Vin Diesel stars in the third theatrical release in the popular Chronicles Of Riddick franchise, this time simply entitled, Riddick. Diesel agreed to appear in the Fast And The Furious franchise to obtain the rights for Riddick from Universal. He also had to re-mortgage his house to help raise funds to make this film. Did he make the right decision?
Riddick opens up five years after the last instalment from the franchise, The Chronicles Of Riddick, where the main character has become the Lord Marshal, leader of the Necromongers. However, not everyone is happy that this outsider has risen to power and will not show any signs of their belief. There have been several attempts on his life.
Karl Urban returns in a brief appearance as Vaarko. He makes an agreement to take Riddick back to his home-world of Furya as only he knows of the planets location. All physical star charts have since been destroyed. In return for this favour, Vaarko will take the reign of the Necromongers as Lord Marshall.
However, everything is not as it seems and Riddick is double crossed and left to die on a desolate planet consisting of nothing more than desert, scrub land and a range of alien creatures.
Riddick quickly adapts to his new surroundings and learns to turn the environment and its creatures to his advantage. In an almost dialogue free sequence, we watch as he fashions tools and weapons in order to defeat a creature which looks like a cross between a scorpion and a velociraptor that is blocking the only exit from the rock valley.
The reason for his desperate escape was to reach the signs of civilisation he could see in the far distance and when he gets there he discovers a deserted mercenary outpost. Riddick activates the outpost’s emergency beacon calling for help and to alert other mercenaries that he is there.
Its only a few hours before a mercenary ship appears. They arrives at the outpost and discover it empty except for a message painted on the wall in blood. Riddick will let them live if he can take their ship.
The over confident team of killers scoff at this request and as night falls, Riddick does what he does best. He starts to take out the mercenaries one by one until they are all interrupted by the appearance of another mercenary drop-ship.
This second team is led by a man named Johns, the father of the mercenary from the first film of the series, Pitch Black. He wants to talk to Riddick believing that he is responsible for his son’s death.
Riddick makes a new deal to allow the mercenaries to take one ship leaving the other for himself but this of course doesn’t go down well. Riddick allows them time to decide with the deadline of an incoming rain storm.
The mercenaries wait too long and not only do they have Riddick to deal with but also the scorpion like alien creatures as well. The torrential rain has allowed them to travel the normally dry dusty ground to the mercenary outpost and they want in at their prey.
Riddicks run time is just shy of two hours but for me it felt like a lot longer and this was just the first of the issues I had with this film.
I have watched the previous films in the series so I had a vague idea of what was happening at the beginning of the film. Everyone was speaking is hushed growled tones and I found it difficult to understand what was really going on.
The film perked up when Riddick was abandoned on the planet and I enjoyed seeing adapt to the planet and bringing up the alien equivalent of a dog as one of his own. It was a nice image to see Riddick with a faithful companion rather than travelling alone not unlike previous instalments.
However once the action moved to the mercenary outpost, everything became a rehash of what has come before. Riddick killing the enemy using stealth and shadows and even a kill or two that would surely be impossible but looks cool for the screen.
The inclusion of the Johns character was a nice plot point to tie this film to the rest of the series but in the end only served to make this film very similar to the original.
Vin Diesel loves the character of Riddick and it shows and I could find nothing wrong with his performance. The character on the other hand was irksome. There’s only so many times I can watch Riddick acquire a severe injury in some form and then carry on fighting as if nothing has happened.
The only other recognizable face in this film was Katee Sackoff who most readers will remember as Starbuck from the successful re-imagined Battlestar Galatica, and the final season of 24. She portrays a tough mercenary who,
“Doesn’t fuck guys! Maybe just fucks men up once in a while when I need to!”
But the end of the film plays out a corny joke where she changes her mind based on what she’s seen of Riddick over the last few hours.
As I mentioned earlier, the film’s running time is just short of two hours and in my opinion this film really needed to be trimmed down a little more to make for a swifter action piece. If your a big Riddick fan then maybe you’ll enjoy this one but for everyone else, approach with caution.