Review by Jude Felton
Way back in the day, around 2003(ish), Vin Diesel decided to make the sequel to the rather good horror/sci-fi/actioner, Pitch Black, entitled The Chronicles of Riddick (2004). He chose to do this instead of returning for the sequel of The Fast and the Furious. Not the best movie ever, seeing as though The Chronicles of Riddick was pretty poor, and The Fast and the Furious franchise moved on to the mega-millions at the Box Office.
Of course, that is all history and Diesel soon returned to the Fast and Furious films, first in a cameo in 2006’s Tokyo Drift, and then back into the starring roles alongside the late Paul Walker.
Now Diesel is back, as Riddick, in the role of the film’s title, and the good news is that it is a far better film than Chronicles. It’s not a perfect film, far from it, but in terms of entertainment and spectacle it’s a decent way to spend a couple of hours.
In this film Riddick finds himself stranded on a rather savage planet, with only a weird dog-like companion to keep him company. After activating an alert beacon, he finds himself visited by two ships, neither of which he really wants to see. On top of that, the planet he is on, hosts all manner of vicious and hungry critters.
Riddick is glossy, big-budget fluff. It is a B movie that has had a lot of money spent on it, and for the most part it’s an entertaining flick. Well, that is when Diesel is on screen. When the action veers away from the title character it does shift down a gear or ten, and this is when it becomes a little tiresome. Fortunately, these moments don’t last for too long, and it’s not long before Riddick is wise-cracking and kicking ass.
Vin Diesel seems to finally have settled into this role, and most importantly he does seem to be at last having a little fun with it. As a film it doesn’t offer up all that much new, but it does look bloody nice and the action comes thick and fast.
Personally, I think that if you are a fan of the franchise you will definitely enjoy this. As I mentioned, it is far better than Chronicles, but not as good as the claustrophobic Pitch Black. However, this film and Pitch Black, although in the same world, with the same lead character, are different kettles of fish, which is a good thing. Who wants to see the same film twice?
Riddick sure isn’t perfect, as it is a little uneven in places, but Vin Diesel does rock the lead role and kicks plenty of ass, both human and otherwise, which helps to sweep the lesser moments under the carpet. If I were to give movies marks out of ten, I’d give this a 6 (7 if I was drinking). Worth a butcher’s, that’s for sure.
Riddick is released by Universal on Blu-ray and DVD on January 14th.