Not Entirely Riddick-ulous – A review of Riddick

Vin Diesel is the title character, a killer on the run from bounty hunters in the science fiction thriller Riddick
Vin Diesel is the title character, a killer on the run from bounty hunters in the science fiction thriller Riddick

Title: Riddick

Production Company: Universal Pictures

Run Time: 119 minutes

Rated: R

Director: David Twohy

Stars: Vin Diesel, Jordi Molla, Matt Nable, Katee Sackoff, Karl Urban

4 stars for Riddick

Summary: Vin Diesel’s monotone voice is perfectly suited for this hard-nosed anti-hero, a killer on the run from planetary wildlife and bounty hunters in a just-plain-fun adventure.

It’s the fall movie season and what a way to start things off than with an installment in the Riddick franchise.

This is the third big screen chapter in this tale about a renegade killer who is being pursued by bounty hunters on a distant world where everything is out to get him.

Vin Diesel returns to the role that won him fan accolades all the way back to 2000’s Pitch Black. This movie harkens back to that tale since he is once again on the run from nature as well as the bounty hunters who have set out to bring back his head since he’s worth more dead than alive.

The first twenty minutes of the movie are reminiscent of the M. Night Shyamalan flick AfterEarth from earlier this summer. But while that movie managed to draw out the battle with nature over its full two hour length, here we welcome the appearance of the human bounty hunters and the interaction they bring to the story.

There are two separate groups after Riddick. The first is headed by Santana (Jordi Molla) who is just out to collect Riddick’s head for the bounty.

Katie Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) stars as a bounty hunter on the hunt for Vin Diesel in Riddick
Katie Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) stars as a bounty hunter on the hunt for Vin Diesel in Riddick

Group two is led by Boss Johns (Matt Nable) whose motivations are far more personal. He’s even willing to forego the bounty to Santana – as long as the less altruistic leader allows him an hour alone with Riddick.

The interactions between the human characters is what makes this movie fun. Unlike other action movies, every member of this group has his or her own motivations and that definition makes each character interesting in his own right.

We actually can feel something when one of these guys is picked off during the course of the story. That’s not something that happens often in an ensemble action cast.

The creatures on planet also have lives of their own as well. There are sinister water dwellers vaguely reminiscent of giant scorpions with long appendages that can cause quite a bit of damage when they strike.

Then, there are this planets version of the laughing hyena, one of which Riddick manages to capture and domesticate. The CGI is fantastic and, even though the ear effects are perhaps a bit distracting, the animal does manage to steal more than its fair share of the scenes.

Entertaining as it is, the movie isn’t without its flaws, though. The adult language could have been toned down and a few unnecessarily violent scenes could have been curbed to make this an appealing adventure for the summer movie crowd.

Overall, though, this movie is juts fun. And Vin Diesel gets to mark another notch on his belt for bringing back another great character from his repertoire to the big screen for more adventures.

I give Riddick 4 out of 5 stars.

What's your favorite big screen installment in the Riddick franchise?

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