"Riddick" a great film for those who love action
Published: Monday, September 9, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 22:09
It appears that the third time is the charm for the “Riddick” franchise. While the first two films (“Pitch Black” and “The Chronicles of Riddick”) were fun films, we cannot really say they were very good. We cannot say they were bad either. The films had flaws, but the Riddick character and Vin Diesel’s performance is what really created the cult following around the character. The two video games where players could play Riddick were probably more successful critically and commercially because of this. Once players could play the antihero in a violent and intriguing storyline, fans got what they wanted.
Vin Diesel is not the great actor that we have come to recently accept Dwayne Johnson as, but he pulls it off in Riddick. The character was probably written for and around him, but it works. The whole story is smaller than “The Chronicles of Riddick” and brought back to the basics.
After being betrayed by the religious army he became king of at the end of “Chronicles,” Riddick has been left for dead on a deserted planet. The first half hour we see Riddick fighting monsters, tending to his wounds and fighting the elements. He does not speak much, but we get an insight into the character from his few narrations and actions. Riddick befriends an alien dog and brings it along with him as his pet. The loyal companion was one of the best things about the film, giving the viewer some comic relief and a needed friend to give Riddick’s character some depth. When Riddick stumbles across a bounty hunter station, he sets off an emergency beacon in an attempt to steal a ship off the planet. He warns the hunters to take one ship and leave him one if they want to live. We all see where this is going, but we want to see it anyways.
Once the hunters arrive, our focus turns from Riddick to watching them try to catch him as Riddick becomes a slasher-film killer, taking them off one by one. The difference is we’re rooting for him as some of the hunters are scum. One group wants Riddick dead so that the bounty is doubled. They are led by Santana, a violent rapist who we see release one of his abused captives just to shoot her dead. The other group wants him alive and is led by an older hunter who seems to have a personal vendetta with Riddick. As you can imagine they eventually are forced to team up. While the switch of character focus was bothersome at first as I wanted to see more of Riddick, the hunters were well developed and interesting enough that I was still entertained. It was also interesting to see Riddick from their perspective for a while to remind us of the bad guy he really is even if he is a cool villain.
Riddick has its flaws and is by no means a great film, but it is a great action movie. It provides that guilty pleasure film that fans are looking for. Scaling back the project from the previous film works well for two reasons. First, the story is simple and can focus on characters rather than vast space worlds where the director seemed overwhelmed. Secondly, on a smaller budget we can get the hard R-rated action film we deserve. The dialogue has been criticized, but for a film that is already destined to gain a cult following it is exactly what you expect. There are themes introduced and not explored well and some characters lacking development, but what it really comes down to is the action sequences and the plot. “Riddick” is still cool and that is really enough for me to forgive the flaws. It is a movie made for action fans. If you are a fan of sci-fi action/horror or enjoy a good action movie then you will have fun with “Riddick.” If not, then you knew what you were getting yourself into.