Director David Twohy‘s “Pitch Black” introduced the ‘most dangerous man in the universe’, Richard B. Riddick (played by Vin Diesel); a man who is driven by the basic instinct for survival that he could pretty much adapt to any environment and combat any creatures that lurk within. Yes, it was a beginning of a franchise that somehow forgot what made “Pitch Black” a fun guilty pleasure with a bigger budgeted “Chroniclesof Riddick”. The first film sparked my interest while the second movie killed whatever interest I used to have.
Well, Vin Diesel and director-writer David Twohy has returned with a third movie. It seeks to recreate the elements that made “Pitch Black” a fun guilty pleasure and re-establishes its successful formula. This formula worked because it was mostly set in one place and it gave focused on its characters. 2013‘s “Riddick” picks up sometime after the terrible second movie, with the title character being the brief ruler of the Necromongers. Riddick is betrayed and left for dead in a God-forsaken, seemingly barren planet whose only living things are ravenous creatures. The opening act is nearly wordless; as Riddick tends to a broken leg, tames a dog-hyena-like creature and develops an immunity to the poison wielded by some water creatures. The writing was able to connect with the opening act in establishing just how good Riddick was in adapting, and in some ways, he becomes ‘born again’.
The second act begins Riddick goes on foot to the other side of the planet where life seems to thrive a little better, and finds a mercenary station. Here, he activates a beacon that brings bounty hunters who are after him; Riddick seeks to steal a ship to get off planet, and he ends up with two groups with two ships; one led by Santana (Jordi Molla) and another led by Johns (Matt Nable), who is after Riddick for a different reason other than bounty. But soon, the humans assembled realize that they may need to work together instead of against each other to survive against the storm…a storm of bad weather and monsters.
I do have to admit that the screenplay took little risks and its core plot was pretty standard. The screenplay does manage to introduce some colorful characters though, and these characters made the development of its story much stronger than I expected. These characters had a place all their own in the story. They are shown as characters who did not seem like ‘fillers’ and fodder. Santana was a mercenary, too rough around the edges while Johns was the more sober one. The company they keep speak a lot for their group (birds of the same feather flock together), how they use their gear and outfits, and how they approach certain things about the hunt. They were both experienced groups but they were very different. I liked the way the script played on the other characters’ development as they seem to be ‘thinking’ and they discuss the situation at hand. Here, the dialogue moves the film’s momentum as they sometimes bicker and argue, the two groups do not like each other, and yet they seem to follow a code among mercs. There is also a very hot-lesbian (is she or isn’t she?) badass called Dahl (Katee Sackhoff) who just stood out.
Here, Riddick's time on-screen becomes limited in large areas, and yet he remained the central focus as the mercenaries talk about him. This serves to further develop his legend and why he is one of the most feared outlaws in this universe. I remember a similar trick done with “The Third Man”. While the supporting characters talk about him, Riddick is build up in the viewers’ minds, that he does become someone who is more legend than man. They try to search and engage, and Riddick always appeared a step ahead, as the mercenaries fell prey to the hunter in the darkness. The dimensions of the of the supporting characters may feel standard, but their developments came from how they thought and just how they saw the situation.
I do have to admit that the main draw of this film would have to be the creatures and its set pieces. Yes, they weren’t exactly original lookingnor were they impeccable, but this also serves to create a sense of attachment to its viewers. This was a harsh world that is different and yet, it feels more like the same. The water monsters looked inspired by the creatures in “Pitch Black” and the zebra-like-hyena-inspired dog creature established an area of ‘pecking order’ in this harsh planet. The film did have some pretty clever kill scenes, and the film did have a good number of bloody action. It did define the stakes involved and even manages to wrap some things up from “Pitch Black” and opens up a possibility of another sequel.
Twohy directed films such as “A Perfect Getaway” and “Below”, films with simple goals and ideas with a light budget. “Riddick” is one other film with simple ideas and a modest budget; it is a welcome return to what made the first movie work in the first place. True, the script did have a couple of areas that felt rough that they required a suspension of disbelief; but by keeping its ambitions simple, and aiming lower to charm the B-movie fans, “Riddick” becomes a rather entertaining film that it became just as fun as “Pitch Black”. Twohy knew what he wanted to do, and I do think he is better with a modest budget. Believe it or not, I found “Riddick” to be a lot more tolerable than the supposed summer blockbusters this year. That itself may be an accomplishment (and I am not even a fan of Vin Diesel). Timid Recommendation. [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Please "Like" Film and Movies and Keep the Economy strong....LOL!! My Interests: Movies, Anime, History, Martial Arts, Comics, Entertainment,Cooking, Things I don't … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.