[alert-announce] Verdict: 2.5 stars out of 5. This Riddick film is like all of its predecessors: cheesy, silly to the point of being stupid, and yet somehow eminently watchable. Diesel is clearly the star of this franchise, given that everyone else around him is so poorly fleshed out, they might as well not have names. Meanwhile, Katee Sackhoff a.k.a. Kara Starbuck is stuck in a movie that clearly doesn’t deserve her. [/alert-announce]
Riddick (Vin Diesel) is stuck on some godforsaken planet. Riddick meets a group of people who want to kill him. Riddick kills them one by one. Strange creatures may or may not start to appear. Riddick saves everyone and wins admirers along the way. Riddick wins.
There, I’ve just saved you at least $7, depending on whether you have a SAFRA/PA card. Now, go spend it on something worthwhile, like a comic.
In all seriousness, this is the third installment of the Riddick vehicle for Vin Diesel, the man who would be Groot/Thanos/some Marvel character. While it is debatable whether Diesel can actually act – he did do very well in Boiler Room (2000) though – the exaggerated tough guy persona that he plays here and in the Fast and Furious movies is perfect for him. And there’s no denying the financial viability of the Riddick movies. The previous two installments – Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick – made a combined total of almost US$100 million in the US alone, and off comparatively small budgets too.
It opens with Riddick awaking in some hellish landscape, stunningly realised in CG. He’s thirsty and alone, his leg is broken, and there are exotic creatures all around waiting to kill him. “There are bad days. And then there are legendary bad days,” he mumbles in his mumbly voice, which is supposed to tell you how tough he is. And with no dialogue for the first 15 mins, he does surprisingly well in his toughness as he fends off the dangers all around him. By the way, did we mention that Riddick is a tough guy?
It then grows increasingly preposterous as Riddick fishes, fashions cruel looking weapons and decides he needs to kill some nasty looking creatures in order to prove his manhood. He even gains a strange dog-zebra hybrid for a pet, whom he learns to love in his tough guy way (awww). But the tough guy just can’t be left alone in his toughness for long – two separate groups of wannabe tough guys show up to try and kill him.
They include Diesel’s future (?) Guardians of the Galaxy cast mate Dave Batista, and of course, Katee Sackhoff, the only other (semi) big name in the cast. Sadly, she is reduced to baring some skin, throwing a few punches and spouting lines like “I don’t f*** guys. Occasionally I f*** them up if they need it.” And if Sackhoff’s character truly does play for the other team as she says, there is an uncomfortable hint of lesbian ‘curing’ towards the end. You’ll know it when you see it.
The tough guys trying to hunt down the tough guy turns into a sort of absorbing creature feature, except with Riddick as the monster. Then strange things start happening, and everything goes to hell in a hand basket. A predictable showdown ensues where everyone admits that they can’t do without Riddick, and lots of guns are fired with stuff exploding. It’s at this point that your brain should go into hibernate mode, and stop asking logical questions.
As brooding alpha males go, Vin Diesel is admittedly charismatic and has lots of presence. I’m just not sure that it’s worth paying to watch a two hour movie centred entirely on him.
Riddick is playing in Singapore theatres now. It also opens in Taiwan and India today, and Australia on September 12. You can see a full list of worldwide release dates here.
Have you watched Riddick? Tell us what you think of it!