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Riddick: A Legendary Bad Day!

Sep 15, 2013

The new Vin Diesel film is the third in the series of sci-fi /actions films based around his character of Riddick. I was a big fan of the original low-budget Pitch Black (2000), it was Vin Diesel’s character in that first movie that turned an alien monster movie into something really original. In ‘Pitch Black’ a prisoner transport ship crash lands on an alien planet and the survivors need to contend with bloodthirsty winged creatures that feast at night. Vin Diesel’s Riddick character was the perfect anti-hero moving from psycho prisoner in chains to the remaining crew’s savior without ever getting sentimental or losing his edge.

The character of Riddick was revived in the Chronicles of Riddick (2004). It’s basic story revolved around an invading empire called the Necromongers, intent on converting or wiping out all humans in the universe. It was a big budget costume space epic (even Judi Dench was in it!) that left me yawning despite the Riddick character still being cool and kicking ass when needed. Chronicles failed at the box office, which is why Universal Pictures was not keen on doing a third film. Diesel took it upon himself to purchase the rights and spent nearly a decade raising enough cash to ensure the character of Riddick did not fade away completely.

I actually thought the look of the new film was great. The inhospitable planet that Riddick finds he is marooned on is vividly depicted, all smoking fissures and rivers of volcanic mud. The problem is that the pace is really slow, too many extraneous scenes that don’t go anywhere. There is a long build up toward the main action as Riddick fights off computer generated beasts (and even makes friends with one of them!). When the voiceover of Riddick exclaims that “There are bad days, and then there are legendary bad days…this was one of those.” It was hard not to fidget in your seat a little and wonder if you really wanted to stick around for this bad day.

You get the definite feeling very early on in the movie that Vin Diesel had way too much sway over the director, the writer, casting and everything else connected to the project. This is a good example of the creative team being run into the ground by the ego of an action hero with cement in his head. (At one point we get an image of a completely naked Riddick silhouetted against the planet’s desolate landscape at night! Whose idea was that? Why exactly did we need to see that? Put your clothes back on yer fat bastard!).

In the end I found myself both offended and bored by the new Riddick movie. The dialogue is pure knucklehead. Slapstick sucker punches and rape jokes aimed at the token woman, (bounty hunter Dahl played by Katee Sackhoff). All the macho posturing from Vin Diesel and the other characters never seem to advance the story or make you like any of the characters, which made it all seem pretty pointless and time wasting. I found myself hoping everyone; including Riddick (who I normally would cheer for) would die quick painful deaths at the fangs/claws of the alien life forms… I was to be disappointed.

Watch with a bottle of Jack Daniels and some pork scratchings.

Riddick Official Trailer #1 (2013) - Vin Diesel, Karl Urban Sci-Fi Movie HD