Riddick and a group of Necromongers arrive on a desolate planet. Recognizing it is not Furya, Riddick kills most of his escort when they attempt to assassinate him. In the chaos, Krone causes a landslide and buries Riddick alive... but Riddick starts from the scratch!
Rumors of a third film in the Chronicles of Riddick series have circulated since 2006. At first, Twohy assumed that the film would be an independent, low-budget production, rather than being released by Universal Studios as the other films in the series had been. Despite the second film's tepid reception, Diesel and Twohy remained optimistic about a third film, pushing it toward completion. "Everyone knows I love the Riddick character and I'm always working on it", Diesel asserted. "It just takes five years to make another one because David Twohy and I are so precise about it." I have to say reading it, I wonder what is the precise part? I would describe this movie as flavourless: there is nothing even scary there - aliens are easily dispatched, Vin's too silent to be interesting, and the other characters are simply dull or stupid. I didn't enjoy mostly improbable situations of the sequel... very mixed up, unclear and uninspired.
This film takes a huge leap after the events of "The Chronicles of Riddick", and the coverage of the material within the gap between this film and its predecessor gets to be way too slam-banged for you to get all that firm of a grip on the expository to depth to our titular lead, who at least has more development than certain major supporting characters. Characterization isn't terribly undercooked, but it needs a little more weight, even though some of these characters are a little more familiar than they probably should be, not unlike other story elements, for although this film is not as formulaic as "Pitch Black" or "Chronicles", the betrayed potential for uniqueness makes lapses in originality all the more glaring. The film tells an ultimately familiar tale, and it does so kind of unevenly, outstaying its welcome, especially when we come to quiet, somewhat bland meditations upon little, if anything at all that get to be a little too subtle for their own good, even though subtlety is preferred for its carrying a genuineness that quickly goes when pacing picks too much up to sustain all that much depth or focus. The film is sometimes aimless in its pacing inconsistencies, and yet, as much as I complain about pacing problems in this film, they're no more serious than they were in the generally reasonably tight "Pitch Black" and "Chronicles", nor is the underdevelopment or familiarity all that serious. The ultimately somewhat underwhelming film makes plenty of missteps, make no mistake, but the final product's biggest problem isn't its problems, it's simply natural shortcomings, because as much as I give this film's story concept credit for bringing back the depth from "Pitch Black" and a little bit of the scope from "Chronicles", it's neither weighty enough nor dynamic enough for its execution to feel that much greater than an almost fillery, post-Summer action thriller. The film is better than I feared, sure, so much so that it borders on rewarding, but the point is that it doesn't quite make it to a rewarding state, as it has its limitations, stressed enough by somewhat light, but ultimately notable issues in exposition, uniqueness and tightness to just barely fall back into underwhelmingness. The film isn't quite what it could have been, but what it ultimately is is inspired enough to come close to that point, which is far enough in quality to keep you engaged through and through, at least as a visual piece.
Going back to the minimalist scope of "Pitch Black", this film closes up plenty of opportunities to display this mythology's distinct sci-fi that "Chronicles" explored a good bit of as something of a mini-epic, but it still has the money to flesh out production value more than "Pitch Black", and art director Jean-Andre Carriere is sure to do just that as best he can, presenting costume and production designs that are creative enough to sell this world, kind of like the digital designs, because even though the visual effects in this film have some hiccups, they're certainly a step up from the effects of "Pitch Black" and "Chronicles". The film is actually pretty visually creative, putting a little bit of the attention to production value that "Chronicles" boasted, but not without restoring the tasteful visual style that was lost after "Pitch Black" by calling "Pitch Black" cinematographer David Eggby back into action to deliver on photography that may not be consistently stunning, but seamlessly bonds lushness and harshness before a crisply well-defined, deeply lit lens in a uniquely lovely, sometimes modern video game-esque fashion that captures the film's techno-gritty tone. The film is well-produced and looks mighty good, and that's aesthetically pleasing, but it's still nice to sometimes cut out the taste and flavor up a gritty tone the old-fashioned way: with intense action that goes brought to life by tight, gripping staging and slick choreography, and further flavors things up by taking advantage of an R rating that "Chronicles" didn't have to put in a focus on violence that "Pitch Black" could barely afford on a limited gore budget. Backed by disturbingly creative gore, this film's action is not only viscerally thrilling, but reinforces a sense of consequence, as surely as fine visual style proves to be both aesthetically appealing and complimentary to the capturing of substance, and yet, sharp style and action are not the only things done well by director David Twohy, whose atmosphere gets to be kind of uneven with its breaking up high momentum with somewhat blanding limp spells, but is much more controlled than it was in either "Chronicles" or "Pitch Black", to where the slow spells are never too dull, and the heights in intensity are indeed pretty tense, if not rather compelling. Yes, people, I said compelling, for although this story concept is minimalist, it remains promising, carrying the adult attitude that was missing from "Chronicles" and wasn't explored too thoroughly in "Pitch Black", and is done a little more justice here by some surprisingly sharp moments in dialogue, as well as by the aforementioned more inspired directorial execution by Twohy that brings the final product to the brink of rewarding, even though it doesn't have enough power to push this promising effort over. The film is at least very decisively the relative best installment in the "Riddick" series thus far, and for that, credit is due to the unexpected carriers of this film, as well as to a certain expected carrier of this and preceding "Riddick" films, because even though this film keeps consistent with the decent supporting performances that were only sometimes seen in either predecessor, this is still Vin Diesel's show, and he once again delivers on the intense presence and charisma that made the Richard B. Riddick character iconic, while incorporating the occasional dramatic touch to reveal a vulnerable side to this lead that makes him all the more engaging. I can at least be agreed that Diesel hasn't gotten rusty when it comes to portraying this thoroughly memorable icon of a lead, who may once again be stronger than the film he's attached to, - even though this film is stronger than either "Pitch Black" and "The Chronicles of Riddick" - but is ultimately just one of several strengths that bring the final product to the point of being, not only entertaining, but borderline rewarding.
When it's all said and done, at least for the next nine years, underdevelopment, familiarity and uneven pacing are somewhat subtle missteps that go a long way in emphasizing natural shortcomings just enough to push the final product just short of the rewarding status that it surprisingly could have relatively easily achieved, but there's still enough impressiveness to the production designs and visual effects, good looks to the cinematography, thrills to the action and meat to substance that goes brought to life by unexpectedly reasonably inspired direction and an expectedly very inspired lead performance by Vin Diesel for 2013's "Riddick" to stand as a viscerally thrilling and often compelling comeback for a cult classic sci-fi saga, even if it still can't fully evade the underwhelmingness that claimed its predecessors.
2.75/5 - Decent