Early on in Vin Diesel’s new film Riddick, his character makes the assumption that the trouble he’s got himself into was because he became too civilized. I couldn’t agree more with the goggled anti-hero. Pitch Black was a smart Sci-Fi cult classic that introduced you to the homicidal space fugitive Riddick. Once a prisoner, Riddick is let out of his chains to help a shipwrecked crew escape a deserted planet full of carnivorous alien creatures. Diesel’s Riddick was cold, cruel and a skilled killer who the audience cheered for. Then came the mess that was the PG 13 rated The Chronicles of Riddick with a Riddick playing politics and losing the cool factor of a villain posing as a hero. Now Diesel is back with the R rated Riddick hoping to find our anti-hero’s lost, ruthless aggression.
Riddick has our favorite wanted man stranded again on a hostile planet. His buddies from The Chronicles of Riddick decided that Riddick had to go, but everybody knows Riddick is a survivor. I really enjoyed seeing Riddick play the cast-away, being stripped down to his bare essentials and fighting monsters with his homemade bone shivs. The hammer-head aliens from Pitch Black have been replaced this time around by an amphibious velociraptor/scorpion hybrids. Taking on monsters is nothing new to the Riddick franchise. It may not be original, but if it’s not broke then why fix it.
What I didn’t like is after Riddick’s first monster encounters, I felt Riddick turned into Disney’s Swiss Family Riddick. Riddick befriends a space wolf and we are treated to goofy scenes right out of Turner and Hooch. The scenes are dumb and out-of-place in a film like Riddick. I thought we had moved on from cute and cuddly Riddick. That’s not what we want in our anti-heroes. Plus, the fact that the CGI space wolf in Riddick looks worse than Scooby Doo doesn’t help the experience much either.
It’s not just monsters, space puppies and old silver eyes in Riddick. A band of mercenaries come calling for the bounty on Riddick’s head. The bounty hunters include Sci-Fi queen Katie Sackhoff and former WWE wrestler Dave Bautista. The human characters are really just there for alien food and to fall victim to Riddick’s jabs, both physically and verbally. I will say that the characters in Riddick are better than any of the players in the last sequel, but that’s not saying much. That really sums up my feelings towards Riddick. The film improved from the horrible Chronicles of Riddick, but just seemed to be a replay of Pitch Black in some sense. Like I said before, nothing original, but it still had its moments… even with the silly space dog. Overall, I give Riddick 2.5 out of 4 potatoes.
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