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Riddick Film Review
Warning: This review contains spoilers.
Vin Diesel is back as Riddick for the first time in nine years and it is a marked improvement over the film's predecessor, the Chronicles of Riddick. Diesel's performance and his passion for the material make this movie the success that it is. Like with the Fast and Furious series, Diesel is at his best when he is totally invested in what he's doing. His devotion to a character that made him the star he is is great to see in a time when we hear actors distance themselves from those roles.
Riddick picks up after he's spent some time as the Lord Marshall of the Necromonger's, a title that he won at the end of the previous movie. His life on the throne is not without controversy as his behavior does not mesh with the Necromonger way and he feels trapped in a role that he doesn't want. He strikes a deal with Lord Vaako, played by Karl Urban in a brief reprisal of his Chronicles of Riddick role, that would see him become the Lord Marshall in exchange for taking Riddick home to Furya. When they arrive on a desert-like planet that isn't Furya, Riddick is betrayed and left for dead by the Necromonger's. He then tries to survive on the planet as he battles water monsters and befriends a native alien dog. He finds an abandoned outpost in the middle of the desert and discovers that it was operated by bounty hunters. He activates the beacon and draws two parties of mercenaries looking for a big payday. Once they arrive, the focus of the film shifts to them as Riddick retreats to the shadows as he prepares to kill them and use one of their ships to get off the planet. During this time, it is revealed that one of the groups is led by Boss Johns, the father of the drug addict mercenary killed by Riddick in Pitch Black. Boss Johns wants an explanation and revenge for his son's death. He comes into conflict with the other group led by Santana, played by Jordi Molla in a scene-stealing performance that brought a lot of humor to the film. When Riddick reveals himself, he also reveals that a large storm will awaken monsters hidden in the ground that are triggered by moisture. When the storm hits, the monsters arrive and start picking everyone apart until they agree to team up with Riddick in order survive. The carnage and bloodshed that ensues makes it's B-movie style proud by being ridiculous and fun at the same time as Riddick fights for his life.
Like I said earlier, the movie is a lot more reminiscent of Pitch Black than Chronicles of Riddick. This film was a scaled back, old school, B-movie style sci-fi horror flick rather than a big, sprawling sci-fi epic. I believe that Riddick is more suited to the scaled back, sci-fi horror style and it looks like Vin Diesel agreed that since he purposely developed this movie, with writer/director David Twohy, with that style in mind during the entire process of making this movie a reality.
Vin Diesel himself carries this movie as the ultra badass Riddick. Diesel has been on a hot streak since he returned to the characters that made him a star. Since Fast and Furious, he has enjoyed a nice career revival that has seen that series explode in popularity, and quality, as each movie has been more successful that the last since his return. Though Riddick obviously wouldn't be that kind of success, it is a success nonetheless. I hope Vin Diesel returns to Riddick again sometime in the future. Hopefully he keeps the same style that has worked so well for Pitch Black and this spiritual successor. The only reason that i haven't given this movie more stars is because even though I enjoyed it, it didn't blow me away like Man of Steel, or Star Trek Into Darkness, or even Fast Five and Six have. For me to give a movie five stars, I have to be blown away or completely respect the technical achievements in the film. Even though I didn't have any problems with Riddick, it didn't produce those feelings in me. Riddick is a nice B-movie style sci-fi horror flick and that's it. Vin Diesel makes this train go and as long he's passionate about the character, I'll look forward to more adventures.