|RIDDICK (director/writer: David Twohy; screenwriter: based on characters created by Jim and Ken Wheat; cinematographer: David Eggby; editor: Tracy Adams; music: Graeme Revell; cast: Vin Diesel (Riddick), Jordi Mollà (Santana), Matt Nable (Boss Johns), Katee Sackhoff (Dahl), Dave Bautista (Diaz), Raoul Trujillo (Lockspur), Bokeem Woodbine (Moss), Karl Urban (Vaako), Nolan Gerard Funk (Luna), Conrad Pla (Vargas); Runtime: 119; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Vin Diesel/Ted Field; Universal Pictures; 2013)|
third Riddick film in the series is not the charm."
by Dennis Schwartz
third Riddick film in the series is not the charm,
though some might find its futuristic sci-fi hokum
trappings entertaining for a B-film only in it for a
few laughs and to showoff a surly cool tough-guy who
takes no shit from anyone. It follows with far less
expectations than the weaker Pitch Black (2000) and
the commercial flop The Chronicles of Riddick (2004).
Director and writer David Twohy ("The
Fugitive"/"Waterworld"), directed all three episodes,
does more with less in this $38 million
budget version. In my opinion, the best of
the series and, at least, brings the franchise back
from the dead.
begins with the shit-kicking trash-talking wanted
badass killer convict Riddick (Vince Diesel),
who in search of
his long-lost home planet Furya is betrayed and left
stranded and for dead by his deceiving escorts on a
sun-scorched desert planet that's not Furya. It's an
unnamed uninhabitable rocky planet, where he and his
loyal CGI created almost domesticated jackal pet are
fighting daily for survival against alien
creatures--some kind of hybrid jackals (like the pet)
and giant scorpions--and the stifling heat. Riddick
finally escapes to an outpost mountain cave
headquarters created by prior galactic visitors and in
order to get off the planet before a deadly storm hits
triggers an emergency beacon that brings to the planet
the rocket ships of two rival groups of bounty
hunters, called Mercs, who are after either the big
bounty reward for him (doubled if dead) or personal
alone on the planet, for the film's first 30 minutes,
Riddick, the universe's most wanted outlaw, covers for
us his POV of his dire situation with a nostalgic
mumbled voice-over you might have had in a 1950s film
One Merc group is a ragtag bunch of thugs led by the slimy villainous Santana (Jordi Molla), a greedy sadist who wants the reward dough and to cut off Riddick's head and take it home in a box. The other Merc group is a more professional one led by the no-nonsense, well-equipped and in uniform Boss Johns (Matt Nable), who is on a personal vendetta to find out how his son was killed on this planet when he was in Riddick's company and therefore wants Riddick alive.
When the severe storm is
the horizon Riddick, fighting with homemade weapons,
and his well-armed rival pursuers, are all forced to
work together if they want to make it safely off this
hostile planet in time.
While the boys try to
figure out how to deal with matters and return home in
one piece, the lone female in the group, Johns' blonde
statuesque hotshot icy sniper, the ass-kicking second
in command, Dahl (Katee
Sackhoff), sounds off where her character stands
in all the action by saying: “I don’t fuck guys.
Occasionally, I fuck them up if they need it.” Sackhoff has the pic's best
line and steals every scene she's in.
There are many vapid interchangeable characters easily mistaken for one another, much cartoonish gore (it's what works best), mostly unfunny acerbic wit, unremarkable CGI effects and a dry desert antihero fugitive on-the-run story that lacks not only intelligence and drama but a reason for me to care if the franchise continues. I've seen enough. I don't really care whether or not a fugitive like Riddick can ever go home again--which is the note it leaves us with, as its climax prepares us for another episode if it gets a good box-office to be bankrolled again.
REVIEWED ON 9/6/2013 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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