‘Riddick’ Review – Making The Best of a Bad Day

by on September 7, 2013

in Entertainment, movie reviews

Riddick stars Vin Diesel and is directed by David Twohy.  It’s Rated R and has a runtime of 119 min.

If you’ve been a fan of the film franchise that has starred our favorite pragmatic wanted convict, I do believe you will fully enjoy this new chapter in his “day in the life of” Richard Riddick.  If you’re a critical movie fan who likes picking apart the obvious, you’ll have fun with this sequel that feels very much like the first movie we ever saw Riddick in.

Vin Diesel reprises his role in Riddick

It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen Riddick in any movie, (2000 and 2004) but any fan of the franchise won’t mind won’t mind the wait and, should be happy to see more of our favorite honest convict’s management style!  At least this one didn’t, as I followed the various stages of the production of the movie.  Following from the start of filming back around February of 2012, through the various other production stages, via Vin Diesel’s Facebook page.

The movie takes place after his having spent some time sitting on the Necromonger throne.  (You keep what you kill, and if you recall from the 2004 film, Chronicles of Riddick, he killed their emperor.)  But having become comfortable within the “confines” of society, he allowed himself to be tripped up, as an aspiring Necro ambushes and leaves Riddick for dead on this planet we find him on.

And to be honest, he looks pretty bad, even for Richard himself.

We’ve never seen him struggling to survive, physically broken, dragging himself along the rugged, hostile terrain like this before.  This is a new perspective of the man.

But he’s Riddick.  Even if this planet he’s on does seem to be one designed to eat everything alive that walks across its surface.

Riddick and his dog

But he makes “friends” with a “dog” and at one point, mercs show up to collect their bounty that’s on Riddick’s head.

And from their arrival, to their meeting the local “residents” of the planet, the mercs find themselves facing both the planet and Riddick.

And the story goes from there.

Riddick is once again, another popcorn fun film experience and it’s good to see the deadly convict in action again.

Something I enjoyed about the movie is that the opening first act, we spend quality time with our anti-hero as he struggles to survive on this hostile planet.  And it’s a rare and new perspective we get, as we watch what looks like a mere human perception of the man we’ve seen kill people with a teacup!

Other character players in the movie include mercs played by Jordi Mollà (Colombiana), Dave Bautista (upcoming as Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy), Matt Nable (Killer Elite), Katee Sackhoff (TV’s Longmire),  Bokeem Woodbine (The Host, Total Recall), Raoul Trujillo (Cowboys and Aliens), Nolan Gerard Funk (The Canyons) and Karl Urban (Star Trek).

Dave Bautista in 'Riddick'

I’ve mentioned I liked the movie.

But…

Throughout the movie, I couldn’t help but feel like we were watching a mash-up of certain aspects from Pitch Black with Chronicles of Riddick.  That’s not a bad thing, but it was in the back of my mind.

The planet turns into a dark, rainy mess with monsters squiggling around on the surface.  Our mercs were the classic kind of mercs, some looking for that big payday on Riddick, others, something else.  (I ain’t tellin’!)

Katee Sackhoff in 'Riddick'

Katee Sackhoff as a merc, was fun.  But if you saw the Syfy TV series, Battlestar Galactica, well, this was a slightly modified extension of her Starbuck role.  Again, not bad.  Just not as original as it could be.

I’ve never seen Nable or Bautista (that I recall) in anything and I liked their character presentations.

Vin Diesel in 'Riddick,' a behind the scenes moment

As I write this up, predictions for Riddick at the box office are leaning towards a soft opening of around a $20M weekend, in what is traditionally known as the slowest movie weekend of the year.  I mean, we have the NFL, school started, and the first weekend after Labor Day weekend.

My local theater made me spend the big bucks because the earliest screening they had was a large-format screening that cost almost 3x as much as the regular morning matinee screening.  Yet the theater was about 20% populated, even at those crazy prices.

But I liked the film because despite the price I paid to watch the movie, I was OK with it.

I don’t think this will make the big bucks, but it keeps the Riddick name alive.  Even if it was a formulaic outline.  And being a low-budget production, costing the filmmakers less than an estimated $40M, it could be a good weekend for the movie.

Twohy said he took the the budget and wrote the script to match.

If the film makes enough to warrant another film, I’d like to see something extra, or different from the convict and the setting we find him in.  There’s only so much that even fans can take, that smells of rhetoric.

It was self-financed, while Universal Pictures picked up the advertising tab.  So anything is possible.  And if they get a green light for sequels, Twohy said this will not be an ongoing franchise, but rather, have an end-goal of two more movies, if any.

But he and Diesel need to come up with something good.  (Hey, him up against Predator might be fun!  Yea, yea, never gonna happen.)

Movie Review Popcorn Score 07On my popcorn scale, because it’s Riddick, I’m handing out a 7.

Seven because we did get to see him at his personal worse and that he’s not bullet proof and that he’s slowly becoming more and more human as the years roll on.

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On Amazon (an affiliate link): Stuff with Riddick in it

CAST SPOILER POINT:

If you think you’re headed to see Karl Urban, don’t.  His role is a quick appearance in a scene or two.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bruce Simmons September 9, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Thanks for that Dan.

Dan O. September 7, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Didn’t want much else from this other than some fun, and that’s what I got. Good review Bruce.

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