Riddick

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Five years after The Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick has become increasingly uneasy in his role as Lord Marshall of the Necromonger fleet. His refusal to swear into the Necromonger faith has caused dissent among his subjects. Riddick strikes a deal with Commander Vaako; the location of Furya and a ship to take him there, in exchange for Vaako becoming the next Lord Marshall. Led by Vaako’s aide, Krone, Riddick and a group of Necromongers arrive on a desolate planet. Recognizing it is not Furya, Riddick kills most of his escort when they attempt to assassinate him. In the chaos, Krone causes a landslide and buries Riddick alive.

Emerging from the rubble with a fractured leg, Riddick manages to reset and splint his broken leg and fend off native predators: vulture-like flying animals, viper-like swarms of water animals and packs of jackal-like beasts. Needing time to heal, Riddick hides himself within some abandoned ruins. Riddick later sees a vast savanna beyond some rocky cliffs, but the only passage through is guarded by poisonous, scorpion-like creatures called “Mud Demons” which inhabit several muddy pools. As he builds an immunity to the Mud Demon’s venom, Riddick improvises melee weapons, while raising and training an orphaned jackal-beast pup. The two eventually succeed in defeating the Mud Demons and reach the savannah. Riddick soon realizes a massive series of approaching storms are unleashing countless more of the Demons, who must keep their skin wet at all times to survive. Needing to get off-world, Riddick activates an emergency beacon in an empty mercenary station, which broadcasts his identity and presence on the planet.

Two ships promptly arrive in answer to the beacon; the first a group of bush-league bounty hunters led by a violent and unstable man named Santana, and another better-equipped team of professional mercenaries led by a man who is not initially identified but is named Boss Johns. Riddick has left them a blood message vowing death to every merc unless they leave one of their ships and depart the planet on the other. Rubio, Nunez and Falco are killed during the first night, forcing a reluctant Santana to cooperate with Johns. Riddick later manages to steal power nodes from each of the teams’ ships and then approaches Johns and Santana to strike a deal for their return. However, the conversation turns out to be an ambush. Johns’ second-in-command, Dahl, shoots Riddick with powerful tranquilizers. In an effort to defend his master, Riddick’s alien jackal brutally attacks Santana, but is shot multiple times in the throat.

Back at the Merc Station, Johns interrogates Riddick about the final fate of his son, William J. Johns (the mercenary from Pitch Black). When the storms finally reach the station, large numbers of Mud Demons emerge from the muddy ground, and besiege the station, killing Lockspur and Moss. Johns agrees to release Riddick in order to locate the hidden power cells. Santana stops him and attempts to kill Riddick, who is worth twice as much dead as he is alive. Riddick instead beheads Santana thus keeping his earlier promise to kill the merc and avenge the death of his pet.

They then fight their way to the ship which houses the hover bikes with Vargas being killed. Johns, Santana’s man Diaz, and Riddick leave the ship together on hover bikes on a mission to retrieve the power nodes. During their journey, Diaz knocks John’s bike over the side, causing him to crash. He is then picked up by Riddick. After they reached the power nodes, Riddick reveals to Johns about his son’s addiction to morphine and a spineless attempt by his son to utilize a child as ‘bait’ for the hostile animals on the world they were stranded on ten years prior. With both of them distracted, Diaz attempts to kill Riddick and Johns. Riddick fights and kills him, but not before unintentionally damaging the only working hover bike (Diaz had already disabled the other one).

Riddick and Boss Johns fend off a seemingly endless horde of Demons while running back to the station. Riddick is severely wounded. Johns takes both nodes and abandons Riddick. After treating his wound, Riddick begins to fight a futile battle against the advancing Demons. Just when it seems he is about to be killed, Johns arrives in one of the ships and shoots the creatures while Dahl descends to rescue Riddick. Riddick then takes the other ship and—as he flies away from the planet—he is stopped by Johns in the other ship. Johns asks Riddick where he will go, but thinks better and decides to not know. Riddick praises Johns for being a better man than his son and departs into deep space. In the theatrical version, this was the end of the movie, while in the extended version, there is an additional scene which takes place aboard the Necromonger ship.

REVIEW:

Vin Diesel really loves the character of Riddick. He has had a major part in everything from the design of the guy to scripting at least one of the films. It is refreshing to see an actor put that much work into one character, even if it is one that isn’t as popular as he could/should be. Riddick brings the night vision having badass back for another adventure, but do audiences want to see him?

What is this about?

In this extraterrestrial sequel to The Chronicles of Riddick, Vin Diesel returns as the grim antihero, who finds himself marooned on a lonely planet. Hoping an emergency beacon will save him, Riddick instead attracts deadly aliens and mercenaries.

What did I like?

Back to basics. There is a reason Riddick hasn’t been on the screen in quite some time. Well, two reason, actually. First is because Vin Diesel has been busy with the Fast & Furious franchise. Second, anyone that know what an abomination and insult The Chronicles of Riddick was will tell you how much of a miracle it is that this film even made it past the rumor stage. Thankfully, Diesel and the writers were able to take this back to what worked so well for this guy back in Pitch Black. Not to steal a comparison from another movie review site, but he is like Wolverine. The first time we saw him in X-Men (this happens in film and print), he was a bad ass, but they watered him down and “caged the beast”, if you will, with the second film, effectively taking away everything that had worked so well.

Intimidation plays a factor. These big bad mercenaries land on this planet and are more than determined to collect the bounty on Riddick. However, they find collecting that bounty is easier said than done. He single-handedly, well with a bit of distraction by his alien jackal pet. They never do manage to catch him, so this leads to Riddick walking up to the mercenaries’ camp. After a pretty intense showdown, they put him in chains and interrogate him. After all this is done, he manages to get a machete lodge it in the ceiling, then when it falls, he balances it on his foot and then kicks into one of the mercenaries’ throats, slicing it in half. All this is done in 5 seconds! Not bad for a guy who can’t see in the daylight, huh?

One-liners. The previous two Riddick films were so serious that they were no fun. I don’t know about you, but I need some levity in my sci-fi action. Luckily, Vin Diesel knows how to deliver some quick quips. His emotionless deadpan delivery makes these one-liners all the more funny. Also, it should be noted that the writers were smart enough to not go overboard with the jokes and inserted a couple here and there just to lighten the mood.

What didn’t I like?

Dry run. I went into this, based on opinions from others who had seen this already, expecting a fun action flick. There were fun moments and the action is there, but nowhere near as many as I was led to believe. The whole first hour or so, give or take a few minutes, had me half asleep and looking at my watch (besides the fact that it needed to be reset because of Daylight Savings Time). If I would’ve seen that in the theater, I would have been pissed that I wasted money to watch. Thankfully, it does pick up, but I’m not particularly sure it makes up for the beginning scenes.

Let it go. No one liked The Chronicles of Riddick, and yet this film shoehorns a plot device involving Karl Urban’s character. I think the extended version also has a scene at the end of the film. Thing is, without those scenes, this could very well have taken place anywhere in Riddick’s timeline. Maybe they should have taken a hint from G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and avoid any mention of its predecessor except for what was absolutely needed.

Starbuck. Katee Sackhoff is not bad looking, as most people would agree. There was some hype about her “nude” scene. It was nothing more than a quick shot of her left breast. That isn’t my complaint. What I have issue with is how she is used. I can’t really picture Sackhoff as some sort of damsel in distress. As a matter of fact, give her dark hair and we may have a proper Wonder Woman, rather than the stick that will be masquerading as Diana in Batman vs. Superman. What is the issue, though? Well, it seems to me that this is a character very similar to what she did on Battlestar Galactica. I don’t think she should be typecast in these similar roles, though. This is something very similar to what I said regarding Lisa Kudrow in my review of Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. However, Kudrow has gone on to break the mold and create a bevy of her own characters, Sackhoff seems to be destined to do the same thing over and over again, even in her voice work.

As I sit here thinking of what I ultimately thought of this film, one thing comes to mind. Vin Diesel really loves this characters and wants audiences to embrace him. That is fine and dandy, I just don’t think this is the film to bring in new fans. That being said, I could be wrong. While this film didn’t light up the box office, it did stick around for a few weeks, so maybe there is more interest there than presumed. Do I recommend this? Yes, but not strongly. It is good enough, but like the other films in the franchise, it doesn’t do anything to make Riddick a memorable character.

3 out of 5 stars

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One Response to “Riddick”

  1. […] TV for so many years, Katee Sackhoff is also making her jump to theaters. We last saw her in Riddick, playing the typical hard-ass chick that she made so famous when she was on Battlestar Galactica. […]

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