Writer: Elaine EweWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"Pitch Black", "The Chronicles Of Riddick", Vin Diesel
David Twohy's "Riddick" is like an apology for the director's last disastrous Riddick film, "The Chronicles Of Riddick" and is more of a successor to "Pitch Black" rather than "The Chronicles Of Riddick". The film ties into the ending of the second movie, but with a few minor changes, such as - spoiler alert - Vaako (Karl Urban) living to betray and leave the titular anti-hero for dead on a desolate planet teeming with alien predators. As Riddick comments, it was time to return to being the unstoppable savage he once was, after being largely stoppable in "The Chronicles Of Riddick".
The film can easily be divided into three segments with three different genres: the first being Richard B. Riddick learning to survive in an overly hostile environment that is "Not Furya"; the second being Riddick's encounter with the mercenaries and subsequent outwit them akin to a horror film like "The Purge"; the last being Riddick and the remaining mercenaries banding together against the horrors in the dark.
Vin Diesel's gravelly-voiced Furyan is just like his many other gravelly-voiced roles such as Dominic Toretto in "The Fast And The Furious" film franchise, Xander Cage in "xXx", and Hugo Cornelius Toorop in "Babylon A.D.", but Diesel manages to make his character interesting enough for viewers to stay awake and root for him in spite of the film being half an hour too long. In contrast to fellow action film alumni Jason Statham, Diesel's anti-hero has enough expressions and charisma to carry out the first act alone (everything else is just CGI remember) onscreen with minimal action sequences. It is also to Twohy's credit for having cardboard cut-outs as supporting characters, because it allows us to rub our hands together in sadistic glee as they are massacred in turn, either by Riddick or by the alien predators.
Aside from feeling like "Pitch Black", the film also looks like the former, with cinematography David Eggby returning to the team. Despite the expanded world, the camera revolves very tightly around Diesel's Riddick, almost lovingly. We get to see Riddick naked (if you squint hard enough you can see his butt), Riddick performing surgery on himself, Riddick's muscles bulge, Riddick kicking ass, and the highlight of the film, Riddick playing with a dog or rather, alien dog! No wonder they removed the subtitle "Dead Man Stalking" from the film's title because it is all about Riddick, if not overly so. However, unlike "Pitch Black", whose special effects we blame on the low budget, the CGI effects in "Riddick" only serve to affirm that Twohy has no knack for hiring a special effects team, of which was first evident in "The Chronicles Of Riddick". The monster designs, while unique, are not intimidating or awe-inspiring enough, especially when they look like a cross between Cujo and zebras or Ridley Scott's "Alien" rejects.
Worse than the cheap green screen effects are the few inconsistencies between "Riddick" and "Pitch Black" that a casual viewer may not find irksome, but as a fan of the original cult film, it is appalling that Diesel would assert that it took five years to come up with "Riddick" because Twohy and he were so precise about it but in the film Big Johns (Matt Nable) said his son's ship crashed on a planet with two suns when there are actually three. Riddick then tells him that his son tried to sacrifice a boy to escape when Riddick knows that the boy was actually a girl.
"Riddick" is one of those movies that would have done better with a reduced running time and keeping a tighter focus on the plot and characters. The film manages to achieve this in its first two acts before making itself a target for feminists with its third act as Riddick leers and spouts lurid remarks at Katee Sackhoff's Dahl. Regardless of its many flaws, the film is still better and more relevant than the second, and if Twohy and Diesel continue to capitalize on what they do best, we wouldn't mind "The Chronicles Of Riddick 4".Cinema Online, 03 September 2013