Notable Cast: Vin Diesel, Matthew Nable, Jordi Molla, Katee Sackhoff, Dave Bautista, Bokeem Woodbine, with cameos by Karl Urban and Keri Hilson
Outside of the odd ability for "Pitch Black" to takes its B-grade foundations and convert them to an A-grade film, the Riddick series stumbled when it tried to advance itself into an A-grade series with the second entry "Chronicles Of Riddick." Not that "Chronicles" was the atrocity that so many people make it out to be, it's not a great film by any means, but the Riddick franchise was firmly rooted in the over the top and often silly realm of action series of old. It's a style and focus that you either understand or you don't...which is what makes the third entry of the franchise such an intriguing one. "Pitch Black" might have risen above its means and "Chronicles" might have tried too hard to be something it wasn't, but "Riddick" knows and caters to the fan base with such intensity and ferocity that if you're a fan it's hard not to find something you love.
Don't misunderstand me, it's hard not to be torn about the qualities of "Riddick." On one hand, the film is a massively entertaining film that caters to 'vulgar auteur' in me with terribly cheesy dialogue, super violent action sequences, and characters that focus on fitting stereotypes more than real people. This was what was promised to us and I'll be damned if "Riddick" doesn't deliver on this promise. On the other hand, all of those previously mentioned aspects make for a film that can hardly be taken seriously or judged on a 'classic' scale of good or bad. Just know that going into this film that you should probably check your coat and brain at the door and just except the film for what it is.
|"Now it's your turn Urban to save a dying franchise with Dredd!"|
|Riddick with his tiger-wolf-horse-hyena thing.|
Outside of the cast, the film has a little trouble giving us a cohesive narrative. "Riddick" feels like three films threaded together. The first third, my favorite portion, has a lone Riddick struggling to survive on a harsh planet populated by pissed off CGI creatures. The narration here is fun and the pacing brisk as we watch Riddick do what he does best, rise to the occasion to kick ass. While it does have some odd moments (a naked Riddick walking on the rocks was a little awkward), this first portion really sets a standard that the rest of the film has trouble following. The second act focuses on our mercenaries who come to find Riddick. They bicker and banter for a while and its fun to see Riddick go into stealth mode, but the film tends to drag a little here. This portion does, however, add a nice connection to the first film which I didn't see coming. The third act then goes straight for "Pitch Black" mode as the few surviving mercs and Riddick have to escape the planet from the evil scorpion aliens who intend to kill them. This is perhaps the most action oriented portion of the film and is easily the most exciting even if it still lacks a bit of the charm of the first act. While all three have their pros and cons, sometimes the transitions between the three feel a bit forced.
Written By Matt Reifschneider