First it was Pitch Black in 2000, which I consider to be a classic sci-fi film. It was then followed with the bigger budgeted The Chronicles of Riddick in 2004. Now, after a 9 year hiatus, the famous space outlaw has returned in the next installment appropriately titled, Riddick. This time around the writer/director of the entire trilogy, David Twohy, took everything that worked with the first installment and brought it back to this stripped down version of the character. The Chronicles of Riddick was very expansive and made on a much larger scale, but it was not received as well as Pitch Black. I think it was this lack of response that caused this smaller scale sequel. While I agree with the majority that the first film was much better, that doesn’t mean I want another film almost identical to it.
I think they should have taken elements of both previous films and then thrown in some new story arcs for a familiar but ultimately new kind of sci-fi adventure. Instead we are given a movie that is, in so many ways, exactly like the first. Having said that I did enjoy this new movie but it could have been a lot better with some newer elements brought in. Too much familiarity is a bad thing and thus the movie suffers because of it. Featured in both films are bounty hunters sent after a wanted outlaw who are interrupted in their mission by ravenous creatures whose only motivation is to kill. Other than a little back story about what transpired after the events of Chronicles, the films are almost exactly the same.
After Riddick (Vin Diesel) is made Lord Marshal of the Necromongers he is betrayed by Vaako (Karl Urban) and becomes banished to a desolate planet with seemingly no hope for survival. Anything living on this planet acts as if it wants nothing more than to kill Riddick, but with such a will to live on he makes it to a part of the planet with potential to live on. It isn’t long before he sees a threat that not even he can survive and so he sends out an emergency beacon that will certainly attract the unsavory kind otherwise known as mercenaries. As they clash with Riddick the impending threat has made its way to their “doorstep”. This sudden change in plans forces the mercenaries and Riddick to join forces if they want any chance of surviving this horrifying adversary. What starts as every man for themselves becomes an enemy of my enemy is my friend sort of situation. Can they put their differences aside long enough to survive or will they meet their demise at the hands (or teeth) of this unknown entity?
Focusing on something other than similar stories, it’s the silly lines these actors are forced to say that brings this down yet another level; the word cartoonish comes to mind. While I expected this to have a certain level of cheese it still manages to push what I’m willing to accept and still consider it a good movie. If I wasn’t a fan of the first two films I don’t think this would have clicked with me at all. This is a franchise where most of its success is from a cult following and without this following I don’t think there would have even been a second film, let alone a trilogy. Someone discovering this character for the first time with this new film might not be so willing to overlook the weaknesses it certainly has. This franchise aims to do one thing and that is to bring entertaining action with likable characters and in this regard I think it succeeds. It’s debatable whether the weaknesses out weight the strengths or vice versa, but at least for the fans of this character they will have a good time with the newest addition of the franchise. I can’t fail to mention the other standout of the movie, Katee Sackhoff, who holds her own as the only female in the film and oh my goodness does she look lovely even showing some much appreciated skin. Aside from her stunning looks, she is also the badass that Battlestar Galactica fans have come to know her as.
Another complaint, however small, would have to be the CGI. It is very sub par and even sometimes distracts from what it supposed to be happening on the screen. Again this is a small complaint and doesn’t hurt it greatly. I’ve heard that when trying to gather funds for the production of the film it was a tough go of things. After lackluster results from Chronicles, Universal was unwilling to fund another Riddick outing saying that the return from the 2nd film was not enough to approve another sequel. It is believed that when Universal was doing test screenings for the third film in the Fast & Furious franchise that it wasn’t going well. Someone decided that a cameo from Vin Diesel at the end of F&F 3 would boost the positive ratings and offered a sum to Diesel to make a then minor return to the franchise. Diesel then used this sway to convince Universal to give the rights to the Riddick character to Diesel’s production company, One Race Productions, in return for his cameo. After this deal was made the movie that is now Riddick was officially on its way to the big screen. So if it wasn’t for Diesel this sequel would have never happened, whether that’s a good thing or not remains to be seen. I personally think it was a good film and a welcomed sequel to the hopefully not yet completed story line of this character. If this film does well it will not be the last of the space outlaw known as Riddick.
Rated R For: strong violence, language and some sexual content/nudity
Run Time: 119 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Vin Diesel, Katee Sackhoff, Jordi Molla, Matt Nable, Dave Bautista, Karl Urban
Directed By: David Twohy
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 2.5/ Acting: 3/ Directing: 3.5/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 3 Nerdskulls