"Riddick": B-Movie of the Year
The fourth installment of the Riddick series spurred a lot of excitement from the fanbase of the Vin Diesel franchise during its release. The first film of the series, Pitch Black (2000), is a fan favorite most likely due to its sci-fi horror elements and simplicity. While the sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), was an utter disappointment. Fortunately for Pitch Black fans, Riddick works on a very similar track with our favorite anti-hero stranded on a desolate planet that is riddled with dangerous, alien creatures. Similar to the first film, Riddick is working with a limited amount of time before the creatures are more than just avoidable nuisances and is thusly forced to rely on a set of bounty hunters to provide him proper transport. The film is not a great one and is extremely flawed as far as story, dialogue, and even acting goes. Despite the unsurprising lack of quality, Riddick turned out to be one of the best B-movies I have seen in quite some time.
1. “There are bad days and then there are legendary bad days…” Let’s get this out of the way; Riddick has some weak writing. This is painfully obvious during the first 20 minutes or so, when Riddick, having been deserted on a barren planet, is the only human on the screen. What that boils down to is a lot of cheesy one-liners that are only passable, because Riddick has a cool, deep voice. The ridiculousness of Riddick’s solitude is cemented when it culminates in a scene of him posing on a cliff butt-naked -- YES, butt-naked.
2. Bounty Hunters! For those that may tire from the one-man show that is Riddick you don’t have to suffer it for too long. Introducing Santana (Jordi Mollà), a wise-ass degenerate with a thick accent that blurts out one-liner hilarity that treads into sexually inappropriate territory every now and then. Leading a ragtag group of bounty hunters, he arrives on the planet in hopes to place Riddick’s head in a box to claim a huge reward. It isn’t long before another group of better-equipped and well-funded hunters, led by Boss Johns (Matthew Nable), arrives on the scene as well. If the name “Johns” sounds familiar to you that’s because there was a J. Johns character in Pitch Black, played by Cole Hauser. Looking for answers surrounding his son’s death, Johns lands on the planet with his band of bounty hunters. Among them is Dahl (Katee Sackhoff), the only female bounty hunter with blonde locks. She sort of fills Radha Mitchell’s role from Pitch Black, but without the magnetism.
3. It wouldn’t be a Riddick movie without some alien action. B-movie fans know what to expect: a meh story that’s fun and enjoyable to watch and that’s exactly where your expectations should be. Riddick is unfortunately predictable and even silly at times, but it really delivers in its action. Once the bounty hunters step foot on the planet, it’s man against man, which we have all seen before. The action really kicks into gear when aliens start emerging from the mud forcing the bounty hunters, along with Riddick, to form a shaky truce. The Johns storyline holds some interest, but the other characters are pretty much throwaways along with even some of the scenes.
This movie is fun! The gore, action, and dialogue is not deep but it is enjoyable when it needs to be. While the story is overall predictable, and every single person of color (aside from Riddick) dies off this sequel gave me exactly what I was looking for in a Riddick installment: action, aliens, and Vin Diesel.